YouTube University for Forex Trading? Here's Why This Trader Advises Against That

I’m back for another member feature, and this time, let’s get into the trading journey of Mark, also known as MartialChartsFX. A seasoned forex trader blending the discipline of martial arts with the financial markets. Originally from upstate New York, he spent a 20-year career in the fire service, where he climbed the ranks to Executive Deputy Chief, even serving as Interim Fire Chief. Recently retired, he now devotes his time to the world of trading.

Apart from analyzing charts, Mark has a bunch of interesting hobbies. He enjoys welding, working on cars, creating 3D printers, websites and app development, and coding indicators. He’s also into regular workout sessions, believing that good health is the real treasure.

In this feature, Mark shares the twists and turns of his forex journey, from a lump sum investment in 2011 to discovering forex through an options trading course in 2020. He discusses his trading habits, the joy of financial and time freedom, and the value of consistency in all aspects of life.

Join us as we uncover the wisdom behind MartialChartsFX and the valuable lessons he brings to the forex community.

Without further ado, we welcome you, @MartialChartsFX!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What are your hobbies, interests, favorites?

On these forums and online in general, I’m known as Martial Charts FX. I came up with that name because I equate the mastery of trading to the mastery of martial arts. Both require intense training, focus, emotional control, and a high degree of self discipline. Not to mention both have levels of skill and proficiency that the student must attain before moving to the next level. Offline my name is Mark and I’m from upstate New York.

Professionally, I have served in the fire service starting as a Firefighter/EMT and finally reaching the rank of Executive Deputy Chief including serving as Interim Fire Chief. I recently retired from the fire department after 20 years of service which now allows me to give my undivided attention to trading. As far as hobbies, I would say that chart analysis is my favorite hobby, but I also like to pass the time doing welding and fabrication, working on cars, design and building of 3D printers, website and android app development, and coding of indicators in TradingView’s Pine script. I also love to workout because health is the real wealth.

2. What inspired you to become a forex trader, and how did you get started in the industry?

Unfortunately, I took the long way towards forex. Back in 2011 I came into a lump sum of money that I wanted to invest and I looked at stocks and forex as a way to make the money grow. Forex seemed very risky back then and if I remember correctly had a $10,000 minimum to trade and there wasn’t always negative account balance protection. The potential to lose more than my account balance turned me off to forex and so I started trading stocks.

In 2020, I took an options trading course through my brokerage TD Ameritrade, which after completion allowed me to upgrade my account to trade options, futures, and unknown to me forex was also included with the new privileges. Once I noticed that I had access to forex trading it reminded me of my research into forex back in 2011, so I decided to take another look to see if forex still had the same set of rules. Forex was definitely more accessible and user friendly than it was in 2011, so I began to studying the forex market. I wish that I started forex in 2011 when I was first exposed to it, just based on the amount of time that it takes to learn the skill.

3. What was the biggest challenge for you when you started to trade?

Back in 2011 when I started trading stocks, I didn’t find many challenges beyond staying within the PDT (Pattern Day Trader) rules which wasn’t a frequent issue since I mostly swing traded.

With forex, my biggest challenge was information overload and settling on a strategy. The available information in 2020 was much greater than in 2011. At first I was almost drowning in YouTube content trying to figure things out. All the gurus seemed so convincing but none of them are being challenged in their videos so they control the narrative. I suspected that whatever free information that they were giving away was missing something vital that they would gladly sell to you in their course.

As I gained more insight and understanding, my suspicions were correct. Once I stopped watching YouTube and chasing behind every new strategy, my trading improved. The second half of my challenge was finding and most importantly committing to a strategy or way of trading. I went through the scientific phase of experimenting and testing many different strategies before finally settling on one that works more often than not and one that I could execute proficiently more often than not.

4. Could you tell us more about the trading strategy you’re currently implementing? How did you come to develop it?

I trade using rules based supply and demand in conjunction with Fibonacci retracements. I use time, volume, and divergence as confluence. Originally I fell in love with Fibonacci Retracements early in my Forex journey and I found that when it works, it’s great but when it failed I was left scratching my head. I couldn’t accept that Fibs worked solely because it was mystical or a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I needed to find out why a Fibonacci trade would fail, which brought me to develop my trading method as a means of filtering out low probability Fibonacci trades. Over time, this led me to a greater understanding of supply and demand and smart money concepts, pretty much by accident. I started using Fibonacci as a framework to identify types of setups based on where they are likely to form and also identify potential zones beyond the entry that would give price a reason to violate my setup.

Since the original inception, my strategy has evolved to be more robust but it is still fundamentally the same and based on the same concepts. As far as developing the strategy, it is based on a lot of backtesting and data collection which allowed me to discard conditions that were not statistically relevant in favor of conditions that statistically have a high probability of achieving the expected result.

In data collection for strategy development, I get very granular with the data. For example, some of the information that I record are the depth of retracement, what is to the left of the retracement level, the candle pattern that form at the retracement level, how far price impulses after retracement, and how much time the impulsive wave and retracement each take to complete. The strategy took me several months to develop and to define the rules.

5. Describe your current daily or weekly trading routine that prepares you for trading.

Even though the markets technically open on Sunday at 5 PM New York time I don’t consider the market to be ready for analysis until London session begins and the market starts to normalize with volume. I don’t trade on Sundays and I prefer to analyze on Mondays to get a sense of the what the week will bring. My routine is to analyze the U.S. Dollar Index, check economic news for the week, check the COT reports and then I analyze the triplets: GBPUSD, EURUSD, and AUDUSD.

6. What advice would you give to individuals who are just starting their journey in forex trading?

Have realistic expectations about trading. This is not a get rich quick scheme and the journey towards mastery is daunting and time consuming. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself by getting structured forex education or mentorship. What you will save in time alone is worth the investment.

YouTube University will often teach you just enough to be a danger to your account balance and while it may inspire you to discovery, YouTube isn’t a replacement for structured training with a predefined learning path. One thing that I notice with new traders and I was guilty of it as well, is the tendency and bad habit of strategy hopping, which really should be avoided. It’s best to find a strategy that you understand, that you can find setups with, and that you can execute.

You only need 1 strategy, so focus on that single strategy until you have it mastered. There is no holy grail and one strategy isn’t necessarily better than another. The most important part of the trading system is the trader. If you improve the trader, every strategy employed by the trader will also be improved.

7. What’s the thing you enjoy most about working as a trader?

Freedom. Financial freedom is good, but time freedom is better. I can always make more money but I can’t make more time and none of us knows when our clock is going to stop. Trading versus conventional employment allows me to use my most valuable resource (time) efficiently. People rarely become wealthy by trading time for money also known as working a job.

8. Can you give 3 trading habits that have helped you the most in your trading career?

Habit 1: It’s not so much a trading habit, rather creating a habit of consistency in all areas of life. I wake up at a certain time consistently. I used to leave for work at a certain time consistently so much that others could set their watches by my arrival. Whether I intend to trade or not, I consistently take time to analyze at least 1 chart everyday. If I draw a trendline, the trendline will consistently be drawn at the wicks not the bodies. If I draw a Fibonacci Retracement, it will be consistently placed in the same manner every time. I believe that if I am consistent in all things, I improve my odds of being consistently profitable in trading.

Habit 2: Taking a contrarian view or playing devil’s advocate. When looking at a trade setup, instead of only looking at the confluences that support the trade, I like to identify all the reasons why the trade will fail or reasons to take a position in the opposite direction. If there are more reasons for one direction versus the other, I follow the evidence and trade in the direction where there is more evidence to support the trade. This helps to prevent me from having confirmation bias in my trading.

Habit 3: Having a definitive set of rules and sticking to them. In a fast paced market, it is not always practical to make a decision on the fly that could have financial repercussions. Having a set of rules that have been derived from data allows the trader to execute based on a decision that has been made in advance when conditions are present that meet the criteria of the rule set.

9. Do you find a benefit in using a trading journal to track your trades? Do you use one?

A journal is a valuable tool if used regularly and if properly documented. I am guilty of not always journaling my trades, but that is something that I want to improve on. I do save a screenshot of every setup so that I can go back and look at the conditions that were in place when I decided on the trade. If you don’t keep a record of what happened, it’s very difficult to identify where you made an error. If we count the saving of chart screenshots, then I do consistently practice visual journaling.

10. If you trade on a live account, was there a specific turning point that took you from trading on demo to trading live?

I’m not endorsing this practice for new traders, but I did very little trading on a demo account. I didn’t find demo to be realistic based on orders always getting properly filled and no psychological stress testing on the trader. I’m used to taking much greater risks after years of stock trading and I have never traded stocks on a demo account. Demo doesn’t trigger a psychological or emotional response in our primal brain which traders need to be prepared to deal with. I think trading very small lots to start is an acceptable alternative to trading on demo because you get a real market experience and you can get acclimated to the stress of drawdown and losses.

11. Non-forex related question: What’s a favorite quote or saying that resonates most with you?

My favorite quote is the one that I coined myself, which is that “The only thing negotiated from a position of weakness are the terms of your surrender”.


Thank you, Mark @MartialChartsFX for sharing your story, knowledge, and wisdom.


Great read; many thanks for sharing!

1 Like

Very interesting to read and thank you for the interview.

I have not heard the word triplets before to describe EUR/USD and AUD/USD and GBP/USD but I understand exactly what you mean. (Is NZD/USD maybe the younger brother or just a cousin?)

After too much watching Youtube I was very pleased to find the pipsology school and I agree with you very much about Youtube.

Thank you again and season’s greetings and I hope I do not lower the tone too much by expressing my relief to see a nice real person here rather than “spammer, scammer or bot”! :blush: :grinning:


NZDUSD is the step-child that I don’t acknowledge :rofl:.
I’m not a fan of NZD in general.

@maria_fp You were in the discussion on bots and spam. We are the resistance!

Happy holidays to you as well.

1 Like

Thank you for the Babypips course and thank you for the opportunity to answer some questions.

I try to give more than I take in spaces like these. I hope some of my insight adds value to this community.

Best of luck on everyone’s journey!


Fantastic testimony!

Interesting ideas and habits. Definitely worth observation.

Thank you for your time, Mark.

Cheers :beers:

1 Like

Hi Mark. A very interesting story line. Your trading habits are first class - I would say that because I also follow that process, albeit as a Ichimoku trend trader.

And best regards for your future FX success.

Steve 369

1 Like

Great interview! The part about strategy hopping is so true!

1 Like

Thank you for sharing the Story!

This is amazing!


The problem is how in the world someone gonna find that? trial and error?

1 Like

There has to be a selection process. It’s not the trial and error that ruins traders, it’s cutting the trial short because of short term errors without giving the strategy time to prove its edge over the long term.

We all must choose which hill we will die on.

1 Like

This, I agree with…

Sounds like famous last words of someone :grinning:, well suitable for trading too, I guess…

1 Like