Learning Selfdefense Online

Before the pandemic a lot of online courses were considered bullshit, because who could teach you anything through an online program? To be honest, I felt the same way. If you are not on the mat, it can’t be real. Or good. But the last year forced me to reconsider my opinion.


Having a selfdefense school in a pandemic where social distancing is forced by the government is quite a challenge. Add a lockdown to the scenario and what do can you still offer? These are the challenges all martial arts and selfdefense schools encountered.


Before I continue my writing, I do want to emphasize that in my opinion, the best way to learn selfdefense, is by training in a facility, with a training partner and an instructor correcting verbally and physically.


But is this the only way?


Because of all rules and regulations restricting us from teaching the way we can teach best, we were forced to adapt and innovate.


And the strangest thing happened: people were able to attend online classes (Zoom, Teams, etc, etc) and instructors learned to teach, correct, motivate and stimulate their students at a distance. And they actually improved while training at home.


The intensity of the classes is different from the ones in the training facility, because you have to deal with different forms of energy. Normally in the gym, people keep each others energy levels up, now they have to motivate themselves a bit more.


The biggest challenge in training and teaching  selfdefense in an online world, is offering scenario training. In the gym, you can have multiple attackers attacking you with different attacks within a slit second. Through an online training, the scenario is not as stressfull and physical as in real life. Unfortunately this is something we will have to accept, since we cannot control some of the factors.


So in retrospect, I can say I changed my opinion on online classes, I think they have their value in the totality of the learning process. It all depends on what you, as a practitioner, want to do with it. If you accept that this is the best you can get right now, you will learn a lot and improve your skillset. If you want to believe you can’t learn selfdefense online, you won’t learn a thing.


I know I will keep offering online material for my students, even when somewhere in the future the pandemic is over. People can use it as an encyclopedia, in which they can go back to what they have learned in the gym and go over all the details again (without the added stress component).


I have come to the conclusion that teaching online classes can work for quite a group, unfortunately not for everybody. For those who really need to be at a facility, I hope you will be able to resume your ‘regular’ training soon. For the others: keep training and make the best of it!

Every minute you keep working out, you will become a harder target. So keep up the work!