|Kevin at MAPA 4|
Seminars usually involve going into a room full of strangers and learning new martial arts techniques from people you don't know and trust. It is very easy to make a bad impression on your fellow seminar goers.
Here's some tips to make sure that you don't become THAT GUY that they all talk about after the seminar is over (and not in a good way).
CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
You’re going to be touching others, being touched by others, grappled by others. Bathe, wear clean clothes, and use deodorant. And wash your hands after using the restroom. No one wants to partner with the stinky guy. If you’re unsure if you are the stinky guy, that means you are the stinky guy.
DO IT THEIR WAY
If you disagree with a technique the presenter shows, or you do it a different way, keep your mouth shut. Just because it does not work for you or you do it differently does not mean it won’t work for others. Have an open mind too. Don’t be that guy who goes just looking for reasons to disagree.
WORK THE ROOM
Mix it up. When it comes time to partner up and work on a technique, switch partners. Working with a variety of people will help you get the most out the training opportunity the seminar presents.
Introduce yourself to people. Seminars represent a great chance to expand your personal network. Yes, literally walk up to a stranger, smile, and say, “Hi, My name is Tim/Tina” and see where it goes from there (ED NOTE: Use Tim/Tina only if that is your actual name. Otherwise, that's really, really weird). Yes, a few people will be stand-offish but most will be grateful you made the first move and will be happy to make your acquaintance. I know, I know, we’re all a bunch of badass martial artists but we still want friends.
RESPECT LOCAL RULES
If it is another MA school, respect their rules about shoes on mats if they have them and don’t go dropping weapons on their nice new bamboo floors. Remember, you’re a guest in someone else’s house.
MOUTH SHUT, EYES AND EARS OPEN
Temper your expectations. Seminars in your style may have a different format than other styles. There may be differences in length, more talking, less talking, more structured, less structured, etc. Just because it is a different format than what you are used to means it is a bad format.
Do you have any tips for avoiding being "that guy" at a seminar? I'd love to know!