10 Ridiculous Myths about Home Study Courses


need_instructor_myth 1.      You can’t actually learn and improve without an instructor in front of you!!

This is the number one argument to home study training. Without an instructor, how will you catch your mistakes, how will you mitigate bad habits? First of all, you do have an instructor in the video in front of you. I put a lot of time in filming videos which actually teach you the details of every technique, and then demonstrate from multiple angles. You can pause, rewind, slo-mo, whatever you want to do with the video. Secondly, you will receive detailed feedback on all techniques, movements, stances, breathing through your video exam.

need_partner_myth2.       You’ve got to have a partner in order to train correctly.

Let me X this one out as well. Although having a partner is beneficial (both physically and for the motivational support) it is not a complete necessity. How do some people manage to learn a new language on their own? How to some people manage to “teach them self?” These individuals are referred to as “autodidacts.” If you have the right motivation + tools necessary, it is possible. Of course, our Bo and Nunchakus programs do not require a partner as you are doing mainly techniques and forms. In our Karate program, an extra level of practice will be required to learn the one step sparring segments alone. So, if you can find a partner, this will be very helpful! (but not a necessity)

belt_factory_myth3.       Belts are Just “Handed To You” and this is an “Online Belt Factory”

This misconception makes me sick. I have been teaching local students at my martial arts academy for over 8 years; and have worked with home study students for 5 years. I will tell you with full confidence, that I push my home study students HARDER, expect MORE from them, and hold them to HIGHER standards. Why? Well, I obviously don’t get to train with them day to day like with my local students, so I expect them to bust their behind every day on their own. If they are not doing so, it shows on their rank exam, in which I may have to fail them (albeit with constructive criticism). This is real training for those who really want to earn rank. Don’t join our program if you are looking for a handout.

martial-arts-black-belt_myth4.       A Black Belt earned from a Home Study Course is not the Same as a “regular” Black Belt

Have you heard the news that prestigious universities all over the world offer online classes and degree programs? Standford, Harvard, MIT, UCLA, and thousands of other institutions have fully-accredited online classes. Many of these institutions offer their COMPLETE degree program online. I am not talking about University of Phoenix or ITT Tech; but state and private universities certifying students with the same degree as physically-attended students. So I think if Harvard see valor in accrediting online classes the same as physical classes; then the martial arts community should too. Again, my program in particular is not easy, but is just a different way of learning. (more time convenient, location convenient)

home_not_asgood_myth5.       Home Study Students are Not as Skilled/Proficient as Locally Trained Students

All students are different. I have my all-star students (which I call ‘A’ students) anywhere I teach. I have ‘A’ students in my local classes as well as in my home study course. Just like I also have ‘B’ and ‘C’ students: locally and online. Some students are just more dedicated, motivated, and willing to do whatever it takes to be the best. There are deep-seated, personal attributes, which will rise to the surface in any type of training arena. So, this is simply up to YOU – it is your choice how proficient you will become. 

SONY DSC6.       Home Study Courses are Too Expensive!

A 3 year martial arts training experience at a local martial arts academy costs on average $4,500. That takes into account: $100 a month for tuition, $50 per rank exam, and $300 for equipment. With a home study course, you simply pay a small upfront cost for the program enrollment + training DVDs/manual (only $99 for one of my individual programs); and then a small rank exam fee. This still comes out to less than 1/6 of the total cost of a local training experience. The home study course is actually one of the ‘cheapest’ ways per dollar to earn real rank. 

bochuks_myth7.       You Can’t Earn a Black Belt in Nunchakus or Bo!!

Okay, so this one is specific to two of my home study programs (Ultimate Bo and Ultimate Chuks). Ultimate Bo is a full curriculum program, in which I combined several types of bo training (such as Okinawan Bo) with more eclectic, modern freestyle bo. This created a full white to black curriculum, and a way to feel real progress for your leveling. Rather than belts, you are awarded ‘chevrons’, which are special patches to signify your rank. Therefore, since these are weapons styles, you earn a ‘black chevron’ (which is the equivalent of a black belt), to display your mastery. Ultimate Chuks is similar, but is based on the recognize style of American Style Nunchaku.

calendar_myth28.       You can earn a Black Belt in Less than a Year??!!

Well, I can’t speak for other organizations, but our home study courses require the same amount of time as most local training courses. To earn a black belt rank in our Shotokan Karate program takes 3 years (or could take 2.5-4 depending some certain speed and intensity of training). To earn a black chevron in our weapons program take around 2 years. There is no ‘skipping over levels’, content, or training. In order to earn real rank, real work and training must happen. 

9.       You HAVE to join an association, wear a certain uniform, or buy equipment. 

With our home study courses, there are no association fees, or forced membership of any sort. Also, you are not required to wear a uniform while training or testing (although it can be helpful at times). I do recommend wearing comfortable, exercise oriented clothes; feeling relaxed and ready to move is important. You do not have to buy specific equipment directly from us – although I will recommend equipment from time to time if I believe it will help your home training. For the Shotokan Karate and Total Krav Maga programs, a wavemaster/or hanging bag, gloves, and a mat would be nice. For Ultimate Bo and Chuks, you just need the weapon at hand and really nothing more to train. 


dojo_true10.   Training locally at a martial arts school should always be your first choice.

Ah, this is not actually a myth. If you have the ability to train locally in the art that you wish to learn; I highly recommend doing so. You just can’t beat quality instruction, heart-pumping classes, and the social motivation of a martial arts studio. Many of my home study students are actually students at local academies; but chose to train with me to learn something new. (a large majority of these students are learning Ultimate Bo or Ultimate Chuks because it is not available at their academy). But, for some students, there are no academies nearby (or their schedules don’t mesh), and home study is the right option.