From time to time you see promotions, flyers and invites to various martial arts seminars around town or in nearby cities. Many feature famous celebrities while others feature little known but none the less great martial artists. Chances are, they do not teach YOUR style of martial arts. Is it worth it?
I think these seminars are worth the time and trouble. Here’s why:
- Different instructor — Experiencing how another person teaches is a great way to see diversity in instruction methods. Certain styles mesh well with different people but a single method doesn’t fit all people all of the time.
- New point of view — A new instructor and a new style will give you a new point of view on combat and philosophy. You already know how your style thinks about attacks, defense and training. Now you can compare it to something else.
- Theory — Generally, seminars don’t teach their normal curriculum. Rather they tend to focus on “theories” and “related techniques” so you can get maximize the usefulness of the education. The theories, concepts and ideas allow you to go back and tinker with your own material.
- Different emphasis — This benefit relates to the previous three. A new instructor and style places emphasis on different things. For instance, Kempo may focus on hand speed and strikes while a seminar on Tai Chi may focus on leg strength and balance. This helps you notice deficiencies in your own training due to a myopic training routine. This doesn’t mean your training is bad or wrong. It means you tend to repeat the things that you think are important and forget about the other stuff.
- New training partners — There is not comparison to training with a new partner or uke from a different system. They don’t fall “right” or attack “right”. You get to really work on your material with a new sense of effectiveness. Can you make it work on opponents who are resisting or don’t know what you are doing? Think of it as a new batch of test subjects for your laboratory.
- Expands the mind — All the points listed above will help you expand your mind. We don’t live in isolated pools where everyone does things the same way as we do. This is a plural society and opening up to new ideas and concepts helps us grow and become smarter. It may also unlock “hidden moves” in your own training. A few seminars did that for me.
- Learn cool techniques — Finally and arguably the best reason is you get a batch of new cool moves. My favorite part about martial arts is learning new things. My second favorite part is learning new things that look cool. This may be shallow and not very master -like but hey, I’m honest. These things keep me practicing, training, and inspired to do the real work of grinding out all the necessary drills.
So if you’re wondering if that interesting martial arts seminar is right for you, take a chance and go. You’ll never know if you don’t try.
Got a seminar you want to promote, email me. If you have a story about a seminar that profoundly changed you, leave a comment below.