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How to Get the Most Out of Seminars

At SCMA, we are fortunate enough to have martial artists from around the world visiting our school regularly. Sometimes they are just passing through on a vacation or on a work trip, and other times they stay for a bit longer to teach a seminar. Though these events happen regularly for us, you might be new and haven’t ever attended one before, or perhaps you’ve been around the block and just aren’t sure if seminars are worth it.
A good seminar can supercharge your training if you approach it with the right mindset. If you go into a seminar unprepared, you might find yourself struggling to remember techniques a few weeks later or worse yet, not enjoying the special opportunity of learning from a high level martial artist in the moment.

To help you get as much as possible out of a seminar, here are a few tips:

  • Be prepared to rehydrate. Seminars can last a few hours, so keep a bottle (or two!) of water on hand to keep yourself sharp. Some people like to have a Gatorade on hand as well for the sugar and the electrolytes.
  • Partner up with someone at your skill level. Seminars are usually pretty busy and it can be hard for the guest instructor to talk to everyone for every technique. If you are working with someone at your skill level, the instructor can give advice that applies to both you and your partner in one conversation, making it easier for him or her to give the right instruction to the right skill level.
  • Be courteous and mindful of time. Asking a visiting black belt questions is a rare opportunity that you should definitely take advantage of. However, try to pick and choose your moments for inquiry so that other students can also have their questions answered.
  • Bring a pen and a notebook. You might not have much time during the seminar to take notes, but if you and a friend circle up right after the seminar ends, you can quickly jot down the high points of what you learned. For the first pass, don’t worry about noting every single step. Your first priority is not leaving a technique out, so list out what you covered and note some of the big details the instructor emphasized. Then go back through and write out a more thorough description of the move.
  • Dress your best! Seminars almost always mean pictures, so at the very least try to wear a gi with your school and association patches sewn on. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can bust out one of your snazzy rashguards as well (you know who you are).

Seminars are a lot of fun, and you should definitely try to take advantage of them when they come around. Even your instructors get excited for the chance to pick up some new details or to learn some different perspectives on technique and strategy. Don’t miss out!

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