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Learning Physical Skills Online – Part 1

Part 1

This is a good place to have the conversation regarding whether or not you can or cannot learn physical skills of a “fighting” or of self-protection nature, online. This will be a multiple part series and will address as thoroughly as possible the notion of online learning of a physical nature.

The arguments against it are:

•No physical interaction between student and instructor
•No ability to immediately correct errors
•No ability to feel the subtle nuances of pressure, angle, power
•No way to ensure it’s physically mimicked correctly
•Lack of body culture and body awareness

Anything else I’ve missed?

I know there are many people who will argue you cannot learn a skill online. It is my hope to talk through all of the various ideas and give insight into the variables of this topic.

As I see it, some of these are issues concerning instruction styles, some are issues concerning learning styles, and of course the notion that body awareness and culture is different for everyone.

In order to address the topic in the most clear way, I do think it’s worth spending the time to establish the use of the terminology that will be used in the conversation.


(1) to gain knowledge or understanding of—or skill in—by study, instruction, or experience

  1. learn a trade
  2. learned to play chess

(2) learn the lines of a play

  1. to come to be able
    1. learn to dance
  2. to come to realize
    1. learned that honesty paid

(1) the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well:

  1. Carpentry was one of his many skills.

(2) competent excellence in performance; expertness; dexterity:

  1. The dancers performed with skill.

(3) a craft, trade, or job requiring manual dexterity or special training in which a person has competence and experience:

  1. the skill of cabinetmaking.
Generally, the idea that people learn via combinations or degrees of each of these four primary methods: Visual (V), Aural (A), Reading/writing (R) and Kinesthetic (K).

These are the underlying attributes of a teacher that reflect their style, methods and behavior as they teach.

It’s quite likely that we’ve all experienced teachers that we really seemed to understand and get a lot from, and likewise, we’ve likely all experienced teachers that we just didn’t enjoy and maybe didn’t feel that we learned very much from.

This is most likely because your learning style and the teacher’s teaching style were at conflict. Someone who is primarily a visual learner will have a difficult time with a teacher who prefers to instruct by giving out reading and writing assignments.

For now, we’ll call this a starting point to the conversation.


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