In the previous post, I discussed the utility of using video as an instruction aide for a student during a private lesson. I now discuss how to watch private lesson videos based on my experiences. If you have the permission of an instructor, videos of private lessons can be a tremendous aid to your martial development.

Those of us who practice martial arts have different preferences as far as retaining martial material. Some prefer to take copious notes, complete with diagrams and drawings. I have seen some who take incredible notes and have gone through multiple journals. Others prefer to jot the major points of a session afterward.

Some, like myself, like to have sessions recorded on video if at all possible. I’m not much of a note taker and am even worse at drawing. Perhaps due to my severe hearing loss, I have always considered myself to be a visual learner. Hence, video is right up my alley!

First things first, always ask the instructor for permission to record the session.

Some may agree and others may not.

If you are working with an instructor who does not consent to the session being recorded, there is an easy workaround. Grab two friends after your private session and have one record you doing techniques that you learned during the private lesson. The only caveat is that you may not remember the techniques correctly. However, I’ve done this many times and it has been quite helpful.

That said, I recommend that you do the following:

(1) Obtain the instructor’s permission. He or she may agree. They may stipulate that you may not show the videos to anyone. Keep your word.

(2) Be sure that the camera has sufficient battery power.

(3) Set it up on a tripod or stable surface. In the alternative, have a friend or a bystander video the session.

(4) If it’s possible, take a break here and there to check on the camera.

After the private lesson, you have a number of options.

You can elect to watch the entire raw video and rewind as appropriate.

My personal preference is to edit the video on iMovie on my Macbook and break it up into 2 to 3-minute clips focusing on particular techniques. I usually dispose of clips containing familiar techniques and prefer to study those with variations or techniques that I had not seen or considered before. I prefer to edit out the sound so that I can focus on the technique in its entirety. Furthermore, I like to edit the clip in slow motion speed to enhance the learning experience, at least for me.

Lastly, I like to store the clips in iTune for easy access and from there, I can upload to my iPhone to watch at any time. If they are GOLD to you, make sure that you back them up. I prefer to back them up on an external hard drive.

Screenshot from a video of a training session I had with Master Chuck Gauss.

Screenshot from a video of a training session I had with Master Chuck Gauss.

What do I look for in these kinds of videos?

Note: most of the video clips that I have saved are usually on Modern Arnis and particularly tapi tapi.

Myself and Master of Tapi Tapi Chuck Gauss.

If you are not able to view the video, please click here.

Yes, there is an element of technique collection but I usually look at how they fit in the big picture. Beyond that, I usually look for the following:

(1) Observe your body positioning vs. your instructor’s – Am I standing in front of my instructor? Did he manipulate into a disadvantageous position? How? The video may give you clues.

(2) Compare your own structure with the instructor’s – are you crossing your centre line? How is your stance at any given time? How about the instructor’s? Compare your structure to his and you might glean new insights.

(3) Watch your instructor’s techniques: Go beyond learning new techniques. See how the instructor utilizes footwork, timing, rhythm and his check hand. Watch for the pre-technique setup, the technique and the post technique finishing move. 

(4) Watch your own techniques: Often times, an instructor will ask you to practice a technique you just learned. Compare your execution vs. his/her execution. How is your structure, execution, and timing?  Are you using your check hand?

If you’ve had the opportunity to view video of yourself in a private lesson, focus on a technique or two and practice with a friend or a training partner.

A one hour private lesson can potentially provide you with substantial material to practice for quite a while. I still view clips of myself and Master Chuck to see if I can glean anything that I’ve missed in past viewings. Do I sound like a football coach in the film room? You bet! 🙂

Over to you, how do you watch or analyze videos of private lessons that you’ve had with an instructor? Let’s hear about your experiences!

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