Online training – has your view changed in the age of COVID

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Xue Sheng, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    With Covid lockdown a lot of Martial Arts folks, who were not already into online training, went to online training.

    My view was changing a bit, prior to Covid, but I was not an advocate of full online training from the beginning of a style, as a newbie. But I was beginning to think that online training, in a style you already know, might not be that bad. I did an online training program a few years ago in Wudang Xingyiquan, but I had a lot of prior Hebei Xingyiquan experience. I was rather surprised that the training of Wudang Xingyiquan, online, I learn a lot and it confirmed a lot of things I have read about training Xingyiquan in the old days, and this type of training is generally not trained today, which is a shame. After that I began to think online training had more used than just as a supplement to training with a teacher. Or was that simply a supplement after all?

    But is it good for much beyond that as it applies to martial arts?

    With COVID a lot of folks started producing online ways of training from simple physical fitness for the style to forms. And I am not condemning any of them, some I have seen are great. However, I am fairly sure a lot of folks got an introduction to a martial art in this way while during lockdown at home, just to keep busy. Some schools had links to online training only for students, some made it available to the public, some were martial arts, some were forms, some were fitness, etc.

    I am wondering how other marital artists feel about online training these days?

    Is it viable training?
    Can anything be learned this way?
    Are there styles that would do better with this type of training than others?
    Should someone who has only trained online start teaching what was learned?
    Can someone with no experience learn anything useful or correctly?
    Is it of any worth or is it best used for fitness and the MA should be left out of it?
    What is it good for, if anything?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  2. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    As a way to keep in contact with your training partners it's useful

    As a way to run through solo drills and have corrections from your coach it's ok but not optimal

    To learn techniques that require partner feedback it's now where near useful.

    I'm lucky enough to have a partner who is into training and she has run through some Kali stick work with me to supplement what I do on my zoom training days, but personally it comes no where close to the feedback and learning you get with real partners sparring and drilling.

    Some arts I suppose will benefit more than others those which are form heavy maybe, and some students will benefit more than others, students with a good back ground in said art just looking for refresher work , but arts which are trying to instill timing, movement and fighting skills need direct resistance and direct feedback from a hands on teacher
    And new students or even experienced students in a new art still need a hands on teacher I feel
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  3. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    How many instructors are covered for liability when teaching online?
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  4. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Has the view of online training changed since the pandemic? Or is it the same?

    Generally covered by a disclaimer...a train at your own risk kind of thing. Or, as mentioned, some only give their current students access.
  5. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Well, I don't think it has become more effective, but seeing as it is the only option for most people I do see it as more important at the moment.

    It's a terrible way to learn something, it can be good for existing students as motivation to practice, if it's your only option then it's better than nothing.
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  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Something is better then nothing, but watching a video, is not the same as drilling it on someone and then sparring.

    My own gym has been lacklustre with the online material, and has started spewing covid conspiracy theories left right and centre, which is unfortunate, at least it will make people realise you shouldn't seek life advice from sports coaches.
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  7. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    I haven’t been doing anything with online training, but my feeling hasn’t changed. I believe it can be a useful tool as a supplement to regular training with a teacher. Someone who is already experienced in his system and is getting some online instruction in the same lineage of the same system will likely have some success.

    The problem with online training as a first/only format of instruction is that the teacher is less able to spot and correct errors that can be subtle yet carry tremendous impact on the effectiveness of what is being done. It puts much of the onus onto the new student to identify and correct his own errors, which is completely unreasonable and unrealistic.
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  8. rocky

    rocky Valued Member

    Sorry if this is hijacking the thread/slightly off topic:-
    Have any members here learned from online courses/You Tube during the Covid lockdown just to learn something new/pass the time?

    I'm a black sash in Kung Fu and have been picking up bits of broadsword forms from other styles to practice but i find myself torn-One one hand i see it as incorporating techniques into something i already do(it's not like i'm learning sword from scratch from a video)...On the other hand,i have the 'you need a real instructor' mentality and feel almost like a fake.
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  9. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I don't see anything wrong with that, as long as you don't then claim some kind of lineage in it.

    If you take something from another system and decide to incorporate it into your own training, I see that as expanding what you have, rather than learning a new system, because it will be seen through the prism of your present knowledge. Without correction from an instructor you won't know if you are doing it "right", but if you benefit from it you have your own new thing. With forms it's tough, if it's a technique you can try to use in sparring then it quickly becomes obvious if you "get it" or not (even if you are missing out on technical details that might make it more effective).

    A bit of a grey area, but in times like these I reckon any motivation to train is a positive. :)

    I guess just be prepared f you ever learn it for real from a teacher that you might have some bad habits to undo.
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  10. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Not during Covid, but like I said originally, I did some online training in Wudang Xingyiquan, but it was not through YouTube, it was directly from Zhou Xuan Yun, directly from his website. However I had a lot of background in Hebei Xingyiquan prior to that.
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  11. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    I don't claim a lineage in Wudang Xingyi, but it did conform my understanding of how one should train xingyiquan that I got from reading old translations of xingyi manuals and discussions with various xingyi shifus both in and out of China. Training which many do not do today.

    I did plan on going to train directly with Zhou Xuan Yun, but knee issues stopped me once and Covid + knee issues stopped me the second time I had a chance.

    I did have a great aversion to online or distance training prior to that, but after I do think it is a way to learn something new, I do not think it is the way to learn a system. I do not believe for a second that the majority of people would learn much of use from any online training without background in the style.

    However with that said I knew one and meant another who did well with training by video. But having this skill and attention to detail I believe is rare.

    1) a friend of mine did train Baguazhang with my first Shifu, as did I, but he was really interested in Pa Kua Chang of Bok Nam Park so he got all of his videos, back then it was a VHS tape. He studied them and later went to a seminar with Bok Nam Park who told him his Bagua teavher should be very happy because his bagua was very good

    2) was a Chen guy I meant who wanted Chen but had no teachers near by, He got every single Chen Zhenglei DVD he could and worked with them. He did get a chance to co to China and train with Chen Zhenglei, He was asked who his Chen teacher was, because his Chen was very good. He told me he had no idea what to say because it was Chen Zhenglei via DVD.'

    However people with this attention to detail and talent I believe are rare. Both did had a martial arts background prior to the video training. The first never claimed Park as a teacher but the second did claim Chen Zhenglei after he had actually trained with Chen Zhenglei and his students.
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  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    In my opinion, it depends on on solid your background already is.

    If you already know broadsword (I assume you mean dao) and understand how to properly execute its techniques, then there will be greater quality in your results. Your new internet form will have a flavor of your parent system which ought to make it effective, even if that is inconsistent with the parent system from which the form comes.

    If broadsword is completely new to you and you haven’t already built a platform of fundamentals for it, then your results will be more shaky. Trying to learn a form online before you have any experience with even the fundamentals of the weapon will likely make it inefficient and sloppy.

    I am of the opinion that historically it was probably easier to share and borrow weapon material across systems. I think it is easier to adopt new weapon material and fit it into the foundation of one’s parent system, than it is to adopt an empty-hand form from one system into a different system, where there may be inconsistencies in the foundation and principles.
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  13. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    I have noticed a few on line trained sifu saying look on line training works we were right,
    it's the best worst option in the current climate, don't use it to justify you hoodwinking your students for years because all your training has been via dvds and camera from people thousands of miles away .
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
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  14. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Good topic. There are obvious pros and cons to online stuff I think.

    One thing I've done (before lockdown even) is "teach" myself 31 jo kata from Aikido by watching videos online. Now I've never actually done even one minute of proper Aikido, would never say I actually really "know" the kata, know I make loads of mistakes when doing it and would never try and teach it to someone else. I learnt it purely for my own personal enjoyment of swinging a medium length stick about.
    "Learning" stuff online like that is fine I think. As long as you do it safely and know it's not actually proper learning that seems OK t0 me.
    If it's not OK I'll gladly hand myself over to the martial arts police when they come calling.

    One level up from that I think is something like teaching myself the karate kata Naihanchi/Tekki from videos. One of my main influences (Iain Abernethy) uses naihanchi as a cornerstone of his teaching, I did a seminar with him on its bunkai and wanted to understand the material better. Rather than find a karate club, start at white belt and go through all the grades up to when they teach naihanchi I just looked at videos and copied them. TKD pattern Po-eun is derived from Naihanchi/Tekki so it's not a million miles away from something I already do. Again would never claim to properly "know" the kata, know (and accept) I make mistakes that would need correcting and would never try to pass it on or claim proper lineage or teaching of it. I've learnt it not as a fun muck about (like 31 jo kata) but to inform my proper training.
    Having recently got into the lineage of Karate and taekwondo, going back to monk fist/incense shop boxing and Fujian white crane kung fu, I intend to learn the kata seisan/seishan/hangetsu in the same way too.

    In terms of online learning resources I think this expansion due to necessity has been great to be honest.
    I've been able to access views and sessions from people I'd never be able to interact with normally. Tonight I'll be in on a session offered by Mr Abernethy for example (solo pad drills, kihon and stuff like that) and on Sunday an online seminar on self protection (looking at the law, soft skills, etc). I've listened to lectures from Peter Consterdine and Geoff Thompson on the Protection pyramid, done taekwondo sessions with high grade masters where I've picked up little pointers and details I've not been taught before in years of face to face lessons, etc etc.

    I think an increasingly tech savvy customer base (used to going online for answers for all sorts of things) will come to expect some sort of online support when looking for a potential club. In the same way people now generally expect a club to at least have a website, variety of payment options and a good training space, when before it was a handwritten advert in the library, collecting subs in an old biscuit tin and an old church hall that gave you splinters in your feet.
    Times have moved on and I think instructors ignore that at their peril.

    Handled properly I think online learning resources can form a very useful supplement to face-to-face training. Having videos of your syllabus online, solo drills and suitable warm ups for training away from the gym/dojo, a weekly vlog update of what that weeks training covered for students that are injured, sick or miss training for some reason, lectures on lineage, technical and theoretical aspects of your art, etc etc. Loads of potential.

    Now of course it HAS to supplement actual physical training face to face. It should be a supplement not a replacement. Sadly, due to one thing and another, it has become a temporary replacement but once that ends I don't think we should overlook the supplemental role good online resources can play.
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  15. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    For lectures it's fine, as long as there is some facility to have questions answered. For techniques, the more you know about similar subject matter, the more you'll get out of it, but you still need to make it work for yourself on other people.

    For someone to claim the authority to teach technique that they learnt online, I think that is not ethical.
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  16. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    As others have already said, for those who already have a background in what they're watching online I see the new style of online training as being a good thing for a "knowledge top-up" so to speak. These days all it takes is a mobile phone, a web connection and an instructor who's willing to adapt to the new times, as opposed to what we used to have in a handful of instructors who may not be from your particular style having a video camera. We can now interact with the instructors in real time instead of hoping they see a comment on Youtube so that's a lot more helpful.

    I too can see a new expectation for online supplements from new students. Whether instructors who are currently doing their videos while furloughed from work would be willing and able to keep doing them when normality has resumed is another thing though.

    Personally, the aikido organisation I'm with hasn't gone down the online route and I haven't sought out other instructors. I'd only been back a month when lockdown started so I was still focusing on getting out of my old bad habits when classes were knocked on the head. Because of that I've hardly trained at home and used the time to let my mental health recover from a stressful few years so that, whenever we can (and I know my organisation will use intelligence rather than Boris Johnson as a guide), I'll go back in a better place. Might be a few too many Doritos on me, but the head will be right anyway!
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  17. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I am currently signed up for free classes with a legitimate Tai Chi instructor. I am currently awaiting a COVID diagnosis or else I would have shown up in person, but the nice thing about "telepresence" is that it's a way to get to know and share with someone when you can't be there in person. I know this is true because I had a "telemedicine" session with my doctor a few days ago, which prompted a prescription for the COVID test.

    SO, if a doctor can prescribe medicine or medical advice virtually, it stands to reason a kung fu master could transmit something of value over the Internet. What that is is probably going to vary based on, as has been already pointed out, personal experiences of the attendee.

    I'm kind of excited, either way. Not having to actually visit the doctor was really nice, because I got sick while on vacation of all times. Not having to get together for Tai Chi instruction until I'm ready is also nice, because I don't want to get other people sick. So having choices is ultimately the best option, you get to weigh your benefits vs the risks.

    But you still you have to weigh all of this against a simple fact: you can't ever, ever learn to box over the phone. Not in a million years.
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  18. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    good luck with the Covid diagnosis
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  19. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Sorry I should I have mentioned it already, I'm fine, no positives so far. And I'm an official Tai Chi student of a sort of Yang/Chen hybrid guy with a decent camera and microphone, for a fair price. Second class is tomorrow but I've already fixed a few bad habits with a single class, so everything is looking positive so far.

    The optimist in me has learned to recognize value when I see it, and non-value whenever it rears its ugly head. I've seen a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment in the last 90 days, I can't imagine looking back further, it might break my heart. But I will anyway, that's just me.

    Stay safe and healthy Xue Sheng.
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  20. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Not changed in my opinion. But rubbish. I tried to sit in a class but, just couldnt.
    I do a lot of "e learning" at work. Powerpoint stuff. And its almost literally in 1 ear out the other..

    Or in this case "In right click, out right click again"
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