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Can You Really Learn Martial Arts Online?

Online learning is nothing new. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted our everyday lives, people turned to the internet to learn all sorts of new skills, from playing music to making sushi.

In This Article

Learning Martial Arts at Home

We can develop and practice many interests on our own, without a teacher physically present to offer guidance. But what about those of us who want to explore martial arts or self-defense yet are forced to learn it from home? Can you really learn martial arts online?

Yes, it is absolutely possible! However… your martial art of choice makes a difference. If you would like to study Boabom, the good news is that, while historically it has been taught in person, as a martial art Boabom is very well adapted for online learning. It has no physical contact between students and it’s also fundamentally non-competitive.

Some forms of martial arts that require sparring with a partner may be limited in the possibility to advance online. You can take classes that will teach you about the history and philosophy behind a particular martial art. In terms of progressing in the art form, however, you may only be able to learn the basic techniques.

With Boabom, on the other hand, regular attendance in a class is all that is required to advance and develop your skills through online instruction.

What Makes Boabom Unique?

Here at The Boston School of Boabom, we found ourselves in a unique position. Boabom is non-competitive and non-contact, which means we can learn well without another student in front of us. Still, for several years, we were skeptical about teaching our self defense classes online. Learning online, we thought, is never going to be quite the same as it is in person. Then in March of 2020, like it was for so much of the rest of the world, the decision was made for us, and we transitioned immediately to online teaching, using zoom.

The results have been enlightening. Since transitioning to exclusively online classes until restrictions are lifted, we have seen our students adapt smoothly and really enjoy the online classes, This has been true for both experienced and new students, many of whom have learned entirely online. Regular students have continued to advance and develop their Boabom skills. In addition, we’ve taken a good number of new students from zero to a solid understanding of the basics over the course of the pandemic.

So what’s been working for us, and what should you look for if you decide to learn martial arts online, even if it’s just until restrictions are completely lifted? Here are some of the offerings you should look for.

Small Class Size

One thing that can make a big difference is class size. It’s important that you choose a school where the online classes aren’t too big. Our school keeps class sizes modest so our teachers can really see each student and offer them individual help. Rather than trying to teach and keep track of 25 people, we’ve kept our online class sizes small. This has helped our teachers to give personalized attention to each and every student, just as we did in our in-person classes.

Our teachers each have their own personal energy, and yet we are are all dedicated to helping students understand Boabom and feel comfortable practicing the movements. By taking online classes, you can gain exposure to different teachers and learn new techniques.

Students Learn With Others At Their Skill Level

You should also seek out martial arts classes that group students at the same skill level. This way you won’t be confused or feel like you need to “catch up” with other students that have significantly more experience than you do.

Boabom in particular is structured in this way. New students start with other beginners. It is also a progressive martial art. This means you’re going to learn some basics in the first class. These include warm-up exercises and introductory breathing and movement techniques. In the second class you will practice all of this, and your teacher will add one or two additional movements. The same in the next class. In other words, we will add something new each time as you progressively learn new movements.

Boabom is always taught in this way; In digestible, understandable movements that you practice each class while gradually adding new ideas. This progressive teaching system has online classes quite understandable and easy for our students.

A Non-Competitive Medium

As we mentioned above Boabom doesn’t participate in competitions or contact sparring and has no awards or trophies. You also won’t make contact with another student even during an in-person class. Rather, we work indivudally, and when there is partner work, it is more like a dance than any kind of fight or competition. With no need to work directly with another person, you can learn Boabom online, as a form of martial arts, quite effectively and independently.

Another upside to learning martial arts online is the obvious advantage of not having to commute to the studio. This is a big advantage of all kinds of online learning. There is also the added anonymity of learning online for those who prefer it. Of course, for people who love to socialize, that part of taking classes is lost online.

Before the pandemic, many of our students made friends with others at our school and enjoyed these social connections, in addition to learning Boabom. This distance is something that anyone doing any kind of online learning has been forced to deal with. But no matter your personality, the teachers at the Boston School of Boabom will all do their best to make you feel welcome and to share this art with kindness, respect, and positive energy.

Are Online Martial Arts Classes Worth It?

So is it possible to learn martial arts and self-defense online? Absolutely! With careful instruction and a system like Boabom, anyone willing to put even an hour a week into this practice can learn a lot. They will be developing their body and mind while learning self-defense and meditation in movement. At the Boston School of Boabom, we’ve been impressed with the possibilities of online teaching. As a result, we’ve decided that once it is safe to offer in-person classes, again, we will continue offering online and hybrid classes in parallel to our in-person offerings.

If you’re curious about learning more, check out out our free streaming or live introductory classes. Either will give you a good introduction to what Boabom is all about, through a class of basic movements and breathing techniques. And if you’d like to learn more, you can register for a weekly, online session. By trying a month of progressive classes over zoom you can see if Boabom is the right fit for you.

Online Martial Arts Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of taking a martial arts class online? 

A: Martial arts is a great way to reduce stress and become physically and mentally fit. Martial arts can improve everything from concentration to balance and posture.

As far as taking a martial arts class online as opposed to taking one in-person, nothing beats the convenience of taking the class from the privacy of your home, and with the added benefit of being able to take classes that might not be offered in your direct vicinity. If your classes are on-demand, you can take them anytime you choose and when your body feels the most alert. You’ll also avoid the hassle of having to commute to the studio and trying to arrive on time.

There are, however, downsides to taking martial arts classes online. If there are too many people taking the class, you may not get the one-on-one specialized attention you may need—although it can make a difference if your class size is limited to a small number of participants. You also won’t get the social aspect that taking a class in person can offer.

The Boston School of Boabom plans on offering in-person as well as online classes once state pandemic restrictions have been lifted, to give students the option to choose the class they prefer.

How do I find an online martial arts class that’s right for me? 

A: We suggest looking for ones that are free to check out; you’ll usually get a shortened or condensed version of the class, but this is often enough to get a feel for the techniques and principles. Our free streaming introductory classes are about 20 minutes long and a good way to explore what Boabom is all about, and we have an hour long live intro class weekly via zoom. You can also look for classes or lessons on YouTube. We suggest trying out a few to find one that you’re comfortable with and can see yourself practicing on a regular basis.

How often should I take a class? 

A: Most online martial arts classes are held once or twice a week. With a live class, it’s good to stick to a regular schedule as much as you can, so it becomes a part of your schedule. If you have the option of streaming an on-demand class anytime you choose, we suggest sticking to a schedule that works for you. You want to practice frequently enough that you can follow the class easily, especially with a progressive form of martial arts. Try to take it on the same day of the week if possible so the previous movements you’ve learned will stay fresh and it’ll become a weekly ritual you’ll look forward to.

What should I wear when taking online martial arts classes? 

A: If the martial art you wish to study doesn’t require any special clothing, staying comfortable is key. Some people prefer to go barefoot while others may choose to wear sneakers or other footwear with cushioning. On that note, you’ll want to make sure your floor lessens the impact on your joints. If you don’t have a carpeted surface, we recommend investing in a set of interlocking foam pads for workouts, which many of our students use at home. A wood floor can work as well, but if you’re on anything harder than that we recommend wearing sneakers.

As far as clothing, anything that is comfortable and doesn’t restrict your movement should be fine. We suggest that you avoid wearing heavy fabrics like denim, but beyond that go with what you prefer, whether synthetic or natural fabrics.

What makes Boabom ideal for studying online? 

A: Boabom is a non-contact, non-competitive form of martial arts which means it doesn’t require a partner to progress through the lessons. Even during in-person classes, you won’t make physical contact with another person, but rather move with them in harmony, like doing a dance. There are no competitive events or awards in Boabom. In this way, you’re not required to study it in person in order to absorb the teachings and you can progress through the lessons by taking classes online.

As well, the structure of our classes—where everyone is doing the class together, the same movements at the same pace, allows the teacher to demonstrate the movements from many angles, describe the details, and help everyone understand how to translate three dimensional movements across a two-dimensional screen.