Join the Wiki Community to add a comment or post a question.
Please vote for the most useful & interesting posts & comments. The voting system (1^ 0v) is located on the bottom of each comment & post.
How to Post
To reply to an existing conversation, please use the "Write A Comment" box at the bottom of every message or click on a "Reply" link. To start a new topic, please use the "Post Something" button on one of the main sections.
Community Rules
  • Be civil, respect other martial arts styles and no spam! Violators will be banned.
  • Please do not post individual school events (i.e. a new Monday class), numerous links to personal blogs, etc. They will be deleted.
  • Remember to vote posts up or down.
  • Add martial arts or your style (i.e. Karate) to the title of your post in order for martial artists to find it via Google, etc.
  • New members - Please be aware that if you do not post at least once in the first month or two after you join, your account will be potentially deleted for inactivity.
  • FAQ - Answers to common questions.
  • Contribute information to main wiki.
  • Contact us
  • Is it a Good Idea to Learn Martial Arts from a Video? (
    I know this has been a hot topic for the modern martial arts world, and has been posted all over these boards from time to time.

    The active wiki demographics have changed a bit from the last time this question has been asked, and I thought I might ask it again:

    Is it a good idea for the average Joe to learn martial arts from videos, or do people require instructors for the constant guidance they can offer?
    Share this post
      • 2
      Andy Completely agree with [217372,KSP08] and [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki], as a learning aid or supplement, yes, as a source of learning no! IMHO Learning MA is a physical undertaking that requires physical interaction, personal correction, insight and tuition from someone who has attained a sufficient level of proficiency in the respective martial art, the term Sensei literally translates as 'one who has gone before' (not master lol) but I digress. There are so many random variables to such nuances which can vary from person to person such as size, body type, personality traits physical ability/flexibility and so on that a video recording can not see or compensate for, then there are the specific details of technique which can vary from big obvious mistakes down to minute details (which make all the difference) in actual effective martial arts training. Admittedly there are some Mcdojo that are probably just as ineffective as distance learning, but for genuine instruction there is absolutely no substitute for (literal) hands on instruction from a skilled and qualified instructor (especially within a class environment with other students who you can not only train with physically but also learn from their respective advancement and unavoidable mistakes along the path of becoming proficient yourself)!
      • 2
      Kim I think you need to go to classes and have an instructor give feedback (& in my case, correction!). I do watch a lot of videos, however, mainly for form or technique checks or to look for sparring combos or strategies to try. While I have found some video collections that I like and I think are helpful, I don't try to replace class time with online studies. I just use the videos to get extra information or to find something new to try when I spar that maybe my classmates haven't also been taught in class. If your location prevents going to a class, videos are better than nothing if you want the martial arts "experience", but I think videos are most useful (& safer) if you've at least had a year or so of training to learn some of the fundamentals.
      • 2
      Will - Black Belt Wiki Personally, I think trying to learn martial arts from only videos has a number of problems such as no training partner to practice the technique on, no instructor to watch your technique & point out any flaws, etc.

      I find online videos are best for reinforcing what I have already learned (i.e. what was step 7 in that kata/form) or for giving me ideas of new things to learn/tryout at school

      Black Belt Wiki
      • 1
      Frank Every bit helps. I boxed for over 40 years and use to watch the boxers train and fight on the television, I'm absolutely sure that I learned more from those fights than constantly hitting a bag or speed bag. My trainer had over 12 guys to train and had limited time for all of us. So what other way did I have to learn but watch Tv and videos on boxers. These days YouTube is absolutely fantastic. You can watch and learn and progress a lot rapidly.

      • 1
      JINXEDFOXY I have a hard time following a video or book, but that is me. I need to see the person in front of me.
      • 1
      Viktor Good advise!!! Thank you
      • 1
      Ralph Are there any good videos done from the point-of-view of a helmet cam, either mounted on a person or a stationary target? I think that could be an invaluable tool for training yourself not to telegraph. Sure, a mirror is useful for that, but what if your movement means that you can't see yourself in the mirror all of the time, or at a key moment during the movement? For instance, you want to use a mirror to make your spinning kick more tricky, but can't spot a give-away during that little part of the spin when your head is turned. A video recording could show you what you are doing wrong.
      • 0 1 vote
      • Reply
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki [179113,Ralph]

        Excellent suggestion. Most training videos are taken from the side to see how two people are sparring. Nevertheless, from this angle, it is harder to tell if a person is "telegraphing" a move by staring at his/her target, adequately protecting their face during a strike, etc. A Gopro video would be great for seeing how a person is reacting from up-close. Combining the two types of videos (far away from the side and up close from the front) would provide a clearer picture for analyzing mistakes.

      • 1
      Ralph Watching a typical video will not teach you how to be stealthy in striking or grappling. The viewing angle is usually wrong, so the kick or punch that the receiver did not notice until it was too late is plainly visible from the camera angle, and it looks fake to those that don't know what's going on. Subtle movements are easy to miss, especially when there are multiple points of contact or there are larger, more 'important' actions grabbing the attention. That's where slow motions repeats and different angles can make the difference between a video that informs and one that is next to useless. In this video you can see how slow motion can make it possible to see details of positioning and little actions that you otherwise would miss:
      • 1
      Trent Zelazny I agree with the comments so far. I have, however, started an online wing chun class, as it isn't offered anywhere near where I live. I find it fine, and my wife is taking it with me, giving us a partner to work with. But, as much as I enjoy and see some great benefits, I would trade it in a second for a real instructor.
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki My wife would smack me if I tried to practice any new video techniques on her. :)
          • 1
          Trent Zelazny Yeah, given that I have a martial arts background and she doesn't, she's already gotten pretty dang good stopping me :) The online class may be better than I realize :)

    Martial Arts Books
    Aikido | BJJ | MMA | Karate | Krav Maga | Taekwondo | Other

    Click here to become a wiki community member
    if you want to ask or answer a martial arts question.

    All rights reserved.
    Legal Disclaimer