Top 5 Tips for Getting the Most From Seminars
I’ve attended numerous seminars over the years, but I could have (and wish I had) attended more. Time, money and location can all play a factor in the decision not to go to a seminar, but where possible you should try your best to attend them, even if it means going by yourself. Seminars are a great opportunity to learn new ideas, and meet and train alongside people outside of your normal class. But you can’t gain any benefits from a seminar that you don’t attend.
If you’ve made the decision to attend a seminar, it is not the time to hide at the back hoping not to be noticed. Most seminars involve requests for students to stand up and demonstrate an aspect of Taekwon-Do to aid the instructor in teaching their point. Whether you do this 100% correctly or not is often not the reason the instructor requests for volunteers, you are a visual aid to help them. The majority of students at seminars shy away from this, but by doing so you miss a valuable chance to be corrected and have improvements suggested directly to you by high ranking instructors. Remember one of the principal aims of the seminar is to get as much information as you possibly can.
- Take Notes
This is a common piece of advice recommended at seminars, but the majority of people don’t take it. A large amount of information is imparted at seminars, but it is very difficult to retain all that information if you don’t make notes about what you are being taught. Bring a notebook and a pen/pencil, and scribble down as much information as possible (most seminars have natural breaks or lunch breaks which are the ideal opportunity to note things down). You may not be able to recall all the information, but taking notes can greatly increase the amount you can remember.
- Follow the Instructions
At seminars I often see instructors demonstrate a technique or a drill, ask the students to break away and practice, only for half the students to ignore the information they’ve just been given and do things the way they always have. Not every new idea or method of applying a techniques will work for you, but if you don’t at least try and do the technique in the way it is being shown at the seminar, you will never know if that is a method that may actually suit your style of Taekwon-Do, so do try and follow the instructions to the best of your ability, even if it may feel awkward or alien to you at first.
- Enjoy Yourself
Most people (hopefully) do Taekwon-Do because they enjoy it. Seminars can be a great motivating tool and a refreshing change of pace from your normal weekly class schedules, so as with all Taekwon-Do practice, try to enjoy it as much as you can!
A final tip if you don’t attend seminars regularly – you will be encouraged to ask questions, don’t shy away from this. I was once told that the only stupid question is the one that you were too afraid to ask. If you do ask a question, please remember to stand up, bow first and address the instructor (Sir or Madam) before asking your question, this is polite and respectful. Not every seminar will always enforce this, but many do, and you won’t lose anything by doing it as standard.
by Neil Clark