T Nation

Getting Into Martial Arts, No Local Trainer


#1

Would love to be by a wing chun or anything with a reputable instructor really. My problem is 50 mile drive and only a mma club with no lineage or even… Well anyway is there somehow I can get started anyway? I know you cant learn on internet or books but can they help me some?


#2

I live in Maine and I know (second-hand) of a few guys from the remote parts of the state who watch classes online and train on home mats. Every few months they make the trip to The Academy and chip in for a private group lesson to refine what they’ve been working on.

I’ll go ahead and plug my instructor’s instructor’s website. His lineage is very solid. Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Junior > Renzo Gracie > Amal Easton -> Jay Jack (owner of the website)

He’s put his entire self-defense curriculum online and it is only $15 a month. He teaches his class the same way as what you see in these videos. This isn’t Wing Chun, but it is top-notch BJJ, taught as a self-defense system, not as a competition or points-based grappling sport.

Obviously this is not ideal, but if you can find a local training partner to practice with, you could definitely make progress under your suboptimal circumstances.

Gracie University offers online courses as well, but I don’t have any experience with their program. You might want to look into it as well. I believe they allow you to video your technique and send it in for feedback and evaluation. Perhaps some Wing Chun guys do something similar, if that’s what you’re after.

That’s the best help I can offer you. Good luck!


#3

Do you think that their training is close to par when they meet up with yall to train? Atleast as good as possible under the circumstances?


#4

I’ve never trained with those guys, so I can’t really speak to its relative efficacy. Absent that experience, I think it is reasonable to say that it is inferior to training in-person under a good instructor but far superior to not training at all.


#5

Makes sense to me. I agree having face to face training would be best. Thanks for the link and input.


#6

Interested to see if anyone else has any experience with this kind of instruction.


#7

We’ve got some guys who train with us (and my instructor privately) on a very sporadic basis for a number of reasons (1 is a Master Sargeant Green Beret abc is often deployed on missions, 1 is a Secret Service Agent and so doesn’t get much down time to make the trip from DC, 1 lives in Texas where he is a Dr in a hospital as well as running his own Martial Art School and so can’t get up to the North East to train all that often, etc…). Many of these guys are either in professions which have them constantly utilizing their skills, or come from solid Martial Arts backgrounds though.

My own personal experience is that it is possible to learn skills from watching videos/online content. But, you need not only very detailed and structured/guided instruction within those materials on what to focus on, but also a good, consistent training partner to practice with. And, tbh, at least some face to face training with a qualified instructor. Much of the Martial Arts must be learned by being “felt” and a quality instructor will help you to understand what things should feel like when done correctly which will help you to guide your outside the school training.

Honestly, I would have to say that in an ideal situation such video content/distance learning is really better suited for experienced trainees who already have years of “mat/ring time” and very solid foundational skills. For them their bodies are already very attuned to the “feel” of combat and they will usually more easily be able to figure out and learn new (or improved) skills via just watching someone instruct them on how to do it.

For people with no such experience, it’s gonna be a lot harder unless they are very naturally athletic and/or visual learners. Still possible, but harder and will take them longer than if they were in the School training for that time. It is also possible to learn things wrong, which, if not corrected or if done repeatedly will actually create incorrect motor patterns which will have to be unlearned (possibly adding more time to their skill acquisition process).

So, my advice would be that if you are gonna try to learn things via online/video content, you should pick something that offers very detailed and step by step instruction, and a relatively small number of skills at a time (which you should slowly work your way through, focusing on one at a time until you can get the “feel” for them) but there is also more material that you can access upon adequately having worked on that material. And, as hard as it may be, get your butt in to get some face to face time with a qualified instructor as often as you are capable of doing (even if it’s once a month, heck even once every couple months if that is what is possible).

Good luck. Hope this helps.