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Bear Necessities:


Learn to prepare for a bear market condition and prosper throughout the cycle!



Presented by Kirk Cooper


The question is not IF another bear market
will affect the entire market. 

The only question is " WHEN will it happen?" 


Do you fear another market like we had in 2008-2009? If so, you are in good company with many people who view such conditions as a crisis. For those who are prepared, however, another bear market presents conditions that spell opportunity.

This workshop helps you learn how to think about trading broad bear markets or trading a specific asset class, sector or even single symbol that is in bear mode. For a major bear market, think equities in 2008-2009. For a move limited to a sector move, think oil in 2014-2015. Imagine having had some ways you could have traded those periods effectively.


Major bear markets come only once in a while but “lesser” down moves can be found almost anytime — including during bull markets. Start using the information from this workshop when you return back home — and be prepared for the next bear market move.


mark mcdowell

Are you prepared for the next bear market? Why not? Bear markets can present some of the best trading conditions – for prepared traders. The unprepared get hammered or realize they need to sit on the sidelines. In addition, while waiting through bulls and sideways markets for the next bear, what if you could benefit from sectors, segments or even individual instruments that are in a down market of their own?

Dr. Tharp has always been convinced people should be better prepared for bear market types and his concern has grown in the last few years. Several years back, VTI had an earlier version of a bear market workshop. In 2014, VTI re-launched the course with a new agenda and a new instructor, Mark McDowell. Mark did an extended amount of research and effectively developed a new Bear Market workshop. Mark has decided to focus on other areas of his life now and turned the instruction over to VTI instructor Kirk Cooper. Having managed money professionally through several bear markets, Kirk can draw on his years of trading experience and Mark’s research to deliver great value to the attendees.

To learn more about Trading in a Bear Market, check out our 3 minute
Video featuring instructor Kirk Cooper.

Consider These Questions

If a bear market decline started tomorrow in earnest, how prepared would you be? Given the unprecedented involvement of central banks in the global economic environment there is no way to determine how this “experiment” plays out moving forward as they attempt to balance the deflationary forces with quantitative easing, simulative monetary policy, and competitive currency devaluations. A new bear market could start subtly or kick off with a BANG. There might be a Fed announcement, some “surprise” news out of China, a European country debt implosion, or troops clashing somewhere. Sound familiar? Let’s say a few of those scenarios all happened about the same time and finally broke the camel’s back pushing the market into bear mode. Would you be caught flat footed? Or, would you be ready to benefit from a bear market with plans ready?

If you aren’t well prepared, you might ask if you could just move to cash. Yes, investors and prudent traders can sit in cash to ride out a bear market – which is both a safe and a viable strategy. Identifying the timing for such a move is, in its own right, quite challenging. For prepared and knowledgeable traders, however, bear markets present some of the best trading conditions of any market type — both while the bear progresses and at the bottom just as the recovery process gets underway.

If you never thought seriously about trading in a bear market but are open to considering it, here are a few questions you might consider:

  • Do you know how you define a bear market type in very specific terms? Not using someone else’s general definition but yours - criteria that you truly own and monitor.

  • Do you have defined objectives for your trading when the next bear market comes?  

  • Do you have strategies or systems that are ready to perform well in a bear market type?

  • Have you thought about your “longer-term” money and positions? Will you move them to cash or hedge them? At what point? How? 

  • Have you ever traded a bear market or simply lived through one? Have you experienced the dramatic shifts of emotions as market prices lurch with breathtaking volatility to price levels not seen in years? Do you have a sense of how you would react to big moves without a plan?

  • If you have ever traded a bear market or simply lived through one, do you recall the dramatic shifts of emotions as market prices lurch with breathtaking volatility to price levels not seen in years? Do you recall the just as breathtaking recoveries? Do you have a sense of how you would react to big moves without a plan?

  • How would you identify the bottom of the bear? What is your plan once that happens?

If you want to have answers to these questions, if you want to be prepared for the coming bear market, if you want to take advantage of the huge opportunities, this workshop will help.

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What Is Covered

The Workshop Objectives are to ensure you are prepared to prosper in the next bear market. Specifically you will:

  • Study in depth the concept of a bear market.
  • Learn what a bear market truly is and learn several ways to define and measure the bear market type. 
  • Know when a bear market type might be starting and how to know when it might end. 
  • Learn several different trading strategies suited for bear market conditions.
  • Learn how options and hedging can be especially useful for bear market types. 

In this exciting, three-day workshop you will:

  • Outline a big picture view of bear markets and where we may be now – from a big picture, historic viewpoint.
  • Identify and define bear markets using various methodologies.
    • Understand the psychology of bear markets and the personal psychology required for you to benefit from them
    • Hear first hand trading experiences of bear markets
      • 1987
      • 1998
      • 2000
      • 2008
      • Japan's lost decade in the 90s,
      • Oil, 2014-2015
  • Understand basic options strategies useful in bear markets
  • Understand some basic hedging strategies
  • Understand how to be prepared to trade bear markets
  • A Systems development process plan
  • Outlining your objectives for bear markets
  • Position Sizing Strategies for bear markets
  • Networking and sharing ideas and experiences

To learn more about the objectives of this course,
watch this12 minute video where Kirk explains what will be covered followed by a brief Q&A.

What Kirk Will Present

For the longer-term trader or investor, Kirk will review the big picture options when the bear market arrives. You could move to cash, hedge, actively trade, or combine these strategies to suit your objectives. Understanding the benefits and costs of each phase will help attendees make informed choices, under the optimal decision-making conditions rather than making a rash decision under the stress of a major loss in equity. Kirk will also cover how to pursue each strategy and some additional factors to consider. It is up to you on whether or not you want to be prepared.

Kirk will teach a short-term trading systems and strategies that he actively trades right now in addition to those that have been developed by other Van Tharp Institute staff and Super Traders.

The idea of shorting tends to be an anathema for the general investing public. For the trader, though, it’s a requirement to understand and execute short trades during down markets.

Kirk will review several strategies utilizing options. Because of the swiftness and degree of bear markets, options offer especially attractive reward to risk ratios – for the prepared trader. This workshop will only be an introduction to options, will it will not be a complete course in options and the strategies presented may not appeal to traders unfamiliar with options. But for traders who understand options concepts, bear markets present an attractive opportunity. Options strategies can get quite complex in short order ; however, Kirk keeps his strategies simple because even simple ones hold so much potential—under the right conditions.

Kirk has worked with Van on the psychological component of bear market types. Psychology plays a more dramatic role in bear market types than any other market type. Successful traders, have an edge in understanding the drama and using it to trade better. Even prepared, successful traders, however, might stop to consider for a moment how other market participants react and how he or she might personally react under large rapid moves in the market. These moves will have their impact so planning is crucial.

Baby Bears in Bull or Sideways Markets?  Plus a BOGO

When the overall market is moving sideways or up, knowing how to short stocks or buy put options for symbols in their own “baby” bear market would be a great addition to every trader's toolkit. Being able to trade that way on a consistent basis would be like running your own long/short hedge fund. Such a strategy could easily be executed applying a market type approach for multiple asset classes, segments, sectors, and even individual stocks. With your shorts offsetting long positions, you would have a much more balanced portfolio — and be able to manage your risk better. You would, however, need an effective market type classification process — something Kirk will cover in the workshop in depth. Kirk will provide you with multiple ideas about creating a market type process for yourself that really fits you.

In addition, the strategies that Kirk teaches could be reversed to have an opposing set of rules to be used in bull markets. The rules would not be exactly opposite as the two market types vary some but each strategy presented has a counterpart inverse strategy with some modifications for bull markets. This approach then, effectively offers attendees a BOGO (buy one get one free) deal on the bear workshop.

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About Your Instructor

Kirk is registered in Canada as a Portfolio Manager and a Commodity Trading Manger (CTA equivalent). He has been a Chartered Financial Analyst Charter holder since September 1996. He has a Degree in Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Psychology with a focus on behavioral finance, risk management and market psychology. Kirk has over 25 years of experience in the financial markets including commodity futures trading, financial analysis; equity and equity derivatives; risk and portfolio management. He initially issued funds to the public in July 1992.

In December 2007, Kirk was a founding partner of a hedge fund in Toronto, Canada where he was in charge of Quantitative Investing. The firm grew assets under management to 900 million dollars. He was there until he started his own trading operation in May 2015. Prior to that, Kirk researched, developed and implemented a systematic trading strategy that he successfully managed over an 18-month period earning over 30% p.a. In the 1990s, Kirk was a proprietary trader at Deutsche Bank Canada within the banks North American proprietary trading group. He jointly managed over $1.2 billion in assets. Prior to that he was Vice President & Co-Head, Canadian Equity Derivatives at Citibank Canada. He was in charge of managing the portfolio of the Canadian equity derivative book, which was among largest and most active in the Canadian market at the time, with assets over $750 million. In 1992, Kirk co-founded a fund that was issued to eligible investors. The fund achieved an annualized return of over 18% during the four year period.


Kirk is in the Van Tharp Super Trader program. He lives with his 2 sons north of Toronto Canada.


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What Students Of Past Presentations Have to Say:

After taking Blueprint [another VTI workshop], one of my objectives was to develop a system for a down market. This workshop has given me a lot of areas and methods that I can access to build something that will work for me. —Ron Logan, Fort McMurray, CA

We ask students "What was the best aspect of this course?" Following are some of the remarks:

  • The insights offered by other traders regarding their experiences and identifying areas to deploy capital during a bear market.
  • Understanding how Bear markets change during their lifetime and how we need to trade each part differently.
  • The stimulating discussions.
  • Don't underestimate volatility and gaps during a bear market.
  • The best of any VTI courses I have taken!
  • Comprehensive and extremely useful!
  • The clear explanations and breakdown of a bear market.
  • New insight into position sizing strategies.
  • Confidence to trade a bear market.



Our Risk-Reversal Guarantee

The Van Tharp Institute totally guarantees that you will be delighted with this workshop. In fact, we'll take all of the risk ourselves. If you aren't totally satisfied by the end of the first day of the workshop, you can request a full refund. Just return your notebook to a staff member and we'll refund your workshop fee even though you've already had the benefits of part of the workshop.

Why are we willing to assume your risk? The key to our guarantee is that if you are ready to work on yourself, there is no risk to us. We know you'll be delighted.

  • Article - Bear Markets Present Traders With a Unique Set of Opportunities — by Kirk Cooper here.
  • Article - Bear Markets Here and There — An Interview With Mark McDowell here.
  • Article - Volatility in Bear Markets. here.
  • Article - Preparing for the Next Market Storm. here.
  • Article - Bear Market Trading — In A Bull Market here.
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