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 share information about several top options available for learning Taekwondo 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 utilized 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 taekwondo 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 article as a “template” for scrutinizing these types of programs yourself.
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.”
The 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, Nunchaku, and a 12-week fitness boot camp called Combat Strong. GMAU serves thousands of 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 a lead instructor and assistant instructor for the Taekwondo program. Both are 4th Dan (4th degree black belt) instructors. The program provides clearly outlined syllabi for each rank level. The program utilizes pre-recorded lessons and follow along classes to deliver instruction on all techniques, stances, footwork, drills, and poomsae (hyung or forms) required for each rank. These are supplemented with additional fitness or other specific instructional videos found in the student program portal. In addition, live-broadcast classes are offered and other short lessons are regularly added each month and can be accessed anytime by GMAU students.
At each rank level, students are required to complete written or video recorded assignments to check their 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 will re-test (usually only select portions) until they meet the standards to progress to the next belt.
” I absolutely love the Taekwondo course. Adam is a great teacher. I did a little bit of Taekwondo as a kid and I always regretted not sticking with it. I’m 35 and doing axe kicks, tornado kicks, hook kicks. It feels awesome! It also improves your flexibility a lot and improves your core and leg strength, which have always been weak areas for me. On top of that, it’s really convenient to be able to do it at home. It’s hard to pick up a new discipline in public, it’s much easier to practice and be disciplined at home. Great product overall! “GMAU Taekwondo Student Testimonial
The usual program cost for GMAU Taekwondo is $39.95/month. There are biannual or three-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 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 and informational posts available to anyone who can access YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.
GMAU students can communicate directly with their instructor 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). GMAU also has a private Facebook community group where students and instructors can communicate freely. 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, Global Martial Arts Association, also hosts an annual international online tournament that’s open to anyone who registers.
From the TaekwonWoo website:
“Are you training Taekwondo at home and don’t know where to begin? Join us today and get unlimited access to our entire video courses. Anytime… Anywhere. We offer online Taekwondo Home Study Course to complete your home training to all candidates. This is a one of our unique program to help our students one who practice on their own to gain self-confidence, build momentum and consistency on their home training so one can do more effective and focused training than they would on their own and help them to move towards a higher ambition on their training (sic).”
It is unclear how many students TaekwonWoo serves. Belt-rank provision / accreditation / certification is unclear.
How The Program Works
The creator, Master Sung J. Woo earned teaching degree in Taekwondo from Yong-In University in Korea. Master Woo is a certified master instructor through the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters) and has been teaching Taekwondo for over 20 years. He is a “founder and president of Yong-In Martial Arts and established online video training courses at TaekwonWoo.net and has delivered more than 10 million online tutorial views worldwide.” The website says he has been training in Taekwondo for more than 30 years.
Taekwon Woo appears to have one primary Instructor who is a Kukkiwon certified Master Level Instructor. The program provides a student-training guide for each rank level. There are separate portals for belt courses, poomsae courses, and Olympic sparring instruction. The belt portal has lessons organized by belt level as individual “courses”. The poomsae portal contains hyung (individual kata) grouped into 3 separate Poomsae (group of hyung): Taegeuk, Palwe, Black Belt. The program utilizes pre-recorded lessons (how many is unclear) where the primary Sensei or his assistant demonstrate techniques or kata. The Olympic Sparring 101 portal contains 10 “chapters” of instruction, each of which contain shorter lessons. Chapter lengths range from 9 minutes 47 seconds to 39 minutes 2 seconds (total instructional time across all 10 chapters is ~4 hours).
Master Woo appears to be the sole instructor for all programs and it appears that he has some assistance by other black belts. Taekwon Woo does not have blog posts or live classes through YouTube, Zoom or other platforms. There is no information regarding how students are evaluated or pass rates. There are no student testimonials to be found.
TaekwonWoo has two membership options. The “Individual Lifetime Plus” option costs $399. The “Family Lifetime Plus” option costs $599. Both lifetime memberships are one-time payments that provide unrestricted access to all training courses (white to black belt), Olympic sparring courses, poomsae instruction, as well as training manuals for each belt level. The family package would certainly be cost-effective for more than one student. Individuals can also sign up for pre-recorded Olympic Sparring instruction via the “Olympic Style TKD Sparring 101 Course“, which costs $99 for around 4 hours of instruction. It is not clear if there are any additional charges that would be incurred by students.
There does not seem to be a trial course, but you can check out the instructor and get a feel for Taekwon Woo content through its YouTube page. There are no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts for Taekwon Woo.
It is not apparent if students have a direct messaging feature within the program. The only way to contact the company is through an email address, which can be found on the “Contact Us” link from the homepage.
From the Cyber Taekwondo website:
“Cyber Taekwondo is the world’s #1 online martial arts training program. Students begin their training in a program of their choosing, mastering new skills each week until they have learned all the material required to graduate from their program. Along the way, students are required to submit video assignments to instructors for feedback, pass live video belt testings, and will also have the option to interact with Cyber Taekwondo students around the world through Cyber Social.”
It is unclear how many students Cyber Taekwondo serves. Cyber Taekwondo black-belt ranking is recognized by the Kukkiwon.
How The Program Works
Cyber Taekwondo allows for a free 7-day membership that allows potential students to try out the program. After that time, potential students decide whether or not they want to continue.
Cyber Taekwondo uses a lesson-based learning system where each lesson is broken down into dynamic warm up, belt-level curriculum, exercises to improve fitness and stretching. Once students complete all lessons for a belt level, after the rank-specific mandatory training time passes and after they do a mock testing session, they receive communication from Cyber Taekwondo to schedule a test. Students then test once they feel ready. Although students submit recorded assignments for feedback along the way, all rank testing is done live. Students submit recorded videos (upon completion of learning modules and after the individual feels comfortable testing) to their instructor to test for the next belt rank. There is no information regarding how students are specifically evaluated or pass rates. For additional FAQs see this link.
” Cyber Taekwondo has been one of the most innovative and convenient programs I have ever participated in, because I can finally learn martial arts from a professional at home. Master Huskey does a great job giving me the tips and lessons I need to progress my skills in Taekwondo after grading my videos, and he responds to my emails fairly quickly in case I have questions or if I’m needing help. I can’t think of a better program for teaching Taekwondo online than Cyber Taekwondo. ”Cyber Taekwondo Student Testimonial
Like TaekwonWoo, Cyber Taekwondo offers both individual and family pricing packages. However, Cyber Taekwondo has more options based on how many features a student or group desires. Individual packages range from $27.99 to $79.99 per month. Group or Family packages range from $79.99 to $199.99 per month. As mentioned above, there is a 7-day trial for potential students.
Cyber Taekwondo has a “Cyber Social” feature where students have individual accounts/personal profiles where they can request and accept friends, start discussion boards, etc. Cyber Taekwondo has YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
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 this, some of these things may or may not matter to you. For example, you may want to train and advance and have your rank recognized and accredited. Or you might want to use an online-training platform to get through times when you’re traveling, under pandemic restrictions, or just for extra practice on your own. Therefore, rank accreditation may not matter to you.
Ultimately, you need to decide WHY you are looking for an online-training option and WHAT you want to get out of the experience. To me, these are the two biggest questions to ask yourself.
Cost is a common consideration (by most of us) when comparing such choices. 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 Taekwondo from home” internet programs. I 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!