The study of martial arts is perhaps one of the most comprehensive sports in existence – instilling discipline, self-defense skills, and a deeper connection with mind and body. While traditional training in a dojo has long been the conventional approach, the digital age partnered with the changes we experienced through COVID ushered in a new alternative of martial arts instruction.
Combined, our content creators have over 90 years of experience teaching martial arts. We have spent most of our years conducting classes in a brick-and-mortar dojo environment, and when the pandemic hit, we were forced to reassess our model. So many of our students were not only unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts but the severity of the sicknesses going around caused many to simply stay home. We realized we needed to do some extensive research to transform our curriculum, and the results we found were astonishing.
We discovered that online martial arts training can be a viable and dynamic alternative, offering a plethora of advantages that can transform the way practitioners engage with this ancient art…if built correctly. More importantly though, online martial arts training cannot just simply be a transfer of instruction location but rather must include deliberate modifications that adhere to learning in a virtual world.
We’re going to explore the most compelling reasons why online martial arts training has become increasingly popular, how we changed our curriculum to thrive under an online format, and why it may hold the key to unlocking a more flexible, personalized, and enriching martial arts journey for enthusiasts of all levels and abilities.
Flexibility, Convenience, and Motivation
During our research, we found that many parents were burdened with an increasingly tight repertoire. They wanted to commit to more training for their children but just didn’t have the time. In addition, during the pandemic, many were just completely unable to accommodate additional training of any kind and many of our physical locations were under local limitations (tightened business hours, social distancing, etc).
Online learning inherently comes with flexibility and convenience – the ability for a student to continue their learning journey in the comfort of their own home is invaluable. With online classes, students have the freedom to choose their training schedule and can access the material from anywhere.
This eliminates the need for commuting to a physical location and allows individuals to fit training into their schedules more easily. Creating an environment where our students were able to “log on” anytime they wanted and work through their individualized learning plans was successful right out of the box. Our parents were thrilled that the material hadn’t lost its value and that their children were able to get even more training time.
While many of our parents were pleased with the potential of a more open schedule, they expressed concern that moving to an online format might decrease motivation. If children are expected to spend all day in school and then come home to practice – it probably isn’t going to happen, right? However, knowing this, we decided to create a format that is like a video game with challenges to complete, leaderboards to climb, etc. Our students loved it and were excited to “compete” against one another to move further up the ranks. Our attendance shot up, and many of our students were actually committing MORE time to the program.
Through the “gamification” of our material and the flexibility and convenience of learning at home, we have transformed the study of martial arts and made it work with all abilities and all schedules.
Enhanced Learning Resources
Our online martial arts training platform provides a wealth of supplementary learning resources that can enhance the learning experience. Such resources offer additional support to learners, allowing them to review techniques and explore advanced training concepts at their own pace. In addition, our learning library was designed to present the lessons so students can learn whichever way suits them best – audibly, visually, or simply trying it out themselves.
Within our online learning environment, students don’t have to wait until after class for clarification or hope that the instructor will notice they’re having difficulty grasping the material. This can often be a source of frustration for many children.
For our students that struggle with varying learning challenges, the material can be viewed at any time, offering the ability for students to repeat what they feel they may be lacking or to skip ahead on concepts that they feel comfortable with.
Our platform provides an enormous amount of content that students can refer to as many times as they need, enabling them to reinforce their knowledge and refine their skills over time. This has proven to be an immense asset to all students, neurotypical and neurodivergent.
Personalized Learning Experience
In a traditional dojo setting, instructors often must teach a group of students with varying skill levels and learning styles at the same time, making it challenging to address each student’s specific needs effectively. For students that may be struggling, this can create separation and confusion, and in the worst case, a sense of alienation.
However, in an online environment, practitioners can learn at their own pace and focus on areas they want to improve. As we mentioned above, they can replay instructional videos, practice techniques repeatedly, and set their own goals without feeling rushed or left behind. This personalized approach can lead to accelerated progress and a deeper understanding of the martial art being practiced.
During our research, we found that our online students outperformed the students in the dojo and reached their next belt rank 2-3 times faster. We attribute much of that success to their individualized learning plans that are possible through our online learning format. Students were able to move at their own pace and were not burdened with the fear or anxiety of either falling behind or becoming bored with the material. Each moment of our learning program is pointed and useful, as the student commands the direction of the journey themselves.
It is evident that the digital realm has revolutionized the way we approach the time-honored practice of martial arts. Through the convenience and flexibility it offers, online training allows enthusiasts to seamlessly integrate their passion into their busy lives. The access to expert instructors and the wealth of supplementary learning resources ensures a high-quality learning experience that transcends geographical limitations.
Moreover, the personalized nature of online training empowers individuals to progress at their own pace and tailor their journey to their specific needs. While the dojo will always hold a special place in the hearts of martial artists, the online platform opens new doors of opportunity, making martial arts more accessible and enriching than ever before.