There are some things you can do on your own. For instance, most of my academic knowledge of MA is by actually researching things and reading whatever I can get my hands on. As far as learning techniques there is no substitute for a living breathing instructor that can teach the finer points. Also you can not learn to fight without actually fighting. Every MAist needs to test their theoretic principles from time to time. Kata is usefull if you know what you're doing. Good exercise too.