A Student’s Perspective on Live Trading with Ken Long at His Discretionary Workshop
by R.J. Hixson
Typical trading system workshops are a lecturing type of experience with the instructor explaining and answering questions about the systems being presented. Ken teaches in this style at the Mechanical Swing/Day Workshop, which is held back-to-back with the Discretionary Workshop.
However, at the Discretionary Workshop, Ken doesn’t simply stand in front of the room and talk about his trades. Rather, he creates a collaborative environment in which individuals and groups work together to learn the intraday trading process. I’d like to share my experience of this workshop.
Each morning, all of the workshop attendees reviewed the prior day’s preparation and considered trading scenarios for the day. The people in the room split off individually or into groups of two or three. Each person or group made their trading plan for the day and was ready to trade by the time the market opened.
Prior to the market open, we analyzed the recent market direction and volatility. We looked at market gap activity and the follow-through patterns after those gaps. We considered each possible gap/follow-through scenario and how we might trade them, given the possibilities.
The group then looked at recent sector action and how those sectors might move depending on what the market did. For example, if the market was up for the day and commodities continued their strength, there might be opportunities in commodity-based ETFs, material-based stocks and agricultural-based stocks. As part of their trading plan, each person wrote a list of trade candidates based on their individual assessments.
As the market opened, the group watched and listened while both Ken and individuals provided their opinions. As teams or individuals entered trades, they called out the particular stock or ETF, the entry price, and the stop price. They also called out when they exited each trade. Ken kept track of every trade during the day. It amazed me that in spite of the group consensus about the overall market and areas of opportunity, there was a great diversity in trades among the groups.
At various points during the trading day, Ken provided his commentary on what he was seeing in the market. He made some trades and provided his reasoning. At other points, individuals or teams would discuss with the entire room their trade logic or what they were seeing. Like trading, the day seemed to fly at points and drag at others. Well, it wasn’t like trading, it was trading.
At the end of each day, every group explained all of their trades—including the results and the lessons learned—to the rest of the class. Personally, I found the end-of-day debrief to be one of the two most valuable parts of the workshop. The environment was supportive and highly constructive. There were lots of lessons for everyone as we taught each other. Before we left each evening, we prepped the trading plan for the next day (the other most valuable part of the workshop for me). Seeing how Ken prepared for the trading day and learning how to make my own trading plan for the day has been invaluable for my day trading.
Students Activities and Benefits
Ken put together the following list of 20 activities the group experienced and individual traders accomplished each day. I added in the value I believe attendees will find in those actions.
- Reviewed the 10-page daily trading plan reports.
—You actually learn to identify meaningful information and how to use it.
- Prepared multiple trading scenarios and appropriate strategies for large and small gaps in both market directions.
—You are ready for the trading day with trade ideas, regardless of the actions of the market.
- Examined key price levels using support, resistance, and pivot points.
—You identify key points where the market has a higher probability of taking fewer directions.
- Framed trades in multiple time periods and with multiple patterns.
—You identify profitable trades and discard trade ideas that did not show a sufficient reward-to-risk ratio.
- Filtered opportunities to apply “turbo” techniques to engineer intraday trades from mechanical trade patterns.
—You take advantage of already identified opportunities on a short-term basis.
- Stalked different intraday patterns and execution of swing trade entries.
—You exercise patience as you wait for the trades to develop.
- Examined opportunities—informed by risk management—that offered pyramid position sizing™ strategies both for scaling in and scaling out.
—You see what intraday trades make good candidates for scaling position sizing strategies to dramatically improve your results.
- Applied appropriate intraday position sizing strategies.
—You learn how to manage your money for multiple intraday trades. Ken’s approach has been honed over years and seems to make intuitive sense.
- Analyzed the market in 30-minute segments as the trading day developed.
—You find some recurring patterns in market behavior relating to the time of day.
- Developed continuation trades.
—You identify certain intraday trades that show strength enough to carry overnight.
- Applied gap statistics to properly size day positions being carried overnight.
—You understand that gaps present a significant risk, and they require you to analyze the risk and resize the position to incorporate that risk.
- Debriefed and analyzed daily trades and opportunities.
—You see how different ideas and trades translated into results.
- Developed trading “narratives” to guide evolving trade patterns.
—You create some logic as to why certain things are happening, which helps you make some sense of the market and sector moves.
- Applied statistical analysis of daily trade batches.
—You analyze the trading results in a way that you can repeat when you get back home.
- Debriefed trading psychology of markets and trades taken.
—You comprehend the intense effects that your emotions can have on your trading.
- Managed emotional states and energy levels during the trading day.
—You comprehend the cycles and changes in emotions and energy during the day and how to notice them.
- Collaborated throughout each day for constant learning opportunities.
—You are learning as long as you are in the room—not just when Ken makes a trade.
- Learned how to use the Tortoise trading chatroom and Mastermind for continued progress after the workshop.
—You have access to an online version of the classroom trading/learning environment after you return home.
- Heard multiple perspectives on the trading environment from seasoned, experienced traders.
—You learned from everyone in the room rather than just the instructor.
- Encouraged each attendee to work with his/her own equipment, accounts, and trading environment.
—You trade using the same tools and accounts as you use at home, which allows you to focus on learning the strategies, not the software.
As mentioned, this is not a sit-back-and-listen kind of workshop—it’s hands-on. You learn all the steps by doing them yourself each day.
Ken started the Discretionary Workshop in 2010. Since then, he’s led multiple weeks of coaching/trading in this format. Each of those weeks has been different—in terms of market type, opening patterns, midday action and closes. Some days, the market gapped up and went; other days, it opened flat and stayed flat. Many days, the market went down. In every case, however, Ken prepped the workshop group with ways to plan, trade and profit, regardless of the market’s action.
Even with that variability of conditions, traders in the room have generated impressive results.
Granted, we don’t know what kind of opportunities the market will throw at each group. We do know, however, that given Ken’s established track record of facilitating a strong learning environment, attendees will be richly rewarded with valuable knowledge about a proven approach to intraday planning, trading, and review.
Join us for a few days with a master of intraday trading so you can become a master of your self, your system, and the markets.