We live in a time when you can acquire knowledge and develop skills in a wide-range of areas through virtual learning. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many gyms and martial arts schools have limited capacity, significantly reduced hours of operation, or closed down completely. In recent years, online learning and workout options for conditioning and training in martial arts from home have gained in popularity. These resources are not only useful during this time of social distancing, but also viable options for long-term training. In this article, I will share information about several top options available for learning karate over the internet.
So, How Do You Decide On A “Learn From Home” Program?
There are a number of important things to consider when looking at options for training in the martial arts from home. Having used several programs like this myself, I have a good sense about what is important to make suggestions for others to consider. In writing this post, I focused on factual information about the programs I examined, not my personal opinion of them. It is my hope that this blog post will raise awareness about several top options for learning karate at home. Even if you are not considering one of these, a close examination of the important features to consider when you find other options. In other words, think of this blog a s a “template” for scrutinizing these types of programs yourself.
GMAU Krav Maga
From the GMAU website: “At the Global Martial Arts University (GMAU), we believe everyone should have access to the training they need to protect and better themselves. That’s why we built a better, proven way to learn martial arts. Your choice of style in the convenience of your home, across your devices. Achieve real rank at your own pace with one-on-one instructor feedback. All at the fraction of the cost of practicing at a traditional studio. GMAU started as a DVD-based learn from home martial arts program and is now a global leader in online martial arts instruction.”
The company offers training in: Shotokan Karate, Taekwondo, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Bojutsu, Nuchaku, and a 12-Week fitness boot camp called Combat Strong. GMAU serves thousands students across its programs, from more than 50 different countries. GMAU Shotokan Karate belt ranks are accredited and certified by the Global Martial Arts Association.
How The Program Works
GMAU has multiple instructors for the Krav Maga program; a head instructor and 2 assistants. The head/supervising instructor holds a 3rd Dan black-belt rank. The program provides clearly outlined syllabi for each rank level. The program utilizes pre-recorded lessons and follow along classes. These are supplemented with additional fitness or technique-specific instructional videos found in the student program portal. In addition, YouTube Live classes are offered and other short lessons are regularly added each month and can be accessed anytime by GMAU students and the general public. At each rank level, students are required to complete written or video recorded assignments to check progress. After completing the number of required practice hours (varies by rank) students can submit recorded videos to their instructor to test for the next belt rank. Instructors evaluate test submissions and provide detailed feedback to students by video. Students can re-test (usually only select portions), if needed, until they meet the standards to progress to the next belt. Interested individuals can set up a free Beginner’s Account to get a feel for the program’s interface and learning/testing components.
” I have really enjoyed learning about Krav Maga. It is an art that fits my self defense needs and has helped to keep me fitter than I would otherwise be, especially during the limitations caused by the COVID pandemic. I luckily have a partner and circumstances that I can train with privately and continue to develop skills and ability with. I live in a small town where there are no brick and mortar martial arts schools of any sort, so GMAU’s distance learning format and ever expanding library of videos and resources make me confident that I will be learning new things and training for years to come! I recognize and appreciate GMAU’s drive and interest in expanding and developing the program and resources. The emphasis on developing the training material and interaction between students and instructors through media like Zoom is also something I think will become more and more important. Thanks for all you do! “GMAU Krav Maga Student Testimonial
The usual program cost for GMAU Krav Maga is $39.95/month. There are also biannual and 3-installment options that reduce the overall cost of the program. There are additional, one-time, assignment fees ($15) and rank testing fees ($60) for each rank level. If a student is required to re-submit an assignment or test they are not charged.
The GMAU regularly offers promotional rates for new students and reduced rates for existing students to join additional programs. There is a 60-day money back guarantee. All GMAU programs (except for the Combat Strong , a 12-week fitness boot camp) allow interested individuals to sign up for a “Beginner’s Course”, allowing them to try out most of the introductory level (e.g., white belt) for no cost. In addition, there are many classes and lessons available to anyone who can access YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.
GMAU students can communicate directly with their instructors through the student portal. There is also a message board in the student portal that can be used to interact with other students in a limited way (e.g., comment on another student’s written assignment, congratulate on progress).
The GMAU also has a private Facebook community-group where students and instructors can communicate freely. The GMAU also provides blog posts (like this one) and has a tremendous amount of content freely available to anyone through YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The parent organization, the Global Martial Arts Association, also hosts an annual international online tournament competition open to anyone who registers.
Udemy Krav Maga Course
Udemy offers a variety of short, topical-focused courses on Krav Maga as well as a “complete course”. From the Udemy Complete Course for Krav Maga website: “This course is a Krav Maga course, so by definition you will learn the most efficient self-defense system that there is right now in the world. You will learn all the curriculum of the five first Levels as if you were in a Krav Maga school. In this course you will learn how to Win a street fight quick and efficient and knock out the other guy and protect yourself and your loved ones.”
It’s unclear how many students Udemy Krav Maga Online serves. It certainly ranks highly in Google searches. They provide electronic certificates (hardcopy mailed to the student upon request). The process for belt-rank accreditation/certification is unclear.
How The Program Works
The Udemy Complete Course for Krav Maga has one primary instructor, Mr. Panos Zacharios, who is certified at the Expert 2 level (getting to this level equates to about 7-10 years of consistent training). Mr. Zacharios holds other military-instructor certifications from various Krav Maga organizations and is also certified in kettlebell, Muay Thai, animal movement, and firearms (pistol, rifle, shotgun). He has trained civilians, security guards, army units, and police.
The program provides a student training guide for each rank level (Practitioner 1-5). The program provides pre-recorded lessons, called “lectures” (6-12 lectures per level / 51 lectures total / over 7 total hours of instruction).
” Panos Zacharios is a very detailed instructor. Techniques are broken down and the theory behind them reviled. Panos is the CEO of Krav Maga Guerrilla which is located in Greece, a very impressive and organized school. He also has a expert array of instructors who teach many different self defense skill sets. My wife and I both fully recommend any training you can get from Mr. Zacharios or any of his team. ”Udemy Krav Maga Student Testimonial
There is a one-time $99.99 cost for the course (discounted when 5 or more people sign up as a group), with no other obvious costs. Udemy provides a 30-day money back guarantee. This course does not provide belt ranking; students simply receive a Certificate of Completion.
Academy of Self Defense
From the Academy of Self Defense Vanguard Krav Maga website: “Our Krav Maga schedule is your go-to source for online self defense classes that you can do anywhere. Our Krav Maga online classes are taught by the same experienced professional instructors you’d work with at our gym, but in a medium that lets you join in from your home, at the office, or on vacation. These classes are a safe, effective way to begin or further your self-defense training, get in shape, and find the confidence within yourself to handle whatever situation life throws at you. Our Krav Maga schedule helps you find the right time to fit training into your busy schedule. Online self-defense classes are available to fit the needs of your whole family. Vanguard Kids Krav Maga classes online let kids learn in the comfort of their own home, under the watchful eyes of their parents, while adult Krav Maga, Muay Thai, or one of our other fun fitness classes let adults explore the full range of combative fitness training available to them. Whether you’re new to working out or are an established athlete looking for an at-home program, we have a great fit for you.”
How The Program Works
The physical school is located in the Santa Clara, California Bay Area. It’s unclear how many students are served in their in-person or online programs. The school has 5 “certified” instructors who teach Krav Maga (adults & kids), Muay Thai, and strength/fitness classes.
The Krav Maga Program includes beginner to advanced levels instruction (Levels 1-6: yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, black belt). The program offers 8 Live Krav Maga Classes each week (days and times are set by the school/instructors) and access to over 500 videos on demand, which include pre-recorded lessons and excerpts from previous classes and seminars.
Regarding testing, the website says: “Men and women of all ages and skill levels are taking the Krav Maga Belt Test. Each belt is a progression of techniques, training methods, equipment, and application scenarios.”
Testing is done via Zoom and the Academy of Self Defense (ASD) has predetermined dates (always on a Saturday) every 3 months (at the end of March, June, September and in mid-December). Belt testing costs range from $20 – $45 per test. There is no information provided about how students are evaluated or pass rates.
” ASD is the REAL DEAL with REAL coaches who sincerely care about your success in reaching your goals, whatever they are! This place is not snooty, it is welcoming to everyone. Even in Covid, I’ve been lucky enough to do BootCamp, ASD Fighter Fit, and Krav Maga via Zoom!!! Omg! How awesome is that!!??? James and Jivoni are both killer coaches- I take JCF BootCamp with both of them, and can’t say enough positive things about it, my fitness, my gains, my energy level. I highly recommend it. Ev, Shayne, Amit, everyone- I love you all so much! Thank you for taking me in when I didn’t even know how to punch (with a weak back, worried about hurting myself) and making me into a strong woman who can kick ass, take names, and defend herself from many things – I really enjoy taking the knife and gun defense classes. ”Academy Self Defense Student Testimonial
The Academy of Self Defense Krav Maga program costs $39/month. There is a 14-day free trial for all their online courses. Online membership gives students access to all their live online classes, on-demand content from a “class library,” and technique-training videos.
Academy of Self Defense Krav Maga has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. They have a built-in blog on the website. In addition, you can find lots of reviews about instructors and classes on Yelp.
There are other online Krav Maga training options available through the major Krav Maga organizations and international leaders, including: Mastering Krav Maga, Krav Maga Worldwide Academy, and Max Krav Maga. These providers offer excellent Krav Maga instruction by top instructors in the world.
Access to training involves per-month fees and module-specific options for payment. None of these programs offer testing from a distance. If you want to gain rank you have to contact them directly to arrange for in-person testing at a certified school site.
In doing your own research, and choosing the program that is right for you, it is important to consider program features such as cost, requirements for advancement, the quality of instructors and instruction, trialability, and the ability to interact with other students and instructors. Having said that, some of those things may, or may not, matter to you. For example, some may want to train and advance and have their rank recognized and accredited. Others use these platforms to get them through time when they are traveling, under pandemic restrictions, or just for extra practice on their own and therefore rank accreditation may not matter to them. Ultimately, you need to decide WHY you are looking for such an option and WHAT you want to get out of the experience. To me, those are the two biggest questions to ask yourself.
Cost is a common consideration (by most of us) when comparing choices that involve a monetary commitment. Features such as social media presence may or may not matter to you. So now you have the basic information you need to know how to evaluate options like these and I have provided you detail on three top “learn karate from home” internet programs. I do hope you find this blog post educational and helpful and I wish you well as you search for a program that is right for you!