• Jackie Bradbury

THAT GUY: Seminar Edition


When you go to as many martial arts seminars and camps as Mr. Chick and I do, you run across a bunch of special THAT GUYs.


You see, 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 probably the stinky guy.


NO. GOD, NO. Click on the image to see the source.

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.


Do what they show you, the way they show you. If they say, "Then do whatever you know how to do", go nuts. But until then, work hard to master what they're showing you at the seminar.


Also, keep your mouth shut and ears open, and don't be the guy having a side conversation in the back of the room. That's rude to the instructor in your home class, and it's super-rude at a seminar.


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 "lone wolf" martial artists but we still (secretly) want friends.


RESPECT LOCAL RULES


If it is another MA school, respect their rules their training space. Pay special attention to rules about shoes on mats if they have them and don’t go dropping weapons on their nice new bamboo floors. Don't bring food or drink into areas they don't want food or drink. Respect no-go areas.


Don't jack around with the equipment that might be in the room and don't pick up and play with weapons that might be out and available unless specifically invited to do so.


Remember, you’re a guest in someone else’s house.


So, loyal readers of this blog, I'm not gonna hear about any of you being THAT GUY at a seminar, am I?


No, no I am not.


Do you have any tips for avoiding being "that guy" at a seminar? Did I miss any seminar-edition THAT GUYs you've run across? I'd love to know!


Use the "THAT GUY" category to find all of the THAT GUY posts on TSC!

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