I am a former buy and hold investor who converted to trading a year ago (for obvious reasons). I have substantial capital to invest, but convential wisdom in investing during a bear market is basicly putting your cash into a roaring fireplace. I have reached a conclusion that trading, for all it's risks, is the only way to be involved in the market for the forseeable future. With any sort of return, (20 percent or greater annually), I could easily live off of it. So far, about the only real thing I have mastered is the cardinal rule #1, "protect your capaital". I think my temperment is more geared toward swing trading, so that I don't have to get caught up in the constant decisions that can lead to "getting caught up in it". So far the SPY looks like a bouncing ball, as it cycles it's way through a downtrend (and seems realtivly trackable via indicators mentioned in the next paragraph) - this may or may not continue. But it seems like understanding the "big picture", and more importantly, playing it with discipline and rigor using only what I see unfolding right in front of me could be profitable. I have learned a lot about charts, have read a lot of John Murphy's stuff, and have looked at countless charts on www.stockcharts.com to see the interaction of stochastics, (fast/slow), moving day averages (50-200mda primarely), macd, adx, candlesticks and vix. So far, I have gained a lot of confidence in my ability to read these, plus have gained some knowledge of setting stops at support/resistance, cutting losses short, letting gains ride (but protecting them with trailing stops). I also subscribed to metastock, but it seems that the backtesting is slanted toward (whatever worked in the past) and I am uncomfortable with some of the "black box" mentality that it requires to use the generated signals - Cardinal rule #2 is that whatever you buy and wherever you sell, it's your own decision, regardless of whatever the influences were to do it - this makes me want to understand what I'm doing as fully as possible, and have control of the process and myself. I have looked at some of the pro shops, but am somewhat confused by the "their capital/my capital" stuff. I have substantial capital, and really don't need to use anyone elses. While I think I have what it takes to get started, I also believe there has to be a way to better learn from those who are succeeding at this now, and am clueless as to how to go about this. Any thoughts?