The Value of Destination Training – Episode 83
Most people that have trained in the martial arts for a time have had some type of external training – meaning training outside their typical location from people other than their typical instructor(s). These could be seminars or visiting another school, whether it’s of a similar style or something completely different. There’s a lot of value in learning different things, even the same things from different people. Everyone learns a bit differently and having another set of eyes watching over you can really hone your skills. This is why martial arts schools with several instructors (that are on the same page) often turn out better students than the schools with a single instructor.
Along all of these lines is destination training. These opportunities can look very different – they may be a seminar series covering different topics or an intensive training focused on a single martial arts subject. The value here isn’t just in getting other people to look over what you’re doing – it goes so much deeper. When you travel for your training and stay overnight, it changes your mindset. You’re typically with other people who are doing the same thing. Thus, everyone that is participating really values their training time. These events are rarely free, so you get people that have made a financial sacrifice to be there.
Many of these events, maybe even most, are presented as a “camp” experience, either with people sleeping outside or in spartan conditions. Some involve sleeping in university dorms over the summer or in cabins. For many attendees, it’s not the training that they find most valuable from these experiences but the relationships they build. When you get a group of martial artists together, they tend to talk about… martial arts. There’s a lot of sharing that goes on outside the training space and this is just as much the reason everyone should attend such an event.
For that reason we’re hosting our own, held this year from July 8th – July 10th, 2016. You can learn more at MartialArtsWeekend.com Today’s episode will talk about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, but it’s not a commercial. Our format came out of a lot of discussion with martial artists about what they liked and didn’t like from their destination training. Whether you have attended one of these sessions or not, or even if you have no interest in attending, you will still find today’s episode valuable, so check it out.
You can read the transcript below or download here.
Hey everybody were back for another episode of whistlekick martial arts radio. This time it’s episode 83 and this is the only place to hear the best conversations about martial arts like today’s show about the value of destination training. I’m the founder here whistlekick but I’m better known as your host Jeremy Lesniak. whistlekick, if you didn’t know makes the world’s best sparring gear and excellent apparel and accessories for practitioners and fans of traditional martial arts. I’d like to welcome our new listeners, thank all of you that are coming back again. Now, if you’re not familiar with our products you can learn more or buy over at whistlekick.com. All of our past podcast episodes, show notes, and a lot more are on a different site and that’s whistlekickmartialartsradio.com from either site you can sign up for newsletter and you really should. We offer exclusive content to subscribers and it is the only place to find out about upcoming guest for the show. So today’s episode is about destination training.
Now, what is destination training? And that’s a term that I may have just made up and if I did I’m sorry and if I am stealing from somebody else I’m doubly sorry, but bottom line it’s you doing your martial arts training in a different location usually overnight and usually for multiple sessions. So the different types of destination training, you know things like a seminar series that happens over a weekend or a summer camp style, you know maybe out in tents or in cabins over a long weekend or maybe even a week or even the training camp style model that’s popular in the MMA, Muay Thai worlds where you go and you just train for you know could be days or a week or multiple weeks. Why do we care like everything else we talk about on the show? Why does that matter? Why would even talk about this? And it’s because there’s some really unique benefits inherent in that training model that you’re not gonna find at a typical 1 to 2 hour a week or even a day class. So, the way most of us train you know 2-3 maybe if we’re Lucky four, five days a week, we go to our martial arts class for an hour maybe two or three and then go back to our lives and that works really well but there are some things you don’t get with that kind of a set up that you get the destination training. And so the first one is that when you’re out of your normal location, your martial arts school, you’re gonna be looking at things differently we all tend to fall into patterns for a lot of us we tend to line up at the same place in the ranks and maybe sometimes with promotions we shift around but even our perspective of where we are in the room, is often similar so getting a set of that stable environment, some might say tired environment if you been training on time can really open your eyes to doing some things differently, you’re generally can have different training partners and that really helps a lot of people step up their effort we don’t want to look bad or make our instructors or school look bad so, when we go else are we tend to rise to the occasion, we give 100% whereas, you know let’s be honest, most of us try really hard in class but when something’s on the line when there’s a reputation or when you’re at a competition, you know we we all tend to find, most of us, tend to find a little bit more in the tank and I’ve just been going harder but just being switched on for a longer period of time which takes effort. Because there are those different people involved both instructors and the people that your training with, you’re gonna learn the ways that they do things and that includes the martial arts elements, you know you will see people holding their stances, their punches, their kicks or blocks in a slightly different way and you can learn you can understand why they do things in that way which is can help around out your training. But you’re also good to learn more about some of the more mundane things that we don’t talk about in classes but still matter you know. Where you get your equipment, when do you eat, what do you eat? You know things like that that especially as the show grows, I think everyone’s come to realize that I view martial arts not just as a hobby but as more of an athletic pursuit, the physical elements anyway and I think it’s important that we embrace that side of it and train like athletes so we can get more of the benefits. Of course if you’re at some destination you’re probably can have different instructors and different instructors tend to see things differently and that’s can help you improve, the more sets of eyes the better. As I was putting together the notes for the show, one of the things I was really thinking about was this part of it and how I really enjoy training with different instructors because doesn’t matter who it is they all find something that I can work on and that’s really valuable to me. And I think that that’s one of the things that I see from martial arts schools where they have multiple instructors. Not to throw anybody under the bus or that’s not even what I mean, not to say that a school where there’s a single instructor is bad cause its absolutely not but I think everything else being equal when there are different instructors that are on the same page, in the same school, then I think the students tend to benefit because different instructors see things differently and can present material slightly differently and students, martial artist, we tend to learn slightly differently from each other. So, having that variety I think is really valuable to your overall training. And of course if you’re somewhere for a week or weekend, you get to focus on training instead of it just being part of your life. You know our typical days we go to work and we get out of work, we maybe have an hour to some of us eat, some of us don’t and then we go to martial arts class, whereas with destination training is typically you wake up you get ready to train, you train, you take a break from training, you go do some more training, maybe have some lunch, go back to training right? So, you get to really focus on that and not worry so much about the other elements of your life, your job, your family, your pets, because you are at a destination. And of course with all these new people that you’re around your bound develops new friendships at least if you’re open minded and you’re trying to meet people if you’re open to meeting people and I think that that is probably my favorite part of attending these events is that I’ve met some absently wonderful, wonderful people. People that have been on the show, people that are coming on the show people that I hope to have on the show, right? So, the more people that you are around, the more martial arts friends you have, really the more opportunities you’re gonna have to attend either other events whether other destination training events, or tournaments or maybe you or someone you know is going to move to another area and hey now there’s already a network of people that you know, that you can tie into or you can help them connect with, and really just it helps write down barriers. It helps connect the wider martial arts community I think that’s really important. And of course the last benefit, you get to train a lot in a short period of time. You know, you attend a weekend event and you might be training 15-20 hours across two days in that’s fantastic, for a lot of us that some months’ worth of training in two days.
Now when we think about all that training condensed in such a short period of time, there are some benefits or some other elements to it that you may not realize. If it’s a focused event meaning that there is a narrower set of information to be presented and sometimes that comes out of a single organization having an event for their system, for their students and really having almost a syllabus you know more like a class that you might have at a university. The progressions can be a lot more incremental especially when you take something new or something really complex and I think the best example consider a form, most of us training on a martial art that has forms be they, tol, poomsae, kata whatever you call them, most of us wouldn’t learn one of those in a day you know in a single class. But, over the course of the weekend you generally can because there is so much time being spent on it. Now, of course it doesn’t have to be something that’s complex in the number of moves or the arrangement, but you could take something like the sidekick .you could really go deep into what is sidekick is and get into the minutia that you may not be able to get into in a 60 minute class because there’s warm up, there’s all these other things and because the instructor, let’s be honest, is trying to create an environment it appeals to everybody. So, as you all know I’m a nerd and I’m not just a martial arts nerd so I really enjoy when I attend these destination events when some of the instructors goes super deep into be it application or the biomechanics or whatever it is of something in particular and if that something that you find valuable or enjoyable, these events are probably right up your alley. Now everything isn’t roses there are downsides and most of them are physical. It can be really taxing on your body if you’re used to training an hour day, 2 to 3 hours a week, to train 10 15 20 hours across two days, three days, even one week can be exhausting and if you’re not ready for it it can lead to injury can lead to at the very least not getting as much out of the experience as you otherwise would, on the other end of the spectrum you might not have a lot of fun. Something to be aware of going in and it could also be a lot to take in over such a short period of time and I see a lot of people taking notes at the sorts of events, most events do permit something like this and I think I can be really valuable. I’ve seen other people where especially when there’s multiple sessions you know, there’s choice and I think the best events do have that, people from the same school or training partners will break it up so I’ll go to this one, you go to this one, and then over the next couple weeks they compare notes and of course taking notes is important so you can share that information with your friends. And that kinda gives rise to to the thought that there’s really a way to approach these, you can’t just jump in with both feet or I guess you can, and nothing wrong with that, but if you want to get the most benefit out of it, if you want to leave with the most knowledge I think there’s a mindset you want to go on with.
You can’t hit every session with 100% intensity. You’re going to be fried your to be so focused on that, you’re not gonna be as available mentally to what’s going on around you. Because it’s not just the people that you’re learning from its not just the instructors it’s often the people that your training directly with, or next to, the more that you’re willing to empty your cup of who want to use that imagery, the more you can walk away with. And be willing to, let’s go back to that image, fill your cup back up with information from others around you and not just the direct instructor at the session that you’re at. Most events are can have some kind of a schedule for you and I think it’s really important to take a look at what’s available what really calls out to you and to prioritize and to build your day around that. If you’ve got a session at the end of the day it’s really really important to you, there’s nothing wrong with assuming that it’s permitted in the event your attending, skipping a session before or taking a nap. If you’re really want to get the most you can out of that, you’ve gotta be honest with yourself physically mentally so you can go into it prepared. And remember that sometimes the best education isn’t even in the sessions, you go to one of these things are a martial artist hanging around other martial artists what he has and talking about martial arts. People are telling stories to be honest a good part of the inspiration for this show, for martial arts radio, came from my love of the stories that people would tell at these events and my wish that they would happen more often so we took that concept and now we strong-arm people, not really, we just asked them to come on the show and tell their stories but you’re probably gonna be off telling stories or comparing notes and sometimes those notes are actual martial arts application, that’s great, it’s all about sharing at most of these events.
So what kind of things have I done? You know I grew up with the the yearly summer camp model you know sleeping in a tent hanging out outside, getting a sunburn, training in the grass and I have a lot of really fond memories of those but have also been to some weekend and long weekend, overnight seminar series, kind of all-inclusive things and those tend to be marketed more towards the adults. A lot of the summer camps and remarking more at children or families and both are great and I love the environment both of those, but they’re different. And of course I have a lot of friends, quite a few of them have been on the show, I’m not gonna single them out but I think you guys can probably figure out who they are based on how the conversations went and I love having those friends building those relationships within the martial arts because I know I can travel pretty much anywhere and have somebody I can train with or at the very least a couch to crash on after training, right? And I just find that really valuable and it’s made my life better building those relationships. I tend to walk away from these experiences with a lot of new information and by the end, usually not even the end of the last day, my brain’s full, I’ll be honest and I don’t always go to all the sessions especially towards the end of a weekend. But that’s how I approach it because I get really excited and I need to be better about slowing down as I go through a full weekend of training but it’s hard right? That’s okay, always something to work on. I feel really blessed that these early experiences, these early summer camps my original instructors were really open about the fact that they didn’t have all of the answers that what they taught and these were two different martial artists that were married that had been raised in really three different martial arts that had spent their lives learning from others as well so there’s a lot lot of information coming in, but even still they said you know we don’t have all the answers so, when we put together an event like this summer camp, they were inviting people of different arts to come in and teach things differently and I really love that. And I think that that’s probably my favorite thing is to learn how different people do different things and I know it’s made me a better martial artist and we’ve talked about on the show and I think it it extends out to these sort of events.
So hopefully I’ve convinced you that these are valuable. Hopefully you’ve done several of them before and you’re really just kinda comparing notes and seeing what I think about this but if you haven’t how would you go about choosing your first one? The first step is to talk your martial arts friends, I can imagine there’s anywhere in the country where there isn’t something like this nearby they may be largely may be small, I mean, I know of a few that are really large that are attracting an international audience. And I know some of them that are almost tiny, I mean, interschool events may be, might be one and two other schools coming and joining together for the summer and hanging out, those are great too you know, there’s really no bad format but what you want is important to figure out, so talk your friends figure out what’s out there, what’s available to you and pick one and go. And if you had a great time, go again. If you can go to more than one, pick different ones and you know rotate through them, find the ones that you love and recognize that some of them are gonna be great some years and maybe not so great other years. That’s okay. You want to consider the costs you know not just the cost of the event but the logistics of getting there, what do they provide for amenities? Do you have to bring your own food is food provided? Just factor all that in, look at the number of sessions and not just whose headlining those sessions. A lot of events will hire one big instructor and then kinda pack the rest of the event with people that work for free and not that people who volunteer their time or necessarily bad instructors but it’s just something to keep in mind.
So that brings us to our event the martial arts weekend. And yes we have really boring names for a lot of our things, martial arts radio, martial arts weekend yes we do have some other things on tap that may have better names but we did get some positive feedback on the name for tournament the martial arts showdown, so you know we just call it martial arts tournament. We can pick names once in a while. So our event what is it, when is it, all those details. Rather than spend a ton of time hitting you with a lot of details, because hopefully this episode of the podcast will be listened to not just now but in the future, so just kinda go over the highlights of our concept. The martial arts weekend is an overnight, meals provided, you know kind of all-inclusive seminar series. Its gonna run from Friday night through Sunday just before dinner and we’re gonna have different instructors offering a lot of different sessions for each seminar session block. You’re gonna have at least two choices were currently working down our 3rd track and our, let’s call it a hook, because all these events have something that they’re using is a hook, ours is that we are making it mandatory that the instructors that we bring in are also going to learn, take sessions from other instructors. I think that’s really important when I think back over the different events that I’ve been to, the ones that have been the best have had the best environment. And that environment was made a lot better when the instructors were also students. So one of our taglines is that you don’t just get to learn from these people, but you get to learn with them and we’re really expecting a significant positive impact from that because that’s what I’ve seen, what I’ve seen it happen elsewhere. We’ve kept it really affordable especially considering everything you’re getting, private room, all your meals, event shirt, all that martialartsweekend.com. So as simple as you get, martialartsweekend.com, there’s a link over at the show notes page at whistlekickmartialartsradio.com, you check that out there. And that’s really it for that chunk of it. So, that’s the subject of destination training and really like to hear what you think now personally, I love this stuff, probably picked up on that. I’m gonna be teaching at a number of events around New England, over the summer some of the bigger event, some smaller private events and just looking forward to meeting a lot of new people, of course at our event.
What events have you attended? What you think of them? You know, don’t quite want to get as deep as reviews but you know, give us some thoughts whether it’s on the show notes page whistlekickmartialartsradio.com or if you want to shoot us something over social media we’re on Facebook, Pinterest, twitter, Instagram, username’s @whistlekick everywhere. Give us a shout, let us know what you think. Don’t forget you can find all of our episodes on YouTube, you can leave a comment there as well. Now if you want to be a guest on the show or maybe you have an idea for a show topic, go ahead, hit is up there is a form over on the website you could email us [email protected] whatever works for you that works for us. And of course, you can learn more about all the great stuff you make at whistlekick.com. That’s all for today so until next time, train hard, smile, and have a great day.