Do Online or At Home Martial Arts Training Programs Really Work?
The simple answer to this question is yes, but not all programs are created equal. In order for online, or at home, martial arts programs to work, they must follow a particular set of guidelines to ensure that students are actually developing skills. Let’s take colleges and universities for instance. Many institutions now have distance learning programs that offer full-fledge degrees to students who have never stepped foot on campus. In order to award their students these degrees, the institution must be accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC); a private agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. DEAC specializes in verifying the legitimacy of online programs offered by institutions using a strict set of guidelines. Some of these guidelines include student interaction, accountability, and assessment. Student interaction refers to peer engagement, accountability includes ways to track involvement in the course, and assessment gauges what the student has retained from the course. Similar to colleges and universities, online, or at home, martial art programs must also have these same sort of parameters in place to not only ensure that students are actually learning, but to also be considered as a legitimate means to learn the martial arts.
How a student interacts with their peers during an online, or at home, course is important. Colleges and universities tend to promote student interaction through the use of discussion boards. Discussions drive abstract thought requiring students to think beyond the textbook, and apply their learning towards multiple concepts. Student interaction in the martial arts is just as important. No matter what anyone may say, you cannot learn to apply the martial arts in a self-defense confrontation by practicing alone. Aspects of the martial arts such as timing, accuracy, and depth perception can only be trained with an other individual. Any quality online martial arts training program will have peer interaction as a mandatory requirement.
Another aspect any quality online, or at home, martial arts training program will have is student accountability. There must be a system in place for instructors to track student progression, and provide them with relevant feedback that helps to develop their skills. Colleges and universities use quizzes, midterms, and class projects. An online martial arts program could use similar tools, but instead conduct video quizzes and midterms of the students technical progress.
Assessments are a very important educational tool. From the time students enter the school system, they are tested and evaluated. These evaluations determine the level at which a student is reading, classes the student can take, and the types of post-secondary institutions the student will most likely be accepted to. Assessments include midterms, end of year examinations. and standardized testing. The martial arts are no strangers to assessments. Grading happens all throughout the journey to Black Belt. Each belt level concludes with a cumulative assessment of all the student has learned thus far. Upon successful completion of the assessment, students are then able move on to the next belt level where they must pass another assessment.
There are several online, and at home, martial arts training programs, but they all are not held to the same standards. It is ultimately up to the individual to do their research, and verify if the program is as legitimate as the instructor may make it out to be. As a start, look into the ways a program encourages student interaction, holds students accountable, and conducts their assessments. If the program upholds in all three categories, then they may be a good fit for you. If not, then treat the program as you would any unaccredited college or university.