Learning the Internal Arts Online - the Beauty of Video Coaching

Silk-Reeling1-250 Another member of my online internal arts school opted for personal coaching last week. He shot some video demonstrating a couple of silk-reeling movements and standing stake. In a move that I thought was very creative, he put the video clips on Facebook so that only I could see them.

I watched the video clips -- each one was between 3 and 5 minutes long -- and was able to make comments right there on his Facebook page. 

Whether we are enrolled in a regular school or the online school, most of us make the same mistakes when we're beginning. The most important thing for the student is to have a teacher who can identify errors and clearly explain them.

I shot a reply video for this person, showing him how he was turning his hips too much, and other tips just for him. Turning the hips is one of the most common mistakes people make early in their training. It's very hard for people to separate their waist/dan t'ien area and the hips. When you tell people to turn the waist, too often they turn the hips and it throws their posture all off. 

Another common mistake in silk-reeling is the "dead spiral." You'll put your hand in a position and move it across without spiraling it. He was doing this, too, along with performing at too fast a speed. You really need to slow silk-reeling down and feel the spiraling through the body -- feel the connection with the ground, peng, and whole-body movement as you spiral from the ground to the hand. These are skills you need for any internal art, whether it's Chen tai chi, Hsing-I Chuan or Baguazhang.

Another common mistake is with the elbow. The elbow should not be higher than the hand, especially when spiraling the hand across the front, as in single-hand reeling. 

I posted my coaching video to a private page on the web. I sent him the link. His reply was "Wow!" He said the video really made him see what he was doing wrong. He's going to practice a little and then shoot another video for coaching.

There are a lot of folks out there who don't understand how technology has improved. They say "you can't learn this art through the Internet."  I believe you can, and for a lot of people who don't have access to good teachers, it's a great option. When I work with people and see them inspired, and see them take steps forward, it's a great feeling.


Online Internal Arts Training Can Be Effective

I received a video from a member of the online school last week. He's a captain in the army and has spent some time in the Middle East. He joined the online school a few weeks ago and has been studying the Internal Strength section (I recommend everyone start there no matter how long they've studied in the past).

He sent me a video last week so that I could coach him. His wife was on the camcorder and his daughter stood on a chair and pushed him in different ways so he could demonstrate the ground path.

I was impressed. His ground path was solid. He had never seen this concept before, although he has studied other martial arts and has army training. It was clear that he had learned it well.

In his next coaching session, he'll send me a video of silk-reeling so I can coach him on his whole-body movement, dan t'ien rotation, use of the kua, and spiraling movement.

Some people believe you can't learn the internal arts online. I'll be the first to admit that hands-on correction is the ideal situation, but let's face it -- most tai chi students around the world are being taught the wrong things. They aren't being taught the actual physical skills they need. So all the in-person teaching that they're getting is leading them down the wrong path anyway. Hsing-I and Bagua students aren't doing much better. They need someone to tell them the things their teachers aren't sharing.

One kung-fu black belt who owns a school joined the online school recently to supplement his own knowledge. He joined after signing up for the free 10-part course that I offer on body mechanics. He called me on the phone and told me that while looking at the videos in that free 10-part course, he wondered, "Why hasn't anyone ever shown me this before now?" His teacher is a well-known grandmaster and yet he hadn't been shown some basic body mechanics.

When I moved to Tampa, Chris Miller was a student here in the Quad Cities, and he posted occasional videos on YouTube for me to watch privately so I could coach him. I shot a video reply after seeing him do the Chen 38 on video, and I demonstrated some of the things he needed to work on. He worked on it, and before long, he sent me a video showing that his body mechanics had improved. It was a wonderful thing to see.

Across the world, students are earning college degrees through online learning. You can also learn the internal arts online. It requires some personal coaching, either in person or through video, but if you have a half-way decent body awareness you can do it. I encourage you to sign up for two free weeks in the online school and if you don't think it's going to work for you, just send me an email to cancel before the end of two weeks so you won't be billed the low monthly fee (to be honest, if someone forgets to cancel but lets me know, I refund the money anyway although this has only happened once in the past 13 months). You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.


A New Kungfu4u website

My first website was www.kungfu4u.com. I started it around 1998, to support my teaching and sell videos and DVDs.

I had to change it because my host was doing away with Frontpage extentions, so I switched it to Dreamweaver and trimmed it way down.

It's now primarily a place to showcase DVDs and refer people on to the online internal arts schooland this blog.

Check it out. It's a work in progress. Eventually, most of my online presence will be here on the blog and at the online school.


Follow Me on Twitter for Internal Arts Information

Twitter can actually be helpful if used properly. Unfortunately, too many people use it for brainless self-promotion ("I'm going to bed now. Goodnight.") and "tweets" that don't add any value to your life.

I believe in using these technologies for information and teaching. I use this blog for that purpose (and of course, it's used to sell DVDs and promote the online school as well) but without decent information that helps people, there would be no reason for anyone to visit this blog.

Twitter is the same, and should be treated as more than just a way to send inane announcements and random thoughts to friends.

If you use Twitter, I urge you to go to http://twitter.com/sifugullette and sign up as a follower to get information, quick links to interesting stories, and tips that might help in your practice, study, and knowledge of the internal arts of kung-fu.