The value of seminars



I have been to many seminars in my time and whilst I generally enjoy them and like to get to train with some of the more famous of our brethren, I rarely come away having learn`t anything much.

I see now that some people talk about learning systems by attending seminars!

My opinion is that you can only learn a system from an Instructor who is both technically proficient and a good Teacher (not necessarily the same thing)

What are your opinions on the value of seminars as a learning tool?
I agree that it would be extremely difficult to learn an entire martial art through seminars only (videos too). I think at some seminars there are so many people it's hard to get the attention you may need. Also, as far as becoming proficient, it depends on how much information you are trying to learn. If I'm learning a form or a set of techniques (e.g. 15 self-defense motions against a wrist grab), I need to go through things more than once or twice to be able to remember them. I may think I 'know' something but in a couple of days I can't remember certain parts of the technique. Some pick up things a lot quicker than I, so your results may vary.

As a learning tool, I think they are good. They may give you new perspectives on a martial art, regardless of whether the seminar covers your primary art. It can also help you learn about a martial art that you are interested in. Seminars can provide new applications of old techniques and you may be able to learn a new technique or two (but see above). In addition, you get to interact with people in the martial arts community. So, when you say you didn't learn much, I'm curious what you mean.
You may not remember exactly everything that was covered but hopefully you came away with something. Also, seminars may not be for you. If they have no value for you, save your money and try to set up a weekend of training with an instructor who's not busy and who you respect. It may cost a bit of money, but you might get more out of it.
Hey all,

I just wanted to say.. .that.. well our school will host seminars that have some type of tie to the Art that we practise.. See in April of this year.. we had a Kosho Ryu seminar.. it really hit home because we incorporate Kosho into our Hapkido study (hence our MA style name Hon Sang Mu Sa Hapkido, but that's another story) So as students we learned a tremendous amount of info from that seminar.. same as when we have our Cane seminars.. Cane is the primary weapon that we use so it makes good sense to hold a seminar on that particular weapon. But on the other hand.. having a Sai (sp??) seminar.. thought it would be fun and very interesting.. would have none or little impact on our training of our MA...
My advice.. go to the seminars that may have ties to your particular MA.. i wouldn't purpose dodge the others (they can be fun too!!) but if you want improve on your MA style through a seminar.. stick to what's involved with your stlye.. and heck.. have a good time with it too!!

Just my 7.3 cents!!
Although I agree with the "did'nt learn a whole lot " sentiment. I have enjoyed every seminar I've been able to attend. I even enjoy just watching. I remember observing a session in which Mr.Planas was teaching, and really getting wowed by his obvious grasp of the material. Just the ease in which he moved through the techniques, and explained them. To me was/is very kewl!!! I would'nt count them(seminars)out as a learning tool. Its just that for some of us. Its too much too fast.

Salute in Christ
Donald :D

Yes.. Thats why I will go to seminars that may not have ties with my MA.. its truly amazing to watch other people in action.. especially if they have been training for years.. its actually a humbling experience!!:asian:
I agree completely that it is great to see top class martial artists in action and if that is why you attend a seminar then you have got your money`s worth. It is also the only reason I attend them these days.

My whole point is the value of seminars as a learning tool. I understand that it is very difficult for the seminar Instructor to pitch the amount and level of content to satisfy everybody at a seminar.

I have been training for over 20 years now so maybe as some of you have indicated seminars are just not appropriate for me.

three questions for you all:

1. What level of student do they suit? Or is it totally individual?
2. Is their main function to expose us to the best martial artists around and inspire us ?
3. Is their main purpose an easy pay day for those with the name to pull in the crowds?

I think seminars can be valuable in many ways:

a) It exposes the student to other systems in a "non-threatening" is NOT a competition.

b) It allows one to see similarities, as well as differences, between arts.

c) It provides a venue for "networking" and potentially a means for establishing a formal exchange of ideas between schools.

d) For those students within the system, it gives them a "hands-on" preview of what they can expect over the next few months. And for those who are more senior, an opportunity to assist in instructing larger diverse groups.

The downside of seminars really relates to HOW they are presented...If the presenter keeps emphasizing how HIS system is THE BEST, the potential to alienate trhose who are from other systems is high.
One will NOT learn a system by attending seminars, BUT they are very inspiring when presented by high ranking, skilled, HUMBLE teachers.

Huk always says a seminar is a bunch of students being taught something of advanced material not normally covered in class.

I have to agree.

Having said that. Many people giving seminars are not giving seminars at all. I spoke with Clyde once on this. If I pay to go to a seminar I don't want to be doing calestentics unless you want to teach me ones for a specific purpose.

I can do push ups anytime.
Seminars have their own purpose, and are generally well-suited to that purpose.

That purpose is *not* to be a comprehensive means to learn an art. The purpose is to explore either an overview of an art, or a small "flood" session on one aspect of an art.

At a seminar, you are going to be totally flooded with information. It is meant to give you as much exposure to a given topic as possible in the time frame. Will you remember everything? NO. Will you be able to absorb everything? NO. Will you get some detail you didn't have before? Most likely. You should be attending seminars to dive deeper into aspects of an art you already study, or to learn a bit about an art that you don't study, not to learn a style in-depth.

That kind of thinking is like my baking some brown-n-serve rolls and thinking that I now understand what a pastry chef does. It just ain't the same...;)

Okay, sorry to ramble on...


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