For a novice wanting to learn martial arts, finding instruction is relatively easy. There are at least a few dozen schools to choose from in every major city, but what about the more advanced students or their teachers? It’s not always easy to find skilled teachers after reaching a certain level, as many of the teachers may live in distant cities.
Some may choose to attend distant seminars given by renowned masters, which implies transportation costs, lodging costs and perhaps some time off of work on top of the seminar fees. It may seem like a lot of money, but for some - especially those living in secluded areas - it may be their only access to more advanced teachers.
To solve the problem of distance, Shihan Koss Yokota came up with an innovative way to reach distant practitioners. The virtual Dojo, or in other words, live long distance private classes!
Who can benefit the most from Shihan Yokota’s private online classes?
1- People who want to learn or perfect Tetsuhiko Asai sensei’s forms.
Created to supplement traditional Shotokan karate, Asai sensei’s katas are designed to help the advanced practitioner better understand the essence of Karate. Knowledge of the katas are not as widespread as the Shotokan counterparts, thus finding a good teacher to learn the katas from difficult.
2- People who are preparing for a belt examination?
A dan examination is a big investment for those who need to travel great distances for their examination. With Shihan Yokota’s extensive knowledge and experience, he would make the perfect tutor for those who want to fine tune techniques before going through the examination process.
3- People who want to perfect their Shotokan skills with the supervision of Shihan Yokota.
How do the online Karate classes work?
Using a live communication application like skype, Shihan Yokota and the student establish a video conference connection. From there, Shihan Yokota is able to give tips, instructions and even demonstration to help the student learn. As the student executes movements, Shihan Yokota corrects posture and other minor flaws from what he sees through the video.
To make sure the student learns correctly and to follow up on its improvement, Shihan Yokota provides instruction divided into several classes of one hour.
At the minimum, the student should have the following
- High speed Internet connection
- Computer with webcam and microphone
- Enough physical space to move
To get the best out of the classes, the student may want to better prepare his environment. For example, he could connect the video feed to a television screen, allowing him to better see Shihan Yokota.
It is also beneficial to be more visible to the instructor, thus it is recommended to be in a room large enough so that the webcam can capture the entire body of the student on screen. The more the teacher can see, the more he can correct, if necessary.
Shihan Yokota usually provides videos or information pertinent to the next training session so it is advised to get acquainted with the training material before hand. As an hour can pass by really fast, preparation will make minimize the time spent with Shihan Yokota will be focused on aspects that you cannot otherwise work by yourself.
Having tried Shihan Yokota’s online class, I can honestly say that it was of great value. During that time, I was taught the Junro katas, which were unavailable to me unless I flew a few hours to Shihan Yokota’s location. Prior to teaching me the kata, Shihan Yokota took the time to explain to me the ethos of the Junro katas as well as its distinctive characteristics.
Although lacking the human connection that would have occurred if we were physically in the same room, it was very well offset by the fact that for an hour, Shihan Yokota’s attention was entirely dedicated to me. As such, he was able to correct minor faults and bad habit that went unnoticed in a habitual dojo setting. Also, he was very open minded to any question I had, which also helped deepen my understanding of Karate in general.
To learn more about Shihan Yokota's classes
Reading that may interest you
Debunking Shotokan Karate's Myths: Interview with Koss Yokota
Is Shotokan lacking circular techniques?: An article by Koss Yokota
The virtues of traditional Karate vs. sport Karate: Interview with Jan Knobel