For many students, group classes are the optimal option for a variety of reasons. The reasons range from socializing, the opportunity to train with different partners, a chance to decompress from work, forget about distractions, and socializing after class.
However, some students are not able to attend regular classes due to shift work or irregular work schedule. Some others may not be comfortable in a group setting. Some others desire one on one training in order to increase their skill level. Still others seek out private lessons in order to build up confidence for group classes.
I have taught one on one private lessons to a number of clients for several years now. It has been tremendously enjoyable for myself and those clients. For many of them, I focus on the stick and teach the 20 Bamboo Spirit Flow Drills and its variations.
Footwork, body mechanics, proper leverage, timing, rhythm, angles of attack, and other concepts are taught within the context of the flow drills.
That said, I do tailor the private lessons according to the needs of the students or those who request to work on certain material. For example, with Alan and Noel both 80 years young 🙂 ), I have focused on a traditional Karate Kata called “Naihanchi Shodan” and the applications. We also practice basic stick work. They love it!
From a Filipino Martial Arts perspective, one on one training is the optimal way to learn and is a lot of fun. Some studies indicate that one on one instruction is more beneficial than group classes.
I believe that Modern Arnis is most effectively taught one on one.
The 7 killer reasons to take private lessons:
(1) Schedule flexibility: you are not able to attend the group classes due to work, family, or a horrible commute. Private lessons offer flexibility in learning a martial art without attending a group class.
“How the hell am I going to make the class?” Image found here.
(2) Comfort Zone: you prefer not to be in a group setting. Let’s face it, some people are introverted and that’s okay. Private lessons is a great way to meet your training needs. On the other hand, you just might prefer one on one training.
(3) Expert Instruction: What better than to learn from one who possesses deep knowledge of the martial art? The instructor will often tailor the speed, timing, and techniques to your level. The instructor will typically start with “walking speed” and incrementally increase the speed and complexity of techniques as the student gains more confidence and competence.
(4) The Flow: There is nothing like learning the flow while training in flow drills. All aspects of a drill including but not limited to footwork, timing, speed, rhythm, and reaction timing will be taught and adjusted. The flow is an integral part of Filipino martial arts, with an emphasis of finding the path of least resistance rather than “muscling” through a technique. To learn the flow, hands on training with an experienced instructor helps tremendously.
Working on one of the flow drills!
(5) Instant feedback: Working one on one, the teacher will be able to spot areas that need to be practiced or worked on, thus leading to increased technical proficiency and greater competence by the student. No more wondering if you’re on the right track!
(6) Rapid Progression: Perhaps you’d like to accelerate your training in conjunction with the group classes. I have noticed considerable improvement in those who have trained with me privately versus those who have not. As a student improves, the bar is set higher by the instructor and the training becomes progressively more challenging, leading to more improvement. Stagnation won’t happen here!
(7) Tailored Lessons: Either the student can request to work on certain material or the instructor will adjust the material for the student’s need or skill level. Sometimes, classes can get a bit too “cookie cutter” and can hinder a student’s progress. For example, a technique may be more effective for a student with a certain build than for others. In this case, sometimes the instructor does not have time to make adjustments for every single student. This is one of the best benefits of private lessons, making the art more personal for the student.