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Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter

  • Article: Restructuring VTI’s Super Trader Program Or How can we add more value? by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
  • Workshops: New workshops are coming in July. Two have never been offered before!
  • Tip: U.S. Markets — Stuck in a Box by D. R. Barton, Jr.
  • FREE BOOK!: Trading Beyond the Matrix

NEW Workshops This July!

Plus, A Oneness Awakening Weekend Just Added for June

In addition to Van Tharp's Newly Revised Infinite Wealth workshop, we also have two brand new workshops from Ken Long, all three coming in July!



  • To define what a game is so that you can see that most games cause you to lose.
  • To illustrate the elements of the money game so you can begin to awaken to how winners play the game.
  • To help you understand the domain at which you play the money game.
  • To awaken you to a new way to play the wealth game.
  • To give you choice with respect to how you play the wealth game in the future.


Systems Thinking Processes You Will Learn

1. Plan-Prepare-Execute-Assess Process

2. Organizing your workspace (time of day and application of strategy and management)

3. House of trading

4. Holistic view of time-frames and overlaps

5. System-Self-Market integration model

6. Staff call and management of parts

7. Input-process-output + environment: SIPOC systems thinking

8. OODA loop for decision-transaction processing

9. 10 minute mental toughness + zero state exercise

10. Systematic process improvement through use of 30-60-90 trade MA

11. Four part learning journal

12. Virtuous circle for continuous improvement

13. Clearing and sense making meditation


In this new three-day workshop, Dr. Ken Long will present a series of advanced, adaptive trading systems that work well in the swing period holding time-frame – from two days to two weeks.

Adaptive Trading Systems – A Quick Q & A

What is an Adaptive Trading System?

An adaptive trading systems have rules and rule parameters that adjust to market conditions and price conditions rather than remaining constant.

Which kind of rule parameters work better, adaptive or mechanical?

They both work well, they just work differently. Mechanical rules are more easily understood, are easier to program, and they are easier to execute. Mechanical rule-based systems typically do not adjust to changing market conditions and therefore are out of the market at times when the condition criteria are unmet. These are the kind of systems detailed in the Swing Trading Elearning Course.

Adaptive rules require a better understanding by the trader of price action, of self and of the market. These systems can also take more time to monitor and to execute.

If I have not been trading very long or I have not been trading more mechanical systems, can I still attend?

With a warning— this is an advanced technical workshop intended for traders with an intermediate or advanced level of experience. Ken will move along at a fast pace in this workshop focusing on more advanced topics rather than on introductory topics. Newer traders will feel at a disadvantage in the workshop. Taking the Swing Elearning course would be a much better route for newer traders.

Am I required to take any other course or workshop before this one?

No other course is required as a prerequisite. We do recommend that you have either attended a previous swing trading workshop, day trading workshop, or that you have completed the swing trading elearning course. The more trading experience or knowledge that you have, the more you will benefit from this advanced workshop and the more likely you will be able to trade these advanced systems effectively after you get back home. We are offering an attractive discount on the Swing Elearning course for the attendees of this workshop. But understand, this advanced workshop is not an extension of the systems in the elearning course, but rather altogether different systems with different objectives.

What is the discount on the Swing Elearning course to attendees of this live workshop?

When you register for this workshop you will have the option of purchasing the Swing Trading Systems E-Course for more than 20% off. The Ecourse is $2,540 but when you register for this workshop you'll have the option to purchase for $1,995. This is the lowest price we have offered on this home study course.

Remember, taking the e-course first is to give you more trading knowledge experience. The Adaptive Swing Systems taught in the workshop ARE NOT SIMILAR to the systems in the E-course. The E-Course is NOT required for the workshop, but trading experience is.

Click Here to Register NOW!

Feature ArticleDR

Restructuring VTI’s Super Trader Program Or
How can we add more value?

by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.

Click here to resolve formatting problems

The purpose of this article is to announce changes to the Super Trader program that will begin officially in July 2016. Students joining before July 2016 will also have the opportunity to enroll in the new program.

While most of our readers are likely not considering joining the Super Trader program, many of you might find this article interesting, should you wish to do your own version of Super Trader at home. If you believe you can be self-directed in your transformations, we encourage you to develop your own program, and the book Trading Beyond the Matrix can help. Much of what we teach in the Super Trader program can be found in Dr. Tharp’s latest book, currently available to traders for just the cost of shipping. Please click here to take us up on this offer. The remainder of this article will tell you a little about how we structure our program and why.

Since our mission at the Van Tharp Institute is transformation through a trading metaphor, I’m always looking for:

  1. How can I improve the program to produce even greater transformation in students? and
  2. How can I increase the value of the program?

We’ll be implementing some new changes to the Super Trader program in July 2016 that I’m confident will accomplish both of these objectives.

I’ve just written two articles about transformation that can be found by visiting here. In essence, we all live in a made up world…it’s a world made of our own individual beliefs and feelings. At first, most people think the world is outside of themselves, but as an individual begins to “wake up” they begin to see how everything “out there” is all within. These truisms are at the heart of our program:

  • You only trade your beliefs.
  • The market is a process that you make up.
  • What you think represents the market (e.g., a bar chart) doesn’t represent the market. In fact, a bar chart doesn’t even represent the distribution of tick data very well. And you can see entirely different charts just by changing the time frame on the bars. A five-minute bar chart is not the same as a weekly bar chart.
  • That being said, once you know it’s all made up from the inside-out, you can start changing your beliefs to ones that are very useful.
  • You can adopt the mental states of market geniuses.
  • You can become much more happy and much more successful.
  • And you can even begin to see Beyond the Matrix…what’s beyond beliefs and emotions and that is the stuff of magic. That’s what we want to help people accomplish in the Super Trader program.

Why Make Changes?

Over the last few years, we have noticed the following that is typical of many people, regardless of their trading background:

  • Working on personal issues is never easy. As soon as “something scary” is discovered, people tend to run away and blame something else for the reason they are running away. What many students have not yet realized, is that all of our suffering comes from the act of running away from their issues, not from facing them. We have had some of the most challenging lessons in the program at the beginning of the structure, and for some this created initial hurdles that were too steep for them to surmount. While hurdles are important, we want to reveal more challenging exercises later in the program, in order to build a strong foundation and momentum beforehand.
  • Second, some people seemed to do really well in Super Trader 1, and then ran into psychological challenges that they couldn’t seem to overcome in Super Trader 2. They often didn’t recognize the issues they faced in the second part of the program as psychological hurdles. In other words, some students were not able to make the connection that Super Trader 2 was an application of what they learned in Super Trader 1. We want to ensure that this doesn’t happen anymore.
  • Third, once the psychological portion of the program was over in the current Super Trader 1 structure, there were no incentives built into the program for people to complete the rest of the program quickly and efficiently. We hope to support students dramatically by keeping their momentum going throughout the program with the new changes.
  • Fourth, we really want to reward those who are committed and efficient with the possibility of finishing the entire program in three years. Currently, it can take up to six years (or more) to complete the Super Trader program.

The New Structure

As a result of understanding these challenges, we have divided the current Super Trader program into three sections, instead of the existing two-part structure.

  • The first section, Super Trader 1 (ST1), will continue to be the primary psychological work of the program. It will not change a whole lot in the content itself, but the lessons have been restructured so that Super Traders progress through them with increasing confidence, understanding, and challenge levels. We estimate that this program will require about 1,000 hours of work but that can easily be completed in one year by working 20 hours each week on the program. Furthermore, some of the psychological/ spiritual work has been transferred into the second part of the program.
  • The second section, Super Trader 2 (ST2), will continue with ongoing psychological work and it will focus on the development of a personal trading business handbook. We estimate that it will require 750 to 1,000 hours of work. Again, this section could be completed in a year by working on the lessons part time.
  • Finally, the third section of the program, Super Trader 3 (ST3), will involve getting three trading systems approved and then being able to trade them at 95% efficiency for at least 100 trades. While these statistics may seem daunting, this really shouldn’t be insurmountable since ST3s completed the first two parts of the program where they:
    • Worked through at least two years of extensive psychological work prior to entering ST3.
    • Had the opportunity to attend all of our technical workshops, with top-notch instructors at their disposal.
    • Had the opportunity to attend our workshop, How to Develop a Winning Trading System that Fits You, and learn the basis for developing good systems for each market type.
    • In addition, plans are moving forward to update our Bear Market workshop and develop a new workshop for challenging sideways markets within the next 12 months.

Super Trader 3

The purpose of Super Trader 3 is to become a Van Tharp Institute Super Trader Graduate. If a student enrolled in the Super Trader series has not had much trading experience previous to the program, we estimate that it might take them up to a year to decide what systems they would like to trade, and to craft their business handbook with these systems in mind. Experienced traders are likely to complete this section in much less than a year. We think that candidates who are committed to do the work can complete either all of the requirements or nearly all of them in three years (as opposed to 4-6 years currently).

Students in Super Trader 3 will also have exclusive access to the Super Trader Playbook, which contains over 90 systems in it. These systems are derived from prior workshops, my books, and numerous other sources.

Once you have your systems approved, then you will have unlimited time to graduate, (meaning trade 100 trades profitably and at 95% efficiency with at least a 10% contribution to the 100 trades coming from each system). The actual trading part of the program is not “on the three year clock” so to speak. Most people have no idea of the power of having three non-correlated systems with good SQN® scores that work in different market types and that they can trade at 95% efficiency or better.

Super Trader Costs

Another change to the program is the billing. As with the current program, you will still be scheduled to pay for three years of the program in two payments, six months apart at the very beginning of the program. In the new program structure, however, those two initial payments may be the only ones that you have to make for the entire program. That is to say:

  • If you finish ST1 in one year and ST2 with at least a year remaining on the initial three year period, then there will be no additional tuition charges for ST3. Your goal would be to get approval for your three systems before the end of the initial three year period.

Super Traders now have a significant monetary incentive to continue to work diligently in each of the sections of the program, and complete Super Trader 1, 2 and 3 in three years. This is a significant cost improvement over the current structure for those who are committed to working their way through the program in a timely manner.

Right now, Super Traders pay for three years up front at the rate of $16,750 per year. This is done in two installments, six months apart. We do give 100% credit for purchases with us (including workshops) within the previous 3 months and a 50% credit for anything else you have spent with us within the last 10 years. Same as now, once payment for tuition is made, we will not accept refund requests. We will only accept people into the program who are committed to their process, and each candidate should exercise due diligence ahead of time. We are always available to answer any questions potential students may have prior to enrolling, and you may contact Rebecca Price at rebecca@vantharp to do so.

While the 3-year structure of the program may work well for most students, it may not work for all students. Should a student desire additional time to complete the program, each additional year will be billed at the rate of $16,750 per year, totaling $50,250 for the complete program if you take advantage of all the incentives. While the program tuition is significant, I invite each of you to compare this rate to our program’s costs 16 years ago, which was $50,000 for just two years. As a result of constant improvements, students have three years of guidance and even more value for their money. Additionally, my one-on-one consulting rate is currently $2,500 per hour, but it’s included in the program for Super Traders.

On August 1st, 2016 the cost of the Super Trader program will go up to $17,500 per year. On July 1, 2017, the cost will go up to $20,000 per year. The 2017 rate will still be, however, only a $10,000 increase over the price of the program 16 years ago and students have three years to complete it rather than two.

We have at most 12 open Super Trader slots available for the new program structure — at the old rate — through July 31, 2016.

If you would like information on the admissions requirements or additional, more specific information on the differences between the current structure and the new one, please email [email protected] or click here.

About the Author: Trading coach and author Van K. Tharp, Ph.D. is widely recognized for his best-selling books and outstanding Peak Performance Home Study Program—a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors. You can learn more about Van Tharp at His new book, Trading Beyond The Matrix, is available now at


2016 - April

April 15-17

Peak Performance 101

Presented by Van Tharp with RJ Hixson and Kirk Cooper


Seats are available! Call to register since it is this weekend.

April 19-22

Peak Performance 202 Workshop

with Van Tharp, Libby Adams, RJ Hixson and Kirk Cooper


May 17-19

Peak Performance 203 — Happiness Workshop
Presented by RJ Hixson and Kirk Cooper

May 21-23

New! Modeling Great Trading Through Mental Strategies (Peak 204)
Presented by Van Tharp


June 4-5

Oneness Awakening Weekend
Presented by Van Tharp and Rebecca Price

July All New Line-Up

Information is now available for these new workshops!

July 8-10

Infinite Wealth
Presented by Van Tharp

July 12-14

Systems Thinking for Traders
Presented by Ken Long

July 15-17

Advanced Adaptive Swing Trading
Presented by Ken Long

See video below.

Combo Discounts available for all back-to-back workshops!

See our workshop page for details.

Trading Video

Trading Video From Ken Long

How have your trading systems been performing in the last nine months? Dr. Ken Long describes some unique conditions that have made this market challenging for a number of trading systems. Over time, Ken has been evolving some of his systems and the ways he trades to be more adaptive to market conditions. He introduces the idea of adaptive systems in this four minute video and alerts everyone to a possible market signal.

van tharp

Trading Tip


U.S. Markets — Stuck in a Box

by D. R. Barton, Jr.

Click here to resolve formatting problems

It’s time for an interactive session of this week’s “Trading Tip.” But first, let’s take a look at the market action.

As of Wednesday morning, April 13 (just before Tharp’s Thoughts goes into print) the market has been stuck in a 52.5 point for 19 trading days—almost a full month. Let’s take a look at that box on a chart:

van tharp

With today’s news about increased China exports, markets around the world are a quite happy and price is testing a major resistance level supported by three technical influences — it’s the upper edge of the box, it matches the April 4th swing high, and it’s touching the upper Bollinger Band.

How did we get here? The most recent upward push has happened because of several key factors:

  • The Fed has turned more dovish (less likely to raise interest rates as many times in 2016)
  • China’s stock markets have become more stable
  • Oil price impact on stock prices has almost disappeared — at least in the near term.

Let’s examine that last point in greater detail by looking at the following chart that shows the correlation between the market and oil:

van tharp

As we can see, the oil/stock correlation has been rising for quite some time (as shown by the long-term 120 day correlation line in purple) and is very high in historical terms. But over the last three weeks, the S&P and oil have become decoupled as oil dropped and rose while the stock market has remained flat (in our box, if you will).

Throw in a cloudy global growth picture at this important sideways spot and the U.S. stock market’s next major move is very tough to call. I’m as close as I ever get to 50/50 in my bull vs. bear analysis …

Where to Next?

So here’s the interactive part. With the market at a tough-to-call juncture after a 14.7% jump up from the February lows — I’d love to take a quick one-question poll of the well-informed Tharp’s Thoughts readers:

Which will the S&P 500 Cash index reach first:

  • 2,282.5 (up 10%) or
  • 1,867.5 (down 10%)?

Send your vote (thoughts and comments welcomed too) to drbarton “at” In my next article, I’ll include the results and any enlightening comments.

Great Trading,
D. R.

About the Author: A passion for the systematic approach to the markets and a lifelong love of teaching and learning have propelled D.R. Barton, Jr. to the top of the investment and trading arena. He is a regularly featured analyst on Fox Business’ Varney & Co. TV show (catch him most Thursdays between 12:30 and 12:45), on Bloomberg Radio Taking Stock and MarketWatch’s Money Life Show. He is also a frequent guest analyst on CNBC’s Closing Bell, WTOP News Radio in Washington, D.C., and has been a guest on China Central Television — America and Canada’s Business News Network. His articles have appeared on and Financial Advisor magazine. You may contact D.R. at "drbarton" at "".

Free Book

FREE Book!

The Red Pill for Traders and Investors

We pay for the book, you pay for shipping.

Eleven traders tell their stories about transforming their trading results and lives, in this 400 plus page book.

Below is a brief video on how powerful this book is to traders.

Swing Trading Systems E-Learning Course


Swing with Ken Long


Ken Long's systematic approach to swing trading with 5 distinct trading systems. This course has over 10 hours of instruction with significant follow-along documents included for students to download.


Review the videos as many times, and as often as you like, for one full year. Plus, you receive a bonus workshop at no extra charge—Dr. Van Tharp's Tharp Think Essentials!

If you are interested in both this video home study program (featuring mechanical, rule-based systems) and our new Advanced Adaptive Swing workshop (adaptive trading systems have rules and rule parameters that adjust to market conditions and price conditions rather than remaining constant) you benefit by buying both at the same time.

When you register for the workshop you can get a 22% discount on this home study.

The home study is not required to attend the workshop, however, an understanding of the systems in the the video home study may help a less experienced trader better understand the more advanced trading style which will be presented in the workshop. The systems, however, are totally different and the Advanced Adaptive Systems Workshop does not build upon the systems in the home study.

You can complete this course at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home or office, and access the materials as many times as you wish during your 1-year subscription period.

Take a look at this video from Ken to learn more about this course.

van tharp

We have extensive information about the Swing Trading System e-learning course, including how to the link below!

Learn More About The Swing E-Learning Course...



Matrix Contest

MatrixEnter the Matrix Contest
for a chance to win a free workshop!

We want to hear about the one most profound insight that you got from reading Van's new book, Trading Beyond the Matrix, and how it has impacted your life. If you would like to enter, send an email to [email protected].

If you haven't purchased Trading Beyond the Matrix yet, click here.

For more information about the contest, click here.

Ask Van...

Everything we do here at the Van Tharp Institute is focused on helping you improve as a trader and investor. Consequently, we love to get your feedback, both positive and negative!

Send comments or ask Van a question by clicking here.

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April 13, 2016 #780



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Van's Top-Twelve Favorite Trading Books


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