Home Study Courses


Senior Master
Aug 7, 2010
Reaction score
Kansas City MO
Quite interesting.

I have always fiercely disagreed with those who said you can't learn anything (or even much) that is useful from a good home study course or DVDs or whatever. Can you get to the highest level? No. But you CAN learn things and you can at least get to the point of being able to defend yourself against an untrained attacker much better than you could if you had no training at all.

I'll put it this way: Take two dudes who are about the same height, weight and athletic ability, but who have no martial arts training. Give one of them six months, a boxing instructional DVD, a judo DVD, some equipment and a training partner to experiment on. Then set up a fight between those two dudes and it's pretty obvious who will win, and probably easily.

Yes, it will be the guy who doesn't fight from fantasy. It'll be the guy who has learned the least bad habits. It'll be the guy who just reactes to what is given and doesn't pause to force this or that technique never used upon a resisting opponent. It'll be the guy who can take a shot to his chops and save worrying about it till things are taken care off. Bad training inhibits a fighters basic natural responses. Good training enhances those. Knowing the difference usually takes an experienced martial artist who knows what they are looking at. Books, DVDs, etc, do not have the ability to impart that very important thing to a beginner.


Blue Belt
Nov 30, 2007
Reaction score
Spring Hill, FL
First off I have to disagree. Some of us do not have the money or the time to go on a vision quest on what martial art would best represent us. I use to take BJJ but I quit voluntarily not because I did not enjoy it but because for one after having to remind my instructor to get me prepared to test for my first stripe for blue belt the guy wouldn't. I wouldn't be opposed to having a training partner or even traveling around my area to find one to prepare me should I decide to learn distance training. Now you can learn from a home study course but it would be wonderful to find one where you could get some correspondence with a live instructor to help you progress. But if you have an instructional video that goes over the basics. You go in steps. Learn the basics and then move up to the next level as you learn. Everybody learns at their own pace any way so why would an instructional DVD be any different?

Reasons for learning may be different. You may not be looking for rank. It may be just for fitness, and self defense only. Kata you can definitely learn on video and you have plenty of time to perfect technique. Of course training partners are good. Having friends to help you and make sure you both go in slow steps for safety reasons is a good bet. You get what you put into the art whether is through home study, correspondence, or through an actual school.

So why would a traditional martial artist, or an unconventional one determine whats best for another person's training? It's the benefit of cross training. I love boxing. I pretty much practice on the punching bag at my brothers house but I do not compete in my area. But could I hold my own long enough to escape if somebody picked a fight with me? Absolutely. Training within your means. Home study might be your only means but if you're like me and want to make sure what you're learning can actually benefit you then you take your chances. Train through movements, using a punching bag, or eventually finding a foam dummy you can go to town on so nobody gets arrested. You can also practice on it with no complaints, or the cops being called on you.

Its all in the manner you approach it. It may take more time than what other people consider the conventional way. But just because another persons training may not be the approach you'd normally take, doesn't mean its not worth while for that person.

I've also seen things about a hybrid style of ninjutsu. But the idea reeked of BS. There were no reviews, but for some reason I'd rather correspond traditionally over a hybrid version. What if that part that was designed as a hybrid is just a bunch of hype and nothing else. Then I've wasted both my money and my time and I'm not about to experiment with that. But any other thing I specifically research to make sure that for one its something I could not train in my area, and number two I'm going to get the most of it, and number three and most importantly if I was ever in situation where I had to use it, the training would not fail.

But that is just my two cents. What works for me might not necessarily work for somebody else.