I am a believer in group classes. Being able to train with other people gives us a support system and gives us a chance to socialize while we train. We can learn from each other, watch each other complete techniques and ask the higher belts questions. The one limit is that the instructor is not able to focus on just you. They can’t observe all of your moves and make corrections on the little things.
One of my teachers says that anyone can teach techniques but only experienced teachers can teach you the techniques in between the techniques. There are nuances in chambers, stances, holds and strikes that can’t be critiqued by a teacher trying to accommodate a full class of students. In class you can learn the techniques, but you need one on one training to learn the technique between the techniques. I am sure you have experienced this in class. You will be doing a technique and the teacher or assistant instructor will come over and stop you then instruct you one on one. The instructor shows you all the intricacies of the move and you learn the whole technique. This is very helpful, but you can’t rely on the teacher being able to spend time with you each class.
The private lesson allows you to have the full attention of your instructor for the entire class. I know people who have not taken a private lesson for their entire martial arts career and they are good martial artists. However, I have taken many private lessons and I feel that I have a leg up on many of my peers because I have a deeper understanding of my techniques. We see personal trainers for fitness and trainers for boxers but many of us shy away from one-on-one training in martial arts. People see the value in having someone train them one on one in fitness but not in martial arts even though it is more complex than general fitness.
Whether you are studying kata, individual techniques or sparring drills, having a one on one lesson with your instructor will help you get a leg up on your techniques. The teacher can look at each piece of your technique and as you get more advanced they can teach you things that they don’t feel comfortable teaching the whole class. Along with learning you will build a stronger relationship with your teacher. Having a good relationship with your teacher is more than just a social interaction. As you spend more time with your teachers, you will hear stories about their training and other martial arts stories that can be interesting and instructive. If you are lucky enough to attend a school with multiple instructors, you will find that each teacher is different even if they teach the same style. By training with all available instructors you will find yourself becoming a well-rounded practitioner of your style.
I encourage you to explore your style more deeply. A good way to do this is to take one-on one lessons with your instructor. I am confident that you will learn more and gain additional satisfaction from your training.