Welcome to Part 4, the final installment of “Taking MMA to New Heights” series, where we examine the different genres of video content legitimizing the world of mixed martial arts.

Having explored fan created animated parody; promotional press conferences; and expository documentary series, our attention turns towards the most educational aspect of mixed martial arts video content, the tutorial video.

Among the subculture of devout MMA fans, most notably those who practise the sport themselves, tutorials of the various techniques displayed in mixed martial arts helps enthusiasts engage with, and learn from, one another.

A handful of frequent demonstrators have not only used this format to develop an appreciation for the finer nuances of the sport, but to also establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry. These hosts have ranged from technical Brazilian Jiu Jitsu experts Rener and Ryron Gracie, to comedic sensationalist kickboxer and former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten.

By releasing episodes of free and insightful content, these providers are engaging a prominent section of the MMA audience. Through this sampling process, the likes of the Gracies and Rutten are converting these leads into subscribers to paid, more comprehensive, services including the Gracie Academy and Bas Rutten’s Big DVD of Combat to earn a modest subsidiary income.

These affable services, which ultimately serve the MMA community, also have greater residual benefits for the sport itself. By encouraging direct participation and a selfless outlook, these videos allow their viewers to become educated, sustainable ambassadors for the sport who can explain its positive qualities in depth to uninformed friends and family.

A large part of the success behind these tutorial videos is how effectively they complement the digital medium they exist in.

Offering flexibility around the viewer

Contrary to a live seminar, there is greater flexibility to a tutorial video. Using the abilities to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind the material, aspiring learners can review the material at their own pace and around the rigorous demands of their daily schedule. Users can embrace the material without the fear of falling behind in a group session, relaying a difficult technique time and time again until it is fully understood.

Similarly, users can continue to learn about the nuances of each technique in settings outside the gym where it may not be socially acceptable to roll around on the floor, like on the commute to work or during a lunch break. While there is no substitute for active participation, the flexibility of online tutorials makes them a perfect supplement to the regular practice of mixed martial artists at any skill level.

Profiling the tutor through communication

Contrary to an eBook, the online tutorial video lets tutors to embrace their personality and cadence as part of the educational process; elements that are lost when the message is converted to text or paper. The comedic timing of Bas Rutten and the genuine enthusiasm of Renner Gracie are qualities that make their videos so endearing. These tutors help lower the viewer’s guard (pun not intended) while combining a personable approach with direct, focused message.

Through the ability to see the tutor’s mannerisms, actions, or facial expressions as part of real-time video, they stimulate emotional engagement in the viewer, inspiring or relaxing them to facilitate the learning process. Additional production effects including music and graphics can also improve these videos without compromising the video’s key messages.

These effects, and video in general, are also integral to holding the attention of a viewer in a technological climate that provides an unlimited number of alternative viewing choices at the touch of a button. Contrary to a basic book or picture format, the video tutorial creates a stronger feeling of communication between tutor and viewer that adds clarity to complex techniques while also appealing to the human need for social interaction.

For social introverts who fear the prospect of having their lack of experience exposed in a class environment, the video tutorial also offers a bridge between the home sphere and the gym setting that empowers the viewer with both confidence and humility; elements that arguably form the base of every accomplished martial artist. As someone who gradually migrated to the class setting, I can personally support this benefit.

These advantages are not only applicable to the sport of MMA but also the wider aspects of a viewer’s life, offering a therapeutic antidote to loneliness, stress and low confidence. The parallel between martial arts and the online tutorial as means of strengthening and improving a user’s psychological health reinforces the success that the video tutorial enjoys in the subculture of MMA. This is especially true when compared to less dynamic and visual methods of learning like reading text.

Creating brand identity through sustainable means

If we adjust the lens on instructional video tutorial to consider its marketing value as online content, its benefits only grow in number. When a tutor commits to providing consistent content, the initial purchase of a high quality camera and video editing software can prove to be a minimal investment against the potential returns on offer.

The ease of creating and uploading content to social media channels enables the tutors to regularly release and promote material that positively impacts the viewers while allowing the instructor to develop their brand. When the focus of a video lies on the movements and messages of the tutor, the process of recording, editing, and uploading a video online is a time-friendly one that can literally take minutes to achieve.

Through the ability of viewers to also share this material across the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Google+, free tutorials become a sustainable means of promoting a tutor’s paid services, such as live seminars or online classes, in a climate where popular endorsement and reviews are the biggest needle movers among potential subscribers who are spoiled by the mass of free content available online.

Conclusion

Among the various forms of MMA themed media content we have explored in this four-part series the online tutorial is perhaps the best example of the positive values MMA can profess in the digital sphere.

Online, action-led, video tutorials and the success they enjoy are a testament to mixed martial arts’ global identity, helping isolated MMA fans across the farthest corners of the globe interact with and learn from the most affable, knowledgeable experts in the sport. As long as free, online tutorials are released to attract new learners of MMA’s various disciplines, the sport’s health as credible entertainment and physical activity remains in good hands.

About The Author

Aidan O'Connor
Staff Writer

A native of Maidstone, England, Aidan has been covering MMA in a news or feature capacity since 2010. In addition to writing for The MMA Corner, Aidan also runs the MMAmusing Twitter account and enjoys the sport as an avid enthusiast. A graduate in English and American Studies, he currently works in marketing and public relations.