"You can't learn a martial art online"

One of the most commonly heard divisive statements instructors have made to each other in private groups and forums throughout this pandemic: "you can't learn a martial art online".

There is something missing from the online experience when it comes to learning martial arts, especially grappling arts like Aikido. But it's not the screen.

It's the lack of a teacher.

When you move to an online space, you lose the hierarchical structure of the dojo. Just like all those masterclasses that only work for a few industrious and naturally talented people - the rest of us learn best when there's an exchange between teacher and student.

As often as hierarchical structures may fail us (think gender imbalances, those who take advantage of their station, and those who undervalue themselves as a student, etc...), these structures create a relationship that vastly speeds up the learning process - when done correctly. Here are a few things to look for in an online course: 1. Will you have direct access to the teacher(s)? One of the main issues with teaching relationships is scalability. 1 teacher can only handle a certain number of students before the experience becomes the same as an impersonal video that doesn't address the student's specific needs. First and foremost, the teacher must set a limit for how many students they want to work with, or create a hierarchical structure of teachers who work with the "chief instructor" to disseminate knowledge. The benefit of this tiered structure, is that the "chief instructor" spends time teaching teachers, as well as their group of students. The drawback of course is that the "chief instructor"'s student "pool" must now be smaller to accommodate the teaching of teachers.

2. Are the classes in a constant state of re-development? Another red-flag is when content is created and then assumed to be the purest and best form of that