Have things changed . . . . ?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Ero-Sennin, Aug 8, 2021.

  1. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    I remember the go to advice 10 - 20 years ago for any type of skilled, physical training, that it had to be learned in person under somebody with experience. Any form of media was highly scrutinized as being material that can only be supplemental to actual training, and useless if you didn't have a firm grasp on the basics of whatever you were trying to learn.

    The internet and how to share information was also far inferior than it is today. There are entire degrees that can be taken online, all kinds of certifications that transfer to real world job skills, and you can even earn a living entirely online without ever having to see the people you're talking to or instructing. I think our skill set in sharing, processing, and using information is far superior than it was when I was a teen just coming onto the site.

    I'm still not sure that means you can skip out on some forms of in person training. You'll never know how to use a jab and all its variations correctly without various different opponents all trying to dodge and hit you. It doesn't matter how many times you hit a bag, double end bag, or speed bag. It's not a person. But are we at a point where we can relay technical information sufficiently enough that somebody learning from an online martial arts or self defense course can have confidence in themselves through online training? Maybe not so much where physical contact is involved, but rather situational awareness, tactical scenarios, maybe even teaching how to dull feelings of fear from an adrenaline rush through a VR system?

    Interested to hear people's thoughts on the subject.
  2. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Nope. My opinion hasn't changed.

    The online classes was something more and more instructors were working on even before Covid hit. It is just that it became the only option during Covid, so it got a huge boost in popularity.

    The thing that has changed is that this dang pandemic has been with us so long, our idea of normal and ideal in all sorts of things is all mixed up. It's hard to remember what is normal, what is ideal, what is best. Everything is turned on it's head.

    Mind you, discussing things like situational awareness, in a lecture, that is different. But actual training? Nothing beats in person evaluation. You can't see some details on a camera (Zoom) like you can in person. And the one way video classes are still IMO helpful as a supplement, but don't replace the eye of an instructor evaluating you. But a Zoom class/ lesson is better than nothing. Or, for people in high risk situations, better than risking Covid by coming in person.

    We are all just adapting and surviving the best we can in this horrible mess. A lot of things in life are not ideal. It is what it is.

    I am going to say something, and it isn't meant personally. But I am not going to hold back on my opinion. I sometimes see excellent teachers that criticized online training (sometimes quite harshly) do an about face to some degree. Like, video training is supplemental and not ok in and of itself, well until THEY do it, then it is great and ok. And I admit I find it a bit hypocritical.

    I think for some instructors out there it is a pure sell out money grab, I think for many though, they sort of subconsciously convince themselves into making it ok. Like they find ways to justify it and say things have changed, so they can see if it helps them keep their school alive and thriving.

    Or maybe they just truly change their minds about what they believe. But my mind hasn't changed on the subject. I have been tempted to do an Escrima online class to supplement my stick fighting. (Whenever we can get back to stick fighting anyways.) But I didn't, because deep down I just don't think I can truly learn the art online only. If I ever do do it, I will not consider myself a full fledged Escrima student, but a person using it as supplemental training. And I will understand it has serious limitations.

    I am sure many offer as high quality as possible online. It's just that online and video's can't truly fully teach martial arts IMO. And it's certainly better than nothing to get us through this pandemic. But I would encourage anyone doing online stuff to get into a real school and make real contact as soon as this pandemic gets under control.

    Random thought: Maybe the online stuff gives one a chance to evaluate a school or instructor online before coming in in person?
  3. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Technology has changed enormously and is a useful supplement to hands on training especially during these unprecedented times, but no I don't feel you can learn any physical skill without hands on training from someone more experienced than you.

    I think it also depends on how experienced you are in the art as to how much you can get out of on line training as well.

    During the pandemic my Kali coach did on line classes I have been with him training multiple times a week for a number of years, and I was also lucky enough to have a partner at home happy (well not exactly happy lol) to do some partner drills with me but going back to class showed me just how much I had missed not only seeing how he moved the stick but feeling the timing and energy, that's something you can never get from non physical training.

    Now during the pandemic some of my grappling knowledge has improved I feel due to the large number of courses and instructionals put out there, BUT I am in the unique position of having close to 2 decades of grappling training under some well respected coaches, a partner at home to train with who did judo since she was 4 and also trained grappling with some of my coaches and we also have access to our own private matted gym. But I still acknowledge that not rolling with different people or having skilled people watch my rolling it has effected it somewhat.

    If you don't have a serious background in the art you are learning on line I think you are going to get things wrong which no one will be there to correct, which for you is bad but a risk you have accepted I suppose but if you then try to teach that to people even less experienced than you, without ever going outside that group to test what you have learned on line that just not just bad I think it's almost criminal in its disservice to people depending on your teaching to potentially save their lives.
    Mitch, axelb and David Harrison like this.
  4. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    If you are training to do something that is going to be an in person interaction (fight) then you have to train in person.

    Instructional training material is a lot more accessible, but was still something i worked with in 90s and 00s from videos. VHS passed around between us to help work on forms and drills, but it was supplementary.

    Online training is marketed as quick, easy and accessible.
    I believe it can help you get started, but in doing so it takes away from the process of getting to class which is an important part of the habit requiremed to progress.
    Consistent in person training.

    Now I have been to some classes which you never interacted with another person on class (i.e. warm-up, air drills and forms/Kata)
    If you're doing that all the time then this type of training could be done online in some form.
  5. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    When I started teaching I had a student go for a grading. I took over the club because otherwise it was going to fold, I wasn't really experienced enough, but I worked really hard and had great support from my own Instructor.

    Anyway, at this grading I was sitting with the grading examiner, a very senior gentleman and knowledgeable guy for our style.

    I mentioned this particular student having an issue with a traditional technique that I couldn't figure out. I can't remember what it was now, but it was an upper body movement. The examiner watched my student for a few seconds, made a correction to the angle of one foot, and suddenly the upper body worked.

    You only get that kind of insightful correction from an experienced practitioner in a live class.

    So even if your art is just theoretical, just based on linework/kihon, a real teacher has huge benefits over an online course.

    Personally, I think online has some real benefits and uses. Learning the basics of a pattern/kata for example. I also think we're at the start of figuring out how to use it, and it will become much more sophistcated. But it's a supplement to, not a replacement for, real training. IMO.
    axelb, icefield, bassai and 1 other person like this.
  6. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    My partner attends a Pilates class, which is about as non contact as you can get.

    she attended the class for several years before the pandemic and then on line during, as soon as the class opened up again she went back, her first class she was able to figure out an issue with a position she was having because in line she could not see exactly what the teacher was doing with one of her elbows.

    Even for non contact work as Mitch says the feedback (both ways) from being close and live with someone is invaluable
    aaradia, axelb and Mitch like this.
  7. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Would you trust a driver better if they did practical training or online only training?

    I did learn how to change windshield wipers via youtube though.

    Some things are transferable, others are not. (My humble opinion)
    aaradia and axelb like this.
  8. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I'll take regular online sessions, with someone I can't realistically train with regularly, over irregular or very occasional face to face training.
    "Something" is better than "nothing".
    axelb likes this.
  9. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    How good does that person have to be, how unique that you can't find something closer to you with a similar style or a coach with a similar experience?
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Depends what you want innit? If I just wanted Kickboxing, Judo, various styles of (mainly 3k) karate, "mainstream" TKD, Gracie Barra BJJ, Thai boxing, Aikido, Boxing, etc then I can find that. Even some Hema I'm tempted to try.
    Already tried the Judo (too hard on an old body!), Thai, Karate, MMA, TKD and kickboxing.
    But as far as I'm aware there's no one in my area offering the same kind of applied kata/bunkai material as people like Iain Abernethy, John Titchen, Stuart Anslow or Ciaran McDonald for example. I've looked and found some great martial arts local to me but nothing like that.
    So I do regular face to face classes in "something else" and then as much online stuff with Iain A as I can manage (and then will continue to go to his seminars when things are "normal").
    Mushroom, axelb and icefield like this.
  11. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Wanna' know something I have the pleasure(ABSOLUTEFREAKINGTERROR) of knowing that most people will never know? .gov, especially .mil/gov teaches people to do things once(with haste), or on an online class, and then sends them out into the real world to do it. My first introduction to the extreme nature of how willing they are to forgo safety and training was in bootcamp when I got a class with 150 or so other recruits on how to tie a rigging knot. Instructor on podium; follow what he does as best you can; get on tower. They check in depth before you get on the tower to make sure you got it right, but if you did something wrong that makes it uncomfortable on the way down they make sure to leave it like that for you. Then you jump off a tower. Just like that. All within 30 minutes to an hour. There were injuries, but the vast majority were an obvious success. There are countless "thisIsReallyHighStakesStuffWhyAreWeOnlyGettingA10MinuteClassOnIt??????" stuff, and strangely enough if you hone the "figure out how to make it happen" skill it has been my experience that most people can transfer that into countless scenarios with minimal applicable knowledge.

    This is not a preferable way of learning. xD

    Lots of interesting viewpoints and thank you for sharing!

    I think my opinion on the matter has evolved a bit over time. I think the more somebody can put their hands on something and "feel" what they are learning, the more practical it is to learn online. For example I've been learning how to collect/process/refine clay, throw clay, and fire pottery over the last year and a half with no experience prior, all via Youtube and blogs. Since I've been able to do the skill, I've been able to figure out what people mean when they say things like "compress the clay" or "centering" or other technical jargon. I think it was also more practical for me to be capable of learning in this way given my backround in construction and various geology courses I've had in the past. Life experience and a diversity of knowledge certainly contribute to your ability to learn things.

    I do think somebody could learn BJJ online well enough to be capable of relying on it against an untrained opponent, and give them a decent shot at protecting themselves in a physical confrontation. This is only if they have a partner to practice with, obviously. I do not think you can gather enough applicable experience in BJJ by learning it online and training with only a few partners. You may get out of a bar fight unscathed and get to talk about how much of a badbutt you are at the next BBQ, but you're not winning anything at a competition. But Boxing? Muay Thai? Good luck trying to have the kinesthetic awareness of your body to fling portions of it in one direction hard enough to break people's bones without looking like a fool. Or developing bad habits. Or learning wrong. The higher stakes something is, and the more technical the knowledge, the less practical it is to learn online. Even with my experience in boxing I know I can't really go forward in my skill set without at least sparring every so often.

    Another random question in the same spirit, do you guys think VR technology could change your perception of online learning if it was able to simulate reality much better? I mean, if it gets good enough we could probably have boxing matches against each other virtually. You would be performing everything as you would in a gym . . . just without the danger of getting hit. The getting hit part is important to learn to deal with, but how far can you get?
    Mushroom likes this.
  12. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    I'd actually argue the other way, striking arts are much easier to learn solo without a teacher, at the lower levels it's a cross movement art most have grown up watching and understanding, few videos some time on a bag or with a mate holding pads and you will be good enough to handle most drunks.

    But grappling it's so alien that without proper instruction you can really get it wrong, it's a totally alien environment and way of moving.
  13. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Unfortunately, I know it too well. My job has a lot of "courses" and theyre 1hr long, click and go courses.

    What it really means, people finish it in 15mins by finding where "Next" is on the screen and click there till the courses "finishes".

    There are physical courses and refreshers but theres a requirement to do an online course before you do the physical. Meaning theyre trying to cut physical classroom time.

    Now Im all for online learning. But its done in a way where it feels like death by powerpoint.

    Especially when the courses are set up by " best people the cheapest money can buy". ;)
  14. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    Wow, very well said. Death by PowerPoint, and the best people the cheapest money can buy. That is spot-on.
    axelb likes this.

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