I was on the lookout for an MMA instructor who could teach me the art of badassery. My search was cut short when a friend claimed he found the perfect match—a man deemed as an almighty and powerful mixed martial arts master up there in the ranks with the legendary Helio Gracie and known to catch a fly or two with a pair of chopsticks. My buddy was quite the embellisher.
I remember meeting my future master in the driveway of his tiny suburban home.
Master was a large man, just over six feet tall and in his early fifties, dawned a light gray sweat suit with a sneak peek of a hairy belly hanging a few inches below his waistline. Far from the Chuck Norris athletic build I was expecting. His sweatpants had a few dark stains on them—probably blood from kicking so much ass.
We exchanged greetings with a firm handshake combined with an intense stare and entered his garage dojo. The intensity waned just a bit as Master’s wife shouted from the kitchen window, “Would you boys like some lemonade?” “No thanks dear,” Master sternly replied.
This is a karate dojo, not a knitting class
The training area wasn’t too shabby for a two car garage: mirrors all around, two punching bags, mats, weights, a couple of dusty karate trophies from God knows when, an Enter the Dragon Bruce Lee poster, weapons galore and what looked to be two Hattori Hanzo swords anchored to the drywall.
Just off the training area rested an old 15-inch television/VCR combo unit atop of two blue milk crates. Little did I know that this tiny TV would serve as the nucleus to all that which made Master all-knowing and powerful. Take away the television, and Master is rendered powerless—much like stripping Thor of his magical hammer.
Master instructed us to sit Indian style around the miniature television as he whipped out a box of VHS tapes. We watched a self-defense video taken from the 70s that showed how to defend off an attacker with a knife. Master would point to the screen at critical moments in the video and we would then drill the move. Once the move was done, we watched more videos and drilled more moves.
I was dumbfounded.
I continued this nonsense for an entire summer. I wanted to smash my foot right through the screen of the tiny television set.
The streak of bad teachers continues
Shortly after the conclusion of my VHS video MMA tutorial lessons, I encountered another similar experience while attending a Photoshop course at a local college.
I was flabbergasted when the majority of the course was spent following online Photoshop tutorials from Lynda.com. I said to the student next to me, “Really? Is this instructor seriously just going to hit autopilot and show us online tutorials from Lynda.com for three hours straight and call it a day?” My tuition could have been applied toward a year’s worth of unlimited classes in any subject taken at Lynda.com.
While I’m not against a professor offering additional educational resources to supplement my studies; the bulk of the course should never be spent pulling content from another online learning platform. I’m in the classroom to learn from an actual professor and not from tutorials I could have completed on my own.
The changing of the guard for traditional education
The world of education is drastically changing. It’s important to understand that there are now an abundance of online learning resources available to you such as Lynda.com, Skillshare, Coursera, and Udemy. You are certain to find credible instructors that are far from the “Master” type.
Before plunking down thousands of dollars on a college course, take the time to research and see if you would be better suited taking an online course, attending a seminar, or hitting the library to assemble a list of brilliant books that will allow you to craft your own, self-made educational curriculum.
You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library. -Will, Good Will Hunting
It may take a bit of experimentation to find the right learning platform that is right for you. The beauty of experimenting with online learning platforms is that it’s relatively cheap to test drive classes. Online learning platforms like Skillshare give you unlimited classes to choose from for as little as $8.25 a month. Skillshare is now offering two months free to loyal readers of Brain Rewired. Sign up today and begin tickling your intellect.