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American Modern Arnis, Inc. Leverages Desktop Video Conferencing to Expand Personal Martial Arts Training Offerings

American Modern Arnis utilizes HearMeĀ®, a division of Paltalk, in order to offer personal training to their clientele.

American Modern Arnis Inc, AMA, (www.americanarnis.com) is a training facility for martial arts, self-defense, and professional protection services. The company has more than 15 years of experience in the industry and AMA president and founder, Tom Bolden, has been teaching martial arts for the past 45 year.

In 2000, AMA put in a concerted effort to extend its potential student base of trainees. AMA realized that, to do this, its trainers needed to be able to reach a larger pool of clients, yet still maintain the level of service they provided. Bolden's 30 years as an engineer at IBM gave him the insight to look to the Internet for the solution. He set out to find a desktop video conferencing solution that would allow the company to have a presence in more locations and easily connect with trainees remotely.

Because the training AMA offers is highly visual, it had a very specific set of requirements for a solution:

  • Video: Martial arts, self-defense and professional protection cannot be taught without a visual component. Similarly, the trainer must be able to monitor his students and provide them with feedback.
  • Video Quality: A trainee living a long distance from AMA may never physically meet their instructor in person. In order to effectively show martial arts moves and demonstrations, Bolden sought out a site with the video quality and frame-rate to keep up with his training.
  • Ease of Use: Because trainees can have varying levels of computer skills, the solution chosen had to be simple enough for anyone to utilize it. Additionally, the desktop video conferencing tool had to be simple for trainees to set up and log into.
  • Cost Effectiveness: As a small business, AMA needed a solution that fit its budget, yet still offered all of the advanced functionality of a higher-end system.

AMA found that HearMe met all of its needs, including offering a cost effective solution that allowed trainers to see their students, regardless of geographic location, extending the AMA's potential student base. HearMe also provided the real-time motion that the company desired, allowing trainees to see exact movements and helping trainers make corrections, while also validating that their students were executing moves properly.

HearMe features that were particularly useful for AMA include:

  • Video: It allows meeting participants to be seen and heard simultaneously.
  • ActiveX download: There is no software or client for users to install and it can be offered on the AMA website.
  • Interface: The HearMe user interface is intuitive and easy to use at any level of computer skill.
  • Price points:
    • 5 person room - $29 per month
    • 10 person room - $49 per month
    • 25 person room - $99 per month
    • 50 person room - $149 per month
    • 100 person room - $299 per month
    • 150 person room - $449 per month

"We knew that this was a lofty venture when we began searching for video conferencing solutions," said Bolden. "To successfully train people in the type of protection and combat we teach, the solution had to be as close to real-life as possible. We were automatically impressed with what HearMe offered in terms of functionality."

"The other component of HearMe's offering that we found very compelling was the way in which they handled customer service," continued Bolden. "Since we were a part of their beta testing, their developers have even worked with us to add some services that we specifically asked for."

To date, AMA has used HearMe in 1000's of training sessions building their total base of students to more than 8,000. Average seminars range from 10-15 people per opportunity.

"By working with HearMe, we've been able to train students in cities that we were never able to be in previously because they aren't expected to physically come to us," said Bolden, "The feedback from our students has been terrific, in that they are able to learn the martial arts they need without having to leave their homes."

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