I'm a newbie, and YouTube has been a great help to me. Newbies can benefit in many ways, without swallowing everything we see hook, line, and sinker. Here's what I've done:
- Learn who respected sensei are, and watch videos of them.
- Look for contributors who consistently post things that agree with what you hear and see at your own dojo, and pay attention to their videos.
- Read the comments (a lot of which are just stupid) for those nuggets of information, questions, or feedback that actually make sense.
- Form questions/hypotheses about what you see on YouTube (like "Hmmm... I never noticed sensei's feet moving that way"), and then watch at your own dojo to see how it's really done.
- Watch videos of instructors who will be visiting your dojo or doing seminars in your area, to help mentally prepare for their style of speaking or teaching.
- I know newbies can't know which way is right/wrong, but even someone with no Aikido experience at all can see who seems centered, poised, integrated, graceful, balanced, gentle, powerful, etc. A video of Patrick Cassidy Sensei
caught my eye before I had any idea who he was. There's also a guy who goes by the user name LordOsaya who has documented his journey from newbie onward. I couldn't tell you if he's doing everything correctly, but his composure, grace, and posture during tests
are sight to behold (and the music he chooses is brilliant). Pay attention to those people, and watch the others (forceful, rough, sloppy, etc.) with an eye toward "how not to do it."
- Create playlists for Techniques, Ukemi, My Dojo, Guest Instructors, or whatever, do you have a collection of good videos to refer to. You can find my playlists here: http://www.youtube.com/user/LindaEskin
- Some of the very basic, slow, "how to" videos, assuming you can see that they are in the same style you are learning, are a great help when you're trying to figure out which foot goes where, and what were your hands supposed to be doing, again?