A year ago, my MacBook needed to be repaired at the local Best Buy. Needing to keep my social media efforts going, I ordered a Chromebook from Amazon. This was delivered within a couple of days. The purchase came with 1 terabyte of free memory on Google Drive.

For a while, I pondered on how to take advantage of this free memory.

At first, I digitized many of my martial arts DVDs and uploaded it to Google Drive. Whenever I have downtime, I watch these videos on my iPhone.

Unbelievably, I had used only 43 GB of the 1 free TB on Google Drive.

Then a month or two ago, I decided to experiment with taking video snippets of my classes, upload them to Google drive, and email the links to students. Some were having difficulty with the names of the technique. Whenever I asked them to execute a certain technique, some would go blank until I demonstrated the technique. “Oh yeah, I know that.

Click on photo to view a 16 second clip as an example.
For an example, click on the photograph to view a 16-second clip.

The recollections of Maestro Sonny Umpad’s students inspired me to do this. They often said that he filmed their private lessons and gave them the videos for homework. With this tool, they evaluated Maestro Sonny as well as themselves. Click here for an example (embedding has been disabled by this YouTube channel)

With this in mind, the rules for my students are simple:

  1. If you show up for class, I will email you the link to the video;
  2. If you don’t show up, you don’t get the links to the video snippets for the class you missed; and
  3. Further, I told my students that these snippets (typically 15 to 30 seconds long) were not meant to be “tutorials” but only are meant for retention purposes.

Thus far, the feedback has been positive. The video snippets have helped their retention of material that I teach in class. Of course, it’s up to the students to take advantage of the videos and learn from them. If they don’t, it’s on them. πŸ™‚

Why am I doing this?

I am interested in finding ways to help my students progress in the art. If football and basketball coaches use film to evaluate their teams, why not martial arts instructors? As stated above, the videos are currently being used mostly for retention purposes. However, some of my students have noted deficiencies in their technique when watching themselves. That’s a good sign. πŸ™‚ 

Further, by evaluating my students via video, I am also evaluating myself as an instructor. Am I doing an effective job of teaching the material? Where am I lacking? Where can I improve as an instructor? I constantly evaluate my teaching with respect to my classes and the private lessons. As is the case with everything else in life, experience is the great teacher.

That said, using video as a teaching tool is only part of my evolution as a teacher. I am relying much more on lesson plans based on who I think will attend and what the students need to practice. The days of “winging it” are over. I would often go to class, see who was there, and decide on the spot what to teach. This proved to be quite unsatisfactory for me. As a result, my students have improved quite a bit over the past couple years.

Oh yes, amazingly, I have used up only 48gb of my Google Drive memory. Lots of room for more video snippets! 

Over to you, do you video your classes or private lessons? How have they turned out? Any suggestions?

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