Historians place the origins of boxing anywhere between 3000 and 1500 B.C. The Olympic Games did not officially recognize boxing as a sport until 688 B.C., but even this would not prove to be lasting. Boxing–as a sport and form of recreation–has been banned, ignored, and resurrected many times over the last several centuries for countless reasons.
Eventually, though, it would find a home and an adoring audience in England around the early 1700s. Beginning in 1743, the rules would be modified, adjusted and manipulated for the next two-hundred years eventually resulting in what we have today.
Why the abbreviated history lesson? This brief background shows quite succinctly that boxing has endured and evolved quite nicely without my input for literally thousands of years. So, two questions arise:
(1) Why do seminars?
(2) What can I possible offer that you cannot teach yourself?
As to the first question, my reason for offering seminars is simple: I am not in the habit of providing answers to people based on my beliefs and experiences without prompting.
Something must trigger it or I am going to leave well enough alone.
When I get specific questions about skill and performance enhancement in any combat sport for a specific student or athlete, I am reluctant to give much input beyond the very broadest sense of the issue.
Do I have insight beyond that? As opinionated as I am, I guarantee I do; my advice to athletes over the years has ranged from telling people how to improve their diet to advising them to take up tarot card reading as an alternative to boxing.
That said, I rarely give specifics to everyone who asks a question of me concerning combat sports and applicable training. This is because, more often than not, basic principles are simply not being observed on the part of asker.
Anything offered beyond that, in my experience, will complicate an already flawed learning process and there is no value in that. A truism exists that can be applied to nearly any aspect of goal setting and acquisition: principles are few, methods are many.
The focus of martial art/combat sport classes is the introduction and application of general information (read: principles); to expect anything more than that is to allow for the conceit that only a small portion of the class is likely to absorb what an instructor is teaching/coaching.
Recognizing this as an instructor, I am unlikely to veer from the most general application of skill training–the principles–in consideration of the greater whole–the class–when I am disseminating information. This inevitably leads to inquiries from students regarding specific issues that may go beyond the scope of these principles.
Enter method…and method is myriad.
The best seminars are where the methods of the guest instructor are explored, all for a greater application and execution of principles already developed by the attendees in their martial arts journey.
And those principles can come from other classes, personal sessions, videos, books, competition, or whatever other delivery system appeals to the learner. This is how a dedicated student takes a sport as broad and varied as boxing (or jiu jitsu or wrestling or shuffleboard or whatever) and makes it their own.
I, like many other instructors, have a method that I utilize to enhance my game or that of a specific client. General classes offered to the average student on a weekly basis are not where I am willing to explore that method. Hence, the reason and the potential value in attending a seminar.
Does the average sport-combat enthusiast need to delve further than the basic principles of a weekly class? Depends, but I tend to lean to the negative. If a person is happy with their progress, then they probably will not garner enough information or value, beyond a social experience, from an independent seminar to enhance their individual game.
However, for others that wish to go deeper in their learning, specific courses may assist them in the journey they have undertaken. At the least, it may provide insight where questions exist (and persist) after the principles have been established and tested.
Make no mistake, method is opinion-based. Attending a seminar is to accept an opinion of the core material presented with the understanding that it may or may not be right for you. That is okay, though, because learning is a process of elimination as much as it is a process of accumulation.
Bottom line: go to all the clinics, seminars, and bonus classes you can.
The worst thing that will happen is you will learn what does not work for you. That, in and of itself, is invaluable.