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6 Reasons why seminars are useless




No matter how inexpensive martial arts instructions are, extra costs along the way will creep up along the way. Some of the extra cost are mandatory, others voluntary but highly recommended. Martial arts seminars are part of the latter.

Seminars may feature renowned instructors, flying in from across the planet, while other seminars are given by the usual instructors.

Regardless of who instructs, chances are those extra classes may benefit its participants, so why do we claim such seminars are useless? Here is six reasons. (Of course, seminars can also have their use)


1- Too many participants which translate into less interaction with the guest instructor

In an effort to offset the cost of inviting a guest teacher (and to rake in more money), organizers often allow as many participants as the facilities may accommodate.

Unfortunately for participants, it means that the teacher will not have time to personally teach and correct them individually. In fact, they may not even have time to look at them.

Participants hopeful that the instructor will personally correct they more subtle flaws may be disappointed and may feel like the non interactive training session to be similar to training while watching a instructional DVD.

Picture is courtesy of Heero Miketta


2- Extremely expensive

If you take the total fees of signing up for normal martial arts classes and divide it by the amount of hours Of instructions, you get the cost per hour of training. If you do the same exercise for the seminar, you will probably find that the cost per hour is from up to ten times higher.

For example, one month of instruction costs $80 US. There are three 2 hours class per week that a student may attend. Using simple math:



For a seminar which may cost $100 US for a week end:




3- No follow ups

Chances are the guest instructor is around for a limited amount of time and it may take a while before he comes back. Between the two seminars, material taught may have been misunderstood, leading participants to practice erroneously. By the time the guest instructor comes back, the bad technique will be so engrained that it may take even longer to correct the wrong and retrain the right way.

This or course is assuming that the guest instructor actually remembers what he has taught the previous year and doesn't confuse the school with the hundreds he had visited in the meantime


4- Encourages dogmatism

Most organizers announce the coming of a guest instructor as the arrival of the Messiah that comes to deliver the truth. Often, whatever the instructor says is taken as the gospel truth.

Image taken from

By signing up, some are hoping that a bit of the skills, knowledge and prestige of the masters washes off on them. This mystical transfer usually does not happen, given the limited time the seminar combined with the high amount of equally enthusiastic participant. Besides, knowledge and skills doesn't exactly magically wash off from masters to students.

People who sign up to seminars expecting to come out with a useful tip or two are the wiser participants because chances are it is exactly what they will get.


5- No enough time to truly comprehend

Seminars in general are great for conveying information. The problem is that in the world of martial arts, information is only as good as the amount of time spent putting information into practice. It is ironic that the participants who expect major improvements following the attendance of week end seminars are the same who will preach about patience in martial arts mastery.

The mastering of a movement is more dependent on long term repetition than on number of repetition. In other words, retention of a technique practiced twenty times for a hundred days is better than practicing it two thousand times in one day.

Asking participants to remember all the details and intricacies of the (sometimes new) material taught during seminars is unreasonable.


6- Deceptive, overhyped.

Is it the hype created by the promoter, the fact that there is extra money spent or perhaps, the amount of training concentrated into a short period of time that enhances the participants feeling of the instructor's awesomeness?

Many times, The guest instructor is someone we have heard from the promoters themselves. Sometimes, it gets to a point where people forget that the guest is also a human being, albeit with more training experience.

With enough hype, anyone can be made to look as if they had super powers

Some schools have seminars where there is no external guest teacher and the seminar is about perfecting or learning new secret techniques exclusive to seminar participants.

One has to wonder why the school teacher could not teach the material during normal class hours. Even if he does not have time during class periods and needed extra time, why would he need to charge his participants so much more money than regular classes?



Are we saying that seminars are the creation of greedy and unethical martial arts school owners, and that they represent the embodiment of all that is wrong in the realm of martial arts? Of course not! Not all school owners are blinded by greed. Most school owners are decent and honest folks with a passion to share. They often (successfully) do their best to avoid the negative points stated above and harvest to positive points of holding seminars… Yes, there are positive points to seminars...




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Last Updated on Thursday, 09 January 2014 19:36  

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