One of the major effects of the current internet availability of information, particularly video, is the acquisition of knowledge that is shared.
This, together with the ease of travel about the globe, has lead to an incredible growth in most areas of human endeavor.
The martial arts have certainly undergone a huge surge in knowledge and development with the emergence of BJJ and MMA combined with a growth of, and more readily accessible, Muay Thai information and instruction.
However, it must be used properly to obtain best results.
It is a resource that parallels the earlier means of information storage and dissemination, books and as a resource it is best used together with a competent teacher or coach.
I am frequently approached by students who either want me to teach them something, or try to make something work for them, that they saw on Youtube.
While it is great that they are so enthusiastic about their game that they seek out information, it brings to my attention the problems that it sometimes may cause with a student’s training and development, if he/she does not handle it correctly.
As mentioned it is a valuable resource and should act as a guide. It cannot replace a good coach being present and teaching hands on.
Another rather unfortunate effect, of this readily available information, has been the emergence of training schools that use this as their resource of knowledge, and have little if any connection to qualified coaches.
The coaches teaching at these schools are teaching students with either low rankings, in a system, or in some cases none at all.
Another effect is that this type of practice downgrades the value of a good coach, who can cut the amount of time to obtain proficiency markedly, and produce high quality students that are well rounded and technically very strong.
A great example of the value of a good coach may play in a students development presented itself last week at my school. Within a period of 2 days I was asked on 2 separate occasions, by 2 different students, how to apply a particular no-gi choke that they had seen on Youtube, but just could not get to work. It had been demonstrated by a very proficient grappler and in great detail but they just could not get it to work correctly.
I had them both execute the choke on me and immediately identified the problem. Again it was the same problem in both cases and once I remedied it and added an extra small detail as well, to further improve the set up, they were able to execute the choke effectively every time.
That is value of a good coach and I have come across this same thing many times in my career as a professional martial arts instructor. Having the resource of an experienced and knowledgeable coach will greatly increase your ability and enjoyment of the martial arts, faster and more safely.
The ultimate way to do this is to take private instruction, in addition to your regular training. This is routine in most areas of human endeavor, overseas particularly if a student wishes to perform at the highest levels of accomplishment. However, here in New Zealand particularly, and in the martial arts it is very rare. However, in Australia, USA and many other regions of the world it is common place. The Academy of Combat Mixed Martial Arts school, Christchurch offers private and Group semi-private training to all levels of students in the disciplines of Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, self defense, stick-fighting and other weaponry disciples.
One only has to compare the number and quality of athletes that the USA has compared with NZ to see the value of having good coaches that are paid their worth and the use of private coaching by athletes in their development, compared with the worn out, cliché pitched, results of the “she’ll be right”, “no. 8 wire”, DIY type mentality of the NZ people. It is outdated and is a mentality that has to be changed if we are to seriously position ourselves in the global economy.