Why Are You Encouraging Distance Learning/Home Study? It’s Bullshido!
To state it succinctly for the “tl;dr” crowd:
- Local study with a qualified instructor is always better
- That’s not an option for everyone
- Many distance learning people are not swinging nunchaku in their parent’s basement but rather studying in backyard groups, working with partners, etc.
- Different people have different goals
Most people who condemn all martial arts distance learning are jumping to one or more conclusions. Consider:
- Most distance programs are created and operated by good, even great teachers. There are several instructors who are recognized as among the best in their style who offer DL programs. Examples include Chuck Sullivan/Vic LeRoux (Kenpo), Larry Tatum (Kenpo), Hee Il Cho (Tae Kwon Do), the Gracies (Jujitsu), Bill Hulsey (San Soo), and Stephen Hayes (Ninjutsu).
- Not everyone who does DL training is doing so alone. Many work with a partner or partners.
- Martial arts home study is also for small backyard groups or as a supplement to other training.
- Some distance programs use interactive webcam/Skype sessions to provide direct feedback or virtual classes. Not all learning is by people watching videos.
- Some MA schools adopt a distance program and use it for their core curriculum, providing students the benefits of both local and video training.
- Some MA students may have different goals than you. Not everyone trains for self-defense or competition.
- Some MA students marry DL programs with in-person training with the program’s author/instructor.
If you want more information, you should read the following pages:
Why Isn’t Program ____ Listed?
There are two possible reasons. The first is that the program doesn’t meet the criteria. The criteria are:
- The program must have a belt system. The most frequently in the martial arts is a series of belts or sashes leading from white belt to black belt (and possibly beyond). The actual scheme is not important for listing consideration, but the point is that general instruction martial arts video programs/collections, programs on general self-defense, specialized courses on specific aspects, etc. that do not do any kind of testing, promotion, or certification are not listed here.
- All programs must do testing. If there is no testing, then it’s just a mail order black belt certificate and I don’t list it.
- All instruction must be done remotely, via Internet video, DVD, book, etc. Programs that require travel to a school or are mainly as an adjunct to a brick-and-mortar school are not listed here.
- One exception for travel is that some schools require in-person testing for the final black belt test.
Those are the guidelines. Sometimes the criteria is slightly relaxed – for example, one program requires in-person testing for both brown and black – but the programs here conform to that criteria in the main.
The second possible reason is that I may not have heard of the program. If there’s a program you’d like to see listed, just drop me a line.
How Can I Add a Program?
I’d like to have a more automated method, but at the moment the easiest way is to use the contact form. If you’d like to write a review and the program isn’t listed, feel free to email andrew (at) BlackBeltDL dot com if you prefer that over the web form.
Why Do You List Program X – It’s Bad/a Scam
If you feel the material, instructor, quality, etc. is poor, please comment on that program’s page. Providing your comment is not spam, there is no censorship of visitor opinions.
My approach is to list all programs and call out the ones that are scams or suspicious. That way if someone googles for a program name, hopefully they’ll find specific material here rather than nothing.
Which Program is Best?
There is no best program. What style? What are your goals? What kind of instructor do you prefer? Certainly there are bands of quality and some are better than others, but there is no one best program.