As I mentioned before, I’m a bit of a nerd and have been using computers and IT products for over thirty years now (Remember the Apple II? I do…) Just recently, I bit the bullet and bought a 7-inch Galaxy Tab2 to replace both my paper planner and all the printed-out client files I always had to drag along. Now I have everything in one place, can keep it synchronized on all my devices and can do a whole lot more too. This gave me the idea to write a post on how to use an Android tablet computer for martial arts training and teaching. As you will see, with a little bit of preparation and creative thinking you can make your life a whole lot easier while you improve both your own skills and those of your students.
A couple of things before we get started:
- This guide is not only for practitioners but also for students, teachers and coaches. You can use the information here for your own needs, though you might have to adapt it a little bit so it fits your particular situation.
- If you do buy a tablet, pick the one that is right for you. I’ll give some recommendations here below but do your own research to make sure you’ll be happy with your purchase. Everybody is different and needs different features, there is no one-size fits all approach.
- If you buy a tablet without a camera then certain things I write here won’t work for you. Today though, there really is no reason anymore to buy one without a camera, so make sure your tablet has one.
- To a degree, this information also applies to Android phones. However, the size factor does make a difference: showing something on a 7-inch screen instead of a 4-inch one makes it a lot easier to show things to others. Handwritten notes or drawings are also not very practical on a cellphone. And so on. But feel free to give it a try on your phone and if it works for you, then that’s great.
- Input takes some getting used to. I use a 7-inch tablet and found that the best way to type is to hold it vertically. Then the on-screen keyboard has the best compromise between lay-out and button size for my fingers. Landscape mode didn’t work for me. For you, it may be different so go out and test a few tablets in stores before buying one. Also, don’t forget that there are multiple input methods: different kinds of on-screen keyboards, with or without predictive text, speech-to-note, etc. If one doesn’t please you, another probably will.
- Consider using a stylus. Especially if you are training hard, your fine motor control will go down, making it harder to use a touchscreen. In that case, a stylus could be the answer for you, especially when you want to draw on your tablet.
These are some practical considerations to consider before you decide to get a tablet. Of course, the crucial factor will be your budget. How much money you can (or are willing to) spend on non-essential gizmos plays an important role in just how much satisfaction you’ll get out of it. Spend too little and you buy crap that doesn’t work well or breaks down. Spend too much and you’ll piss off your significant other or end up disappointed that there isn’t more whiz)bang to the thing for all that money. My view is that you should spend the most money you can reasonably afford to come as close as possible to your ideal tablet. In my experience, that always leaves me at the very least happy with the amount of money I spent even if the product ends up being less amazing than I thought. But again, to each his own so consider this aspect carefully too.
All that out of the way, let’s take a look at how you can use a tablet for your martial arts needs. [Read more…]