I get quite a few e-mails asking if I teach private lessons in addition to group classes. The answer is yes, but I prefer group classes, especially for students new to Counterpoint Tactical System. As a club leader, I offer both private and group classes. But for new students, I encourage the regular sessions with the group. It’s understandable why someone would want private lessons, though. Each option has both strengths and weaknesses. Read through these quick descriptions, and then set up the session that is best for you.
Group classes are the default option for martial arts lessons. The student is part of a group that has something for every skill level. Different body types, different experience and skill levels, as well as different thought processes are all available in group classes. By working with others, a student’s skills become generally applicable instead of tailored towards one training partner. Often, someone will ask a question that others wouldn’t think of or aren’t comfortable asking. The pace of group classes follow the majority’s progress. If the majority is struggling with a portion, then that portion will continue to be worked. But if only one or two people are struggling, the instructor may move on to the next part of the lesson. In my opinion, group classes are more important and more beneficial for students. These sessions are where real growth happens.
Private lessons are one-on-one with an individual student. Whereas the group class provides a generic instruction, the private lesson is tailored to the individual student. The pacing of the class will depend on how well the student is progressing. One private lesson can cover a large group of skills, but they tend to focus more on correcting mistakes. By having all the focus on the student, the private session is most useful for diving deep into study. It’s a chance to look at every piece of the mechanic. The big problem with private lessons is the difficulty of demonstrating. It’s hard to see what is happening when it is being done to you, and the more complicated the skill/technique/drill being taught, the harder it is to pick up. When the student can watch from the outside, more details and nuances can be picked up. This difficulty lessens but does not disappear as skill and experience increase. Private lessons are most helpful as supplements to the group classes.
Ultimately, the student decides which path is more palatable, and I will work with you to accomplish your goals. In my opinion, the best and most efficient path to acquiring the skills you want is a base of group classes with private lessons. There are, of course, reasons why someone would need private lessons, and the potential student should make that known when seeking after private instruction only. While martial arts is an individual journey, the school and the teammates are what make the journey fun. It’s easier to get to your goals when there is support along the way. The other students become your best motivation to improve, and they become your best supporters towards your goals as well. This valuable benefit is often overlooked, but it cannot be stated enough that a good team is a valuable part of getting the skills you want. So find a class, learn some skills, and then decide if private lessons are for you.