As a graduate of a M.Ed. program completely offered by distance I must first disclose that I am a big supporter and proponent of distance education and particularly E-learning. In fact, I even wrote a paper on how to teach karate using E-learning tools. Having said that, I must draw the line when it comes to long-term karate training.
Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in using all available tools for the teaching, learning, studying, and practicing karate. There are a multitude of videos, articles, books, and other resources available in a multitude of formats – not to mention an assortment of apps and other I-devices. In fact, my personal collection of pedagogical, philosophical, historical, and other martial arts material is quite impressive (even if I do say so myself) but none of this matters without the guidance of a qualified instructor.
the intimate relationship between a student and his or her sensei must be cultivated over years
The term Sensei translates as teacher or instructor and is an honorific title used to acknowledge that this person has expertise and the ability to share it. More significantly, the kanji 先生 used to write the word sensei translate literally as “person who was born before” and suggests that these people are further down the path of life than oneself. As such, they are well positioned to look back along the path and provide guidance and advice to those who follow.
While technical information can be transmitted from teacher to student via non-traditional means such as video, print, or other electronic methods, the intimate relationship between a student and his or her sensei must be cultivated over years.
There are many excellent resources out there. Here is one of my favourites to get you started:
Do your online research, watch some videos, and read a ton of books but make sure to visit the Charles Fink Karate Dojo… in person.