How to Use the iPhone as a Training Tool for Martial Arts
Let’s get something out of the way first. I am not a techie. But I got sick of schlepping my heavy, battery hungry notebook with fiddly dvd’s into martial arts training sessions. Through a bit of trial and error, I have figured out how to use my iPhone as a great learning and teaching tool. If you are teaching something difficult like forms, or are workshopping techniques, like complicated grappling moves, this will come in handy. If I can do this, then you should have no problem with it.
Download the Programs
First, you will need the Firefox browser for Windows or Mac. It is free.
Second, go to http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ and download VLC player (windows or mac). This is a great multi-purpose video player, and the reason we need it—it will play Flash files (or any other format). Adobe Flash is expensive and complicated, but if you are familiar with it, you can skip this step. VLC Player is open source, which means it is free.
Third, go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/handbrake/ and download Handbrake. This excellent program transcodes and converts any video files into mp4 or other formats that can be used on the iPhone. This is also open source, and free.
Fourth, get Download Helper for firefox at http://www.downloadhelper.net/. You will need this to be able to copy and save your downloads. This is also, you guessed it, free.
If you are running mac or windows you will need iTunes, but if you have an iPhone, most likely you already have it.
Play and Convert the Video
Ok, here’s how you do it. Go to YouTube or any other video site, pick a short video, up to about 4-5 minutes, on any technique you want to learn. Start it, and as soon as it’s playing, click the downward pointing arrow next to the little coloured rotating balloons (the Download Helper) and save the file to desktop. It will appear there as a “flv” or flash video file.
If you have Adobe Flash skip the next step.
Right click the file and use the “open with” button but do not pick VLC, use “other”, and then pick VLC from the list. First, make sure you tick the “always open with” and then pick VLC. For some reason, you need to do this to convert it to a VLC file. Unfortunately, you will need to do this every time because it does not seem to do this on a default basis.
Once you see the file in the VLC icon format, open up Handbrake, select the file, open it, hit the “source” button on the top left. Pick mp4 as your format, then hit start. You will see it encoding on the bar at the bottom, it takes no time at all. Once it is converted, Handbrake will inform you by saying “Put down that cocktail…” your Handbrake queue is done! Look on your desktop and you will now see the new mp4 file.
Drop the Video Into iTunes
Open iTunes to the movies section, simply drag the mp4 file there, drop it in, and now you are ready to drag and drop it into your iPhone. This might sound complicated, but trust me, after you’ve done it once or twice, you can do the whole process in less than a minute, not including download time. Small snippets are the best as you don’t want to cycle through a long video to find what you are looking for. If you create a long training video, break it down into small chapters that you can use on the iPhone.
Of course, respect all copyrights, you are only viewing it for personal use. Support the creator of the video by visiting their website. They might have something there that you will find useful, whether it be martial arts training videos, martial arts supplies, or whatever you are interested in. If anyone has any shortcuts or better ways of doing this, please let me know. Have fun and go learn something new!
This is an original article by Sensei Matt Klein.