Getting the most out of seminars

Rob Broad

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Martial Arts seminars are becoming more popular as time goes on. Seminars are a welcome supplimet to any student's training. But they should never be treated as the only source for new knowledge.

Here are a few tips to help you getthe most out of the next seminar you attend.

DO - Ask the instructor as many questions as necessary. You only have so much time with this person so you should get as much from it as possible. You may never see them again.

DO - Be aware that there a lot of people of questionable background giving seminars. Just because the person is known does not mean they are competent or qualified to give a seminar.

DO - Bring necessary materials. if oyu are going to a seminar in Filipino martial arts for example, bring some sticks, a knife, some shoes and clothing you can move comfortably in.

DO - (as a sponsor) Take advantage of free advertising opportuinities. Most major martial arts publications have listsing of upcoming events, and will be happy to run your announcement free of charge, as long as you getthe listing in 3 months in advance. I amazed at how few promoters are aware of this.

DO - (as a sponsor) Be prepared to entertain a large number of people. Have refreshments. Have some extra pens and paper available for people who forgot their own. You may also want to get a small supply of what ever materials may be needed for the seminar incase some people do not own what is needed yet. Try to get any supplies you need on consignment.

DON'T - Be shy or embarassed or in awe of the seminar instructor. Most people on the circuit are down to earth and not to be considered celebrities.

DON'T - Be intimidated by the seminar instructor or other participants. It's your money, you have as much right to be the instructor's time as anyone else.

DON'T - Be afraid to ask questions about anything, even if you think it may sound dumb. Asking questions is better than learning incorrectly.

DON'T - Ever be lured into an instructorship seminar. It is just a way of parting you from your money.

DON'T - (as a sponsor) Flood the area with too many events too soon. If you are continually bringing in people to give seminars, you will end up short very quickly. People only have so much money for their martial arts and too many events will frustrate them very quickly, when they end up missing the instructor they wanted to see the most.
 

Mark Lynn

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I would add to bring a workout partner if possible then that way you have two people to remember what was covered.

I like bringing writing pad and pen to take notes, about what was covered. Also it helps that prior to going to the seminar you have a system of short hand note taking (your own method or system of taking notes).

Bring a camera, or even a video camera to tape after the seminar what you covered.

Mark
 
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Rob Broad

Rob Broad

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Video taping a seminar is always great but it is seemingly harder to do these day. Most instructors teaching seminars do not allow video taping.
 

Mark Lynn

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No I didn't mean to tape the seminar, although that would be great :uhyeah: what I meant was tapping the material covered after the seminar was over for the day.

A seminar partner and I use to tape everything we did after the eveing session was over, we might be in the seminar room (at Remy's camps these were in hotel meeting rooms) till 12:00am in the morning taping what we covered.

He and I took notes during the seminar, after the session was over we would tape and cover his notes and my notes demonstrating the techniques and bringing out anything we wanted to remember that we were shown or what ever. This led to some late nights. However later on when I wanted to expand my seminar notes I'd watch the tapes and input everything on the computer. This way I can teach what I was taught and by whom I was taught the material.

Some of my favorite material that I taped was at the 99/2000 Remy summer and winter camps. I was working with a good instructor and workout partner and we taped some great stuff on arnis in the wee hours of the morning.

Mark
 
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Rob Broad

Rob Broad

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Being so isolated I have been lucky enough to be able to tape a few seminars. I have explained to the instructor teaching thematerial about where I live and the lack of training partners, and present them with ap ge I have stating that if allowed to tape the event the tape will be for my sole use only and no one elses.
 

Kenpo Mama

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The Boar Man said:
No I didn't mean to tape the seminar, although that would be great :uhyeah: what I meant was tapping the material covered after the seminar was over for the day.

A seminar partner and I use to tape everything we did after the eveing session was over, we might be in the seminar room (at Remy's camps these were in hotel meeting rooms) till 12:00am in the morning taping what we covered.

He and I took notes during the seminar, after the session was over we would tape and cover his notes and my notes demonstrating the techniques and bringing out anything we wanted to remember that we were shown or what ever. This led to some late nights. However later on when I wanted to expand my seminar notes I'd watch the tapes and input everything on the computer. This way I can teach what I was taught and by whom I was taught the material.

Some of my favorite material that I taped was at the 99/2000 Remy summer and winter camps. I was working with a good instructor and workout partner and we taped some great stuff on arnis in the wee hours of the morning.

Mark

This is a great idea Boar Man, so many times i take these wonderful shorthand notes, jotting down all the pertinent information covered, only to find after 2-3 days, that i can barely decipher what i wrote. I agree about bringing the training partner, it avoids that whole awkward scenario of working with someone for the first time and trying to muddle through techs on a body you're not used to training on. The videotape idea, i say again is just awesome! Thanks, i'll use that at the next camp.

Donna :asian:
 

Mark Lynn

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Donna

Glad I could be of help.

what I have found the most beneficial and most time consuming is taking the notes and inputting (typing) them into my computer. At first (before computers were available to the vast majority of people I use to hand write the notes and then expand them at work, writing them out in detail.

Early on I got into the habit of committing my time at breaks and lunches at work to write down what I did not only at the seminars but in class as well. This way I could teach my future students better and have a wide body of drills, information, techniques, etc. etc. plus skills to draw from. Now 19 years later I've got a huge body of written material that I'm constantly going through. This in turn helps me to see how the techniques from one art relate to another art and so on and so on. But it also helps me to see what I was doing back then as well, where I was at (mentally) during that part of my training.

However with the computer now I can if I go see an instructor several times and I know they will cover some of the material over and over again I can now cut and paste their drills and keep an accurate record of what was covered and taught. It makes things much quicker, however I still take short hand notes at the seminars. After class I just try and remember what was covered and write it down.

Video taping helps me to remember what I want to put in my notes, or how a particular technique looked since I read from my short hand notes what I'm going to do and then do it. But my notes can always be with me if I'm teaching and I want a quick review of what I want to cover, where the VT isn't.

Another idea which I haven't really explored yet would be to take digital pictures of techniques that were covered at the seminar and then insert them into my notes (stage the photos after the seminar). This is time consuming and yet a picture is worth a thousand words.

Mark
 

Mark Lynn

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Just for clarification

I mention the points about taking notes after classes and seminars and such. Well I use (I've cut down in recent years) to go to a bunch of seminars of a varity of martial arts over the years that were different than the TKD that I was studying at the time. This then led me to try and keep notes so that I could remember what I covered. From my seminar notes I started jotting down what I did at kali class, and then what I did at karate/TKD and Kobudo. It just sort of grew, and grew and grew.

Mark
 

Kenpo Mama

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Thanks again Mark for another great idea, the digital camera is really do-able. Could even snap a few of those during the actual seminar (with the presenter's permission of course - or just with the training partner as you mentioned) A picture is truly worth a thousand words. I love attending seminars and workshops and keeping a detailed journal like this would really help in presenting this information to others.

I used to keep notes on the drills that we did in our classes, but then got out of the habit. Now that i have moved to a new school (same art), i am keeping a separate notebook of all the "differences" in the performance of techs and forms and this has become a very valuable tool for me.

Thanks again,

Donna :asian:
 

terryl965

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When I go I will ask the person putting on the seminar if he would mind me using my cassette recorder as if I was back in college this help,like with the noted except you do not have to wright. Then you can play it back time after time to make sure you got the right answer to those question and the right feedback from the group. GOD BLESS AMERICA
 

Mark Lynn

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terryl965 said:
When I go I will ask the person putting on the seminar if he would mind me using my cassette recorder as if I was back in college this help,like with the noted except you do not have to wright. Then you can play it back time after time to make sure you got the right answer to those question and the right feedback from the group. GOD BLESS AMERICA

The reason I write notes is to describe the drill(s), and it's silent and not really a distraction to others (if I use the tape recorder to records the drill as it is being shown).

Mark
 

Mark Lynn

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Kenpo Mama said:
Thanks again Mark for another great idea, the digital camera is really do-able. Could even snap a few of those during the actual seminar (with the presenter's permission of course - or just with the training partner as you mentioned) A picture is truly worth a thousand words. I love attending seminars and workshops and keeping a detailed journal like this would really help in presenting this information to others.

I used to keep notes on the drills that we did in our classes, but then got out of the habit. Now that i have moved to a new school (same art), i am keeping a separate notebook of all the "differences" in the performance of techs and forms and this has become a very valuable tool for me.

Thanks again,

Donna :asian:

Donna

Once again glad I could be of help. On the digital camera, depending upon the what your needs are you might want to really check them out 1st.

Here are some draw backs.
1) Way to slow to take pictures of action (such as a drill or a particular technique in motion), I find with mine I have to anticipate the movement and then take the picture hoping to get it right. Completely different than a 35mm film camera.

2) If you want to download into your computer than you need to have a card reader or something.

Positives
1) Small and compact, mine is much smaller than my 35mm SLR camera, and eaiser to use.

2) Some have a movie mode. I have used this to capture a set of techniques such as a technique or drill sequence and then download them in my computer and write my notes from that. The pictures so small while you can tell what is going on you can't really do much else with it, but this is a very vaulable tool. Picture quality here is minimal at best, but it can be helpful.

3) with a big memory card you can take a large body of pictures or little video clips, down load the picutres and wipe the card clean and then shot the family photos. Much cheaper than film in the long run.

Glad to hear you are keeping a journal. To me it is one of the most impotant tools that I have learned. It is also what allows me to feel that the seminar money has been well spent. In that if I don't take notes than I might remember only 5% of what was covered if I'm lucky. By taking notes I probably remember more like 50-60%, on top of this if I then take the notes and comine them with my other notes than I get a clearer pictures how things fit together in the big scheme of things from the different arts/different instructors etc. etc. Also I can use the notes as handouts for my students as well with few modifications.

Mark
 
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Rob Broad

Rob Broad

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I have that hosting a seminar often has many advantages. You usually get some alone time with teh instructor for a private lesson, this means you have their undivided attention to ask any questions you have

Mark

Thanks for contributing to this thread you have been very insightful.
 
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kwanjang

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Rob Broad said:
...
DO - Ask the instructor as many questions as necessary. You only have so much time with this person so you should get as much from it as possible. You may never see them again.

As a frequent presenter, I must tell you that too many questions (multiplied byt he number of participants) will most assuredly mean the presenter can't get the job done. Ask questions AFTER the event, so you won't interfere with the rest of the folks (who also paid).

Rob Broad said:
DO - Be aware that there a lot of people of questionable background giving seminars. Just because the person is known does not mean they are competent or qualified to give a seminar.
Investigate before you pay.

Rob Broad said:
DON'T - Be shy or embarassed or in awe of the seminar instructor. Most people on the circuit are down to earth and not to be considered celebrities.
Right on the target. If this is NOT so, I would consider not going back for more. Big heads have no place in a seminar... it gets in the way of learning:)

Rob Broad said:
DON'T - Be intimidated by the seminar instructor or other participants. It's your money, you have as much right to be the instructor's time as anyone else.
Seminars are group sessions. If you want private lessons, you need to make other arrangements. As I said. EVERYBODY paid, and if everybody has questions there is no time for training. Bring a video camera, take notes, and ask AFTER the event.

Rob Broad said:
DON'T - Be afraid to ask questions about anything, even if you think it may sound dumb. Asking questions is better than learning incorrectly.
See above...
 

Kenpo Mama

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The Boar Man said:
Donna

Once again glad I could be of help. On the digital camera, depending upon the what your needs are you might want to really check them out 1st.

Here are some draw backs.
1) Way to slow to take pictures of action (such as a drill or a particular technique in motion), I find with mine I have to anticipate the movement and then take the picture hoping to get it right. Completely different than a 35mm film camera.

2) If you want to download into your computer than you need to have a card reader or something.

Positives
1) Small and compact, mine is much smaller than my 35mm SLR camera, and eaiser to use.

2) Some have a movie mode. I have used this to capture a set of techniques such as a technique or drill sequence and then download them in my computer and write my notes from that. The pictures so small while you can tell what is going on you can't really do much else with it, but this is a very vaulable tool. Picture quality here is minimal at best, but it can be helpful.

3) with a big memory card you can take a large body of pictures or little video clips, down load the picutres and wipe the card clean and then shot the family photos. Much cheaper than film in the long run.

Glad to hear you are keeping a journal. To me it is one of the most impotant tools that I have learned. It is also what allows me to feel that the seminar money has been well spent. In that if I don't take notes than I might remember only 5% of what was covered if I'm lucky. By taking notes I probably remember more like 50-60%, on top of this if I then take the notes and comine them with my other notes than I get a clearer pictures how things fit together in the big scheme of things from the different arts/different instructors etc. etc. Also I can use the notes as handouts for my students as well with few modifications.

Mark

Thanks again Mark, we are on our second digital camera, and ours does indeed take short vid clips. I know what you mean about the few second delay in the still shot taking, i think i will probably take still shots after the workshops with my training partners and try to take the quick vids during the actual workshops. Not sure how many i can take before i need to download to a computer, so i will bring extra memory cards and of course clearly label them.

This should work out fine for my seminar journal needs, along with some still shots. You have been very informative. It's amazing how much this technology has changed in the past 5 years. It just makes taking the seminars and really remembering the drills covered so much easier. Our next camp is in November, i'll let you know how the digital camera works out.

Thanks,

Donna :supcool:
 

Mark Lynn

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Donna

Our camera (my wife's and mine, I almost said my camera :) ) has a 128MB memory card. And that is plenty to take short vids with, and still shots. They (the vids) generally don't take up that much space since the quality of the vid picture isn't very good (at least not anywere near as good as a still picture).

I have some other smaller memory cards but the 128 MB is plenty for a weekend seminar.

Remember to charge your batteries, and if you are planning to use it a lot or you are going to a multiday seminar then you might want ot bring the charger. I went to go see Dr. Remy Presas Jr. at a recent seminar in Topeka KS. I could have sworn that I charged the camera, but the battery read real low, so I tried to save it for the end of the seminar for the group shot and a picture with the instructors, my son and I. And sure enough it went dead after that shot was taken. I forgot the charger as well, so that's why I suggest checking the equiupment and bringing the charger just in case.

Good luck
Mark
 

pete

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joining or forming a study group is a real winner when it comes to retaining and developing seminar material. i've hooked up with a group in nyc that meets weekly to work material from master seminars held three times per year.

pete
 
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