How it Works
The first step to becoming an official Black Belt Distance Training at Home student, is choosing a course! If you’re not sure which one to enter, read: Which Martial Art Style Should I Learn? We currently offer these courses of study:
A full white to black belt course covering the traditional art of Shotokan Karate, with slight Korean influence due to the unique lineage that this style has passed through. As a Shotokan student, you will learn stances, hand strikes, foot strikes, blocking, katas, and kumite. Sensei Jon Hodge will be your grading instructor, giving your feedback and guiding critiques through your rank exams. This is a self-paced program, which means there are no “forced waits” in between belt tests. Of course, proper training, time, and exertion is necessary to fully prepare yourself for the next rank. If you have previous training in a traditional martial art similar to shotokan karate, make sure and read: How do I Transfer My Previous Rank and Experience into Complete Shotokan Karate?
The one and only officially recognized white to black bo training style. Ultimate Bo is rooted from Okinawan Kobudo movements, but with a modernized, freestyle styling. In the freestyle bo portion of the course, you will learn bo techniques (sweeps, thrusts, spins, stances, combos) and forms/katas. In the sparring bo portion, you will practice a small assortment of combat bo strikes, blocks, and sparring theory. Ultimate Bo uses a unique “chevron” ranking system, which allows you to wear your UB rank as chevron patches on the sleeve of your gi, while wearing to belt rank of your core martial art (such as karate). Ultimate Bo training also builds a student’s cardiovascular system, arm strength, coordination, and weapons extension understanding. Don’t think that home study rank and training is even real, why don’t you read: “10 Ridiculous Myths about Home Study Courses.”
A complete course of study for students wanting to master this ancient Okinawan weapon. Ultimate Chuks brings a student through the yellow, green, blue, brown, red, black, and 2nd black chevron levels. The style evolved from traditional Okinawan nunchaku combat techniques, and has added a modernistic flair. The freestyle nunchakus portion of the course focuses on strikes, spins, handling, stances, and combos for single nunchaku. In the advanced levels, you will move into double nunchakus, taking into consideration the difference of dual-wielding weapons. The course teaches 10 complete nunchaku katas, with step-by-step instruction and various angles. The sparring nunchakus portion of the style focuses on combat training, and practice with a unique type of nunchaku point sparring.
Total Krav Maga is an organized training program, which offers level certifications from Level 1-6. TKM itself is not “an offshoot martial arts style”, but rather an organized, standardized training regimen which three levels of understanding. The TKM program is designed to help beginners learn the strong foundational necessity of stances, blocks, strikes, self defense techniques, awareness, instinctive reactions, groundfighting, knife defense, gun defense, blunt weapon defenses and fitness. The course does not just teach you techniques, but also includes complete Krav Maga follow along classes, and Krav conditioning workouts. These classes include drills, exercises, and ideas for your own home practice. The workouts can be added to your current regimen as a way to get more defense technique repetition, while increasing your cardio endurance. A training partner is necessary for level certification advancement in this course. The black belt exam must be taken locally at one of our training centers.
Organized by Master Jon Hodge, is a level based certification system for beginner through the master level of Tai Chi. This system utilizes the best parts of Yang, Sun and Chen styles in a simplified progression of learning for the western mind. Complete Tai Chi is all about the flow, utilization and delivery of Life Force that has long been hidden within the wonderful eastern martial and healing art of Tai Chi. In the course, you will learn the individual elements (techniques), the patterns, follow along with the warm ups, and follow along classes.
Purchase the Course
By purchasing a course, you are automatically enrolled as an official Distance Training student. You will also become a member of the Global Martial Arts Association, which will issue and recognize your rank. We do NOT charge a monthly or annual membership fee for students. Your initial course purchase will enroll you, and allow you to take rank exams once you are ready.
If you choose the DVD Edition option, we will ship you all DVDs, and a printed home study manual. The DVDs are region free, and can be watched in any country. We offer free shipping in the USA, and only $10 flat rate to any other country around the globe. You will also receive the streaming edition for free.
With the digital option, you get instant access to streaming videos of the entire course. You also have the ability to download each video individually for offline viewing. The videos can be watched on any device (iPad, computer, smartphone, tablet). The home study manual is included as a .pdf for easy reading, which you can also print out.
GMAU Student Membership
This is our new evolved and enhanced option for students. The GMAU Student Membership for a course includes the entire curriculum videos, a new class each week, a new website, improved instructor support, and any new updates and material is always included. We currently offer the enhanced GMAU membership for Shotokan, Krav Maga, and Ultimate Bo.
It’s time for the fun part! Learning, training, and progressing is what our courses are all about. Everyone has a different reason for learning a martial art; maybe for fitness, self defense, to have fun, bond with the family, become a more well-rounded martial artist, or because you set the goal to become a black belt someday. Your own home-training schedule and regimen should reflect the aspiration that you hold. Here are some general tips for training at home:
- Design a “garage dojo” – or at least some area where you can practice. You do not really need a huge space, but here are some things to consider: a mat/puzzle floor, a hanging bag or standing bag, a large mirror if possible, and a partner to train with you. Some of our courses do not require a partner, but your experience will be better if you find someone. Ask a family member (spouse, child) or a friend to practice and go through the ranks with you.
- Set a date for your first rank exam – Since you are in control of your own schedule, it is important to set a personal goal for when you want to achieve your first belt/rank. Two-three months from your first day of training usually fairly realistic for the first exam. But, don’t feel bad if you want to take more time, whatever you are comfortable with.
- What if you have questions about the course/techniques? – Your grading instructor is available via email support. If you are wondering about a technique, kata, or testing procedures, simply send them an email. Our instructors care deeply about their home study students, and are available for help.
- Set a training schedule – It is so important to you have a consistent training routine. Two to three practice sessions, for 45 minutes each is a general guideline. This is not counting exercise and general cardio or weight lifting routines. Of course, some students will train every day for 30-60 minutes, and will be able to advance more quickly. This is up to your own time schedule.
- For more, read: How to Be a Successful Home Study Student and 5 Helpful Resources for Home Study Students.
Once you feel confident in your understanding of the first rank level, and are ready to test – it is time to film your rank exam video. Taking a video test requires the same level of intensity, presence, effort, and precision as an in-person exam. We uphold the same (if not higher) standards for our distance training students as the students who train in a facility with us. The process is pretty straightforward: film your exam, submit it to us and pay the rank exam fee, your instructor grades your exam, and sends you comments along with the certificate of rank. To get even more details, see our Testing page.
Easy to Follow, Well Designed Instructional DVDs
Our Ultimate Training instructional DVDs are specially designed to help you learn each technique, form, movement, and stance at a deep level. [Like if you were in class with an instructor!] Techniques are explained, demonstrated from angles, and shown at full speed for a holistic understanding.
Straightforward Rank Requirements in the Home Study Manual
When you receive the DVDs and manual, you will notice the rank requirements for each level. They are easy to read, break down as training goals, and work on at your own speed. You can look ahead to what you will need to know for each level, and plan out your path to reaching black belt.
Train and Test at Your Own Pace
There is no SET date for completing each rank level. Although there are recommended periods of time for testing, every student is different. Maybe you need to take a few months off for a trip or family situation; whatever you need. You can move forward as works best for your schedule. But, of course you need to train consistently to see results.
Detailed Feedback, Comments, and Suggestions from the Instructor
As an enrolled student, you will have an instructor in your corner. If you have questions or need something to be reviewed, just ask your instructor. And, after taking a rank exam, you will receive a personalized feedback video to keep you on the path of improvement. Our goal is to give you the feedback you need to continuously progress.
Helpful & Educational Articles & Videos
On our blog, you will find articles and videos that are designed to help you in your at home training experience. Articles such as: ‘5 VITAL Resources for a Home Study Student’, ‘How to Be a Successful Home Study Stuent’, and more will help you stay on track.
1,000+ Students from Around the World
Since 2008, we have enrolled students from over 40 different countries. We ship our DVDs worldwide, and of course, streaming videos can be watched instantly. We look forward to having you train with us, wherever you are from! The great thing about our home study courses is that, not only will you be learning and progressing with a structured curriculum, but you can also earn real rank and credentials! We currently have hundreds or martial artists around the world using our courses. Here are some examples of students who train with our course.
- Individuals who have trained in martial arts in the past, but have taken some time off. (Our Courses offer an opportunity to pick back up where they left off on their own schedule, or learn a new discipline)
- Current students training in martial arts, who are looking to learn something new. (If you are currently training in Karate, for example, but you would like to master a new art such as Krav Maga or Bo)
- Martial Arts instructors and school owners. (Wanting to learn a new art, and even become a Certified Instructor in one of our programs, to have something new and exciting to teach their students).
- Anyone who wants to “feel like a white belt again.” (Whether you have earned several black belts, or just have aspirations to get there, our courses give you the change to start a new journey, and reach a new goal).
- Individuals who are too busy to attend regularly scheduled classes, or that do not have a training facility near by. (Our courses can be used anywhere, as long as you have the desire and dedication to train)
“This is an outstanding resource for any krav maga enthusiast and a very welcome addition to my ever-growing self-defense and martial arts dvd and book collection. A bit of background before I get to my review: I’ve studied krav maga for a total of about two years at a local facility but, recently, my instructor more or less retired. The only other facility in my general area is quite a drive from where I live. Hence, I’m mostly continuing on my own or with a partner or two when I can muster them; but, I wanted to better organize and structure my training and that’s why I purchased Total Krav Maga.
I’ve had the dvd set for about a week and a half now–long enough to view and analyze the materials, using my previous training as a frame reference, and to begin practicing the techniques and participating along with the recorded classes. I’ve also read the downloaded manual to which one has access after receiving the dvd set.
Approach: The overall approach to krav maga presented in the introduction and throughout is very good. Michael South, the instructor, is very clear about the differences between krav maga and more “traditional” martial arts and emphasizes, rightly, its pragmatic orientation. I also appreciate that he emphasizes that even successful execution of techniques in a confrontation or attack does not render one invincible. Rather, the idea is to avoid harm if possible and minimize it if this is not possible. This is very realistic: training won’t make you Superman, but done properly it should significantly increase your chances of “getting home safe.”
More generally, South is a genuine teacher. He is an expert but not at all condescending; rather, he seems to enjoy sharing his knowledge with others rather than simply displaying his mastery of the system. Another sign of a good teacher: the proficiency of his students. The two students who participate in the recorded classes are both skillful practitioners themselves.
Techniques: The demonstration of techniques is excellent. South’s demonstrations are fluid and dynamic. The format—full speed demonstration, breakdown, and further demonstration from multiple angles—is very conducive to understanding how a technique works and how to perform it. The quality of the camera work, production values, and editing is similarly excellent. Furthermore, South explains concepts and techniques clearly and accessibly. I especially appreciate that he takes time to explain “why” a particular technique is effective in a given situation and what it’s trying to achieve. This approach folds nicely into another point that he makes throughout: krav maga is less about perfectly executing a technique and more about grasping fundamental principles of self-defense. (Or, as my instructor liked to say: “If it works, it’s krav maga!”) The overview of blocks is especially welcome. Frankly, my “live” instruction in this dimension of krav maga has been limited and the instruction here very much helps to make up for that.
Organization: The design and structure of the dvd set may be its greatest strength. A fair number of dvds about krav maga or combatives are available, a few with decent demonstrations of techniques. What sets Total Krav Maga apart is the obvious thought and care that have been put into designing a comprehensive training program that clearly lays out a course of progress. While I’m not pursuing rank through this program, at least not at the moment, I greatly appreciate having a structure in place for moving from the basics to more advanced techniques.
Moreover, the four complete classes are invaluable; it’s incredibly convenient to be able to get back from work, set up the heavy bag or grappling dummy, and then go through a complete class in my own home (or in the park across the street). One real advantage of training at or near home is efficiency. In my experience, even well-organized “live” classes entail a lot of extra time and downtime: commuting to and from the facility; waiting in line to sign in at the desk; setting up mats and getting equipment out of the supply closet; waiting five or ten minutes for stragglers to arrive; etc. Even a 90 minute session was often more like 40-45 or so minutes of actual instruction and practice. Here, each 30-minute class is focused and requires an honest effort from start to finish. Plus, the sample sessions provide a very useful template for designing one’s own classes to emphasize whatever techniques one feels need work.
Overall: This is a fantastic set of dvds and a great value. For those who are skeptical that an at-home training program can provide quality instruction (I was one of them, admittedly) Total Krav Maga is a shining example that outstanding instruction can happen in any format, so long as the student is willing to put in a lot of work. And South makes it clear that he expects students to work hard!”
-J. Williams (Krav Maga student)
“For a home study course on Shotokan Karate, you can’t go wrong with this dvd set. Sensei Jon Hodge takes you step by step through all belt levels – forms, techniques (punches, blocks, kicks), sparring and self defence moves. Mr. Hodge is thorough, giving great detail to all aspects of what he is teaching. Also, if you have any questions, contact him by email and you will receive a quick and courteous response. Highly recommended!”
-Byron Howard (Shotokan student)
“Sensei Hodge provides detailed instruction from multiple angles. My e-mails have all been answered quickly. The picture quality and production work of these DVD’s is first rate. Working rotating shifts has always made attending a brick and mortar dojo difficult so this course lets me practice as I have the time. The forms require about a 10 x 10 foot area more or less. You can earn belts up to black via video testing with each test costing a typical fee. Blcak belt can be achieved at the time I’m writing this for a total commitment of less than $600. Spread that out over a few years and it really is affordable for everyone, especially if you don’t have a dojo nearby. The nearest Shotokan instruction for me is over 200 miles away. Now I have a 5th degree black belt Sensei right in my own home. I highly recommend this home study course.”
-Richard Tabaka (Shotokan student)
Thank you for the response. I would just like to say, that your programs and dvd collection are awesome. I have my 13 year old daughter and 9 year old son doing the Ultimate Krav Maga and Ultimate Karate dvds with me. A motto that I truly believe in is, “A family that kicks together, sticks together”. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to respond. Best Wishes, James”
-James Riddle (Shotokan and Krav Maga student)
“I bought the course for my son and myself for Christmas. I was pretty excited so I cracked it open a couple weeks before Christmas. I popped the tapes in and started my lessons with a wood curtain rod in my garage. I really enjoy the physical challenge as well as the zen feeling I got when I am working with the staff and your course. I was enjoying the course so much I decided to purchase a few staffs for myself my son and my daughter. I have been a physical education teacher for fourteen years and I quickly realized that your course would be great for my entire family. I am a huge believer that physical fitness is imperative in holistic well being. My initial intention was to learn a few spins with the staff and have some fun with my son. Your course has inspired me in many ways. It has been a catalyst in striving for better overall fitness in my life. I have also decided to go for a black belt rank in the staff and possibly explore other martial arts such as Krav Maga.
I want to thank you for the hard work you put into your courses. It is evident that you have the true heart of a teacher. I would highly recommend your courses to anyone who would like to study martial arts. Thanks for your kind words and inspiration. I am looking forward to my journey to a black belt ranking.”
-Tim Spinosa (Ultimate Bo student)