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Postcards from the Right Edge Fog
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Postcards from the Right Edge Fog

  #1 (permalink)
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Postcards from the Right Edge Fog

The Map - The Forest of Price Action

What a fantastic journey it has been!

From outside it seemed like wonderland – if you stand by its sides you can hear peals of laughter, the clink of gold coins being tossed about, yours simply if you take the time to keep your hands outstretched to grab them.

But nothing is as it seems.

I have been wandering, nay, meandering in this wild forest full of clever traps.

So many times that I ventured, or rather staggered confidently into it and more often than not I’ve been robbed, waylaid, mugged, beaten up and left penniless in tears.
I had been busy climbing the price action slopes, sliding down tumultuous streams of corpses (I could see that they had once been people with piles of money).

The fog makes it all the more difficult and dangerous. One wrong turn and you enter quicksand.

It also makes it enticing enough to make one enter. You can see the bottoms and troughs and the path to the peaks looks easy enough – the fog parts just enough to show how a tantalizingly easy path carves itself hugging the mountain and curving slightly enough to make it seem like armchair entertainment – a light stroll rather than a full haul mountaineering trip.

Alas, how I wish that were true.

This journal then, is a truthful, incisive, brutally honest record of my journey in the Market.

Enter at your own peril….

P.S.: My old journal “The 22 Days of Price Action” was as its title said, was supposed to be a boastful self-worshipping saga of doling out tidbits of how to do it – how to go to riches quickly – from a (or so I thought) master of price action and self-control.

It quickly turned into a quagmire – how could it have been otherwise when I had not exorcised my demons, had not really trusted in my plan, had not faith in the plan to survive the deep forest of the market? The first few scars and the sight of blood and down went the plan into the abyss, and with that also had gone my dream. A good Samaritan named @GaryD helped me on the way – asked me to pause and strengthen my armour before I really went face on into the deep.

I have done that – nay, its an endless journey so I am doing it still – but truthfully I have become tougher than I would ever have thought I could become.

Indicentally, along the way (I state it so very softly lest the magic flute that guides me through the forest might stop suddenly and leave me stranded) – I have started making money consistently.

The slopes I slide down are shorter than the peaks I climb high into. The equity curve progresses now more like the tortoise than the previous doubling run of the hare. The risks are calculated earlier and earlier – never does this traveler allow himself to slide down into a chasm without first assessing the hurt that could result from the fall.

What does not kill you makes you stronger.

And the market – its always there, waiting, whispering its flute song to those who really bother to listen. And those that REALLY want to listen. For the rest it is enchanting and terrifying at the same time.

I will mail postcards occasionally from this fog.Perhaps the postcards server no better purpose than signposts. Herein fell a traveler into a deep hole. Herein lies the path not to be taken. Look yonder into the sky – some signposts can only make sense to a truly a weary traveler seeking direction.

The postcards will not be easy to decipher. They would not be intentionally complex either – the postcards are just a reflection of the tangled overgrown forest and of the giant sea in the middle of the forest!! – but I sincerely hope that they will brim with the wisdom of the sages and the wit of the ages and like a lighthouse keep someone out of troubled waters on a winedark greedy bottomless open sea that whooshes in and grabs the pile of gold each ship tries to accumulate. One leak is enough and no one can ever put in more vigil than necessary.

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  #3 (permalink)
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Well written. Good luck on your continued journey.

Before you attempt to beat the odds, make sure you can survive the odds beating you.
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The Flash Crash - omen of death

On Friday the 5th of October 2012 ominous rumblings in the forest were afoot. A great crashing sound sound later the giant redwood at the center of the forest AKA the NIFTY tilted and collapsed 900 points. The sound of the great crash froze the machinery of the forest, arrested creatures on their track and needless to say took away the nuts from small furry creatures and a great cesspool of liquidity flowed into the coffers of the grand masters who had opened the sluice gates wide believing they shall receive.


In a few moments it was all over. The NIFTY rose again towering above all the puny trees as if nothing had happened and the whole episode was forgotten and the market creatures went about their way as if nothing had happened.



Much more likely is a downward move which grinds down slowly to the bottom of the “Flash Crash”.

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I am short from yesterday onwards (two full contracts) from where price almost touched the bear trend line. Close is close enough.

The stop is above the top of the "Flash Crash". If that is exceeded without the price falling below 5400, which is likely too in this secular bull market then I will stopped out and will further be long.


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The major trend seems upwards, but charts morph in the fog.


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The great picture, useful to the surveyor, perhaps immediately not much for the aspiring trader
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NIFTY's downfall

Humbly captured full move.

Its just a statistic so must not become bloated.

To clear my head I have sold everything and am sitting on my hands for clarity to emerge, as it always does.

2nd target:

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A Slightly Risky Short Right Now

After the super confident short at the top of the channel I find shorting a smoewhat risker proposition now. Maybe I shouldn't have gone flat yesterday.

But now that I did I have taken this short today (see below).

Keep head cool, body relaxed, breathing normal. Stop is faraway because the market does not know where I exited yesterday. It is a logical place to place my stop and I risk giving back half of my profits (trading half size today - one contract).

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The virtue of patience in trading cannot be overemphasized. Ever.

Yet doing is different from preaching.

The law of the jungle eliminates those who cannot wait. And wait more. And even more till clarity emerges. And not only that it also rewards those who act quick when opportunity presents itself. But in order to capitalize on opportunity one must learn the art of waiting. And waiting.

The cheetah is the fastest animal on earth.

But in order to attain its top speed of 70 mph it must be well rested and fit.

More on the cheetah later. The market does not reward scribes as much as it does the doers. But scribing during waiting is a blemish less past time.

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The Life of a Cheetah

Am in Cheetah mode today. Goes against my old fibres, but feel a need to do a youthful sprint every now and then.

This is how my scalp played out:

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The Patience of the Cheetah (and asking for some advice on a mental problem)

"Although the cheetah is the fastest animal in the world and can catch any animal on the plains, it will wait until it is absolutely sure it can catch its prey. It may hide in the bush for a week waiting for just the right moment. It will wait for a baby antelope, and not just any baby antelope, but preferably one that is also sick or lame. Only then, when there is no chance it can lose its prey, does it attack. That, to me, is the epitome of professional trading."

Mark Weinstein

Back to the live NSE India session:

I just had the following conversation with my broker:

Broker: Sir the market is nicely down

Me: What do you mean by "nicely" down.

Broker: Sir, you have a NIFTY Nov12 lot short at 5706 and the market is down at 5620 so I thought....

Me: Now wait a minute. I was under the impression that I had covered all my positions yesterday at 3:15 pm

Broker: NO sir, you had a buy order go through and then you had put a sell order again...

Me: Scratching my head (vexed at my execution, secretly happy at my profit) Weeellll, keep it open. No orders yet.



Now this has happened to me somewhat often lately. I get amnesia at market turning points. I hem and haw and heckle and procrastinate at important moments.

It is almost a subconscious decision to be handicapped when deep inside I KNOW I have to be at my desk and all my senses are telling me 'Be alert. Your systems are going to need you.'

And I am absent. Or doing some menial task.

WHY?

Why does my mind harbor a secret ambition to fail?

The budding psychologist in me once said - You secretly want to not admit you are better than your father. So you set yourself up to fail so that you will always be below him.

(Well, realization stated succinctly above. But has no effect on behavior.)
Problem identified.

Need suggestions to overcome it and get a working solution to be the winner that I know I always was meant to be.....

This time it worked out in my favor. I have lost huge amounts because of this sloppy forgetting / silly execution / silly mistakes / buying twice... you name it. Need help. SOS.


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Last edited by iqgod; October 31st, 2012 at 10:53 AM.
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Seeking Alpha

The end of last month saw trading becoming so predictably easy that it became the most difficult thing for me to stay awake in front of the computer.
First – How had trading become so easy?
Answer: It became easy when I simply followed my plan.
Day in and day out I followed my plan.
I was just a goal-keeper who would wait terse for the ball to be hurled at me by the market. Some balls would be out of reach and I knew I would not be able to do anything so I would be left with nothing to do. But when the right opportunity presented itself I would hurl myself with all my might against the ball and try to arrest its rapid entry into the goal-post.

Until…..
I started off with a capital of Rs.1,00,000.
Followed my plan and the max drawdown sent it down to Rs.88,000 which was the MAE (too risky as a percentage amount but it was stated in the plan that the MAE is 25% on one trade – I know the risk managers there are shaking their heads with disapproval) and then the capital finally rose to Rs.1,48,000 and almost hovered at the 150% magical mark.

Then two things happened:

1. The success went to my head
2. Something inside me awoke and tried to kill me. Some deep psychological barrier.

The first thing was simply ego and I could tackle it by being humble, helpful and continuing good karma (one of my belief systems).

The first thing also causes me to start outguessing the market, thinking I am smart. It thus attacks my performance at the point I am feeling most sublime and at points where I lower my guard.

The second thing is what is making life difficult for me.

How?
1. The moment some part of me realizes that I am nearing perfection I at once become sloppy, absent-minded, depressive.
2. I try to avoid doing the things that have to be done in my best interests.
3. I do things that will prevent boredom.
4. I do things that will make my life exciting – SUCH AS TAKING LOSING TRADES.
5. I start finding my day job boring and start trading on stealth and then missing turning points when I can no longer monitor trades and then my performance suffers.
6. I do not place stop losses –watching my trades become profitable INSPITE of stop losses gives me a rush. Example? I was long AAPL yesterday at 588.63 FOR NO APPARENT REASON and then I went to sleep. I was sleeping soundly while AAPL fell to close at 576.80.

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7. I make life into a muddled soup and then I start feeling depressive.
8. Making Money becomes a secondary pursuit – then I further fill myself with thoughts of how materialistic the world is, how we waste life in seeking money etc. (though deep inside I know that it is a little demon talking inside my head – the real pursuit of trading is the ultimate path to achieving perfection both intellectually and at many fulfilling levels)
9. To top it all, I technically KNOW the market is going to XXX level (and am right in HINDSIGHT) but everything inside me talks me out of taking the trade –
a. What if I cannot monitor it?
b. What if I take it and it is a loser – won’t it add to my image as a failure?
c. What if I take it and it wins – what is the purpose of stealing somebody else’s money in this world? (images of a crying loser somewhere out there – that’s the demon speaking and not me – deep inside I know that loser clicked with his own hands and exited at a loss with his own hands and PLAYED with his own money willfully and I have WON the money as a RIGHTFUL acquisition – it is in my possession because I did what he did not do i.e. researched and studied for thousands and thousands of hours, backtested, executed without faltering AFTER determining the point where I would be wrong, placed a stop-loss at the point where the market would prove me wrong, exited at a correct place with no other emotion that being correct this time, Rinse. Repeat.)
The result of both these things is that I avoid following my plan.

Sigh. I know many would now rush in to suggest Tradings Aanonymous at this point. But that is not the point. I run trading as a business…. Till this point kicks in. I believe that once I snarl and trap that furry little devil inside me (and he has been kicking and alive for a long time) who make this happen I will be well on my way to full-time trading success. Right now I also believe that there is no pyscho-wand that will take the debris outside me and make life smooth. I believe that clearing the debris is nothing but hard hard work, long hours of toil and endless backtesting, endless learning and while seeking perfection ACCEPTING that there is none and yet continuing on the path.

This journal then is not REALLY about the fog that is on the right edge of the market. It is more about the fog that sets within which is conspicuously absent while looking through crystal clear eyes of hindsight post facto closing a trade.

Staying focused when the fog sets in is a difficult thing to do. But pushing forward in the desired pre-determined direction is the only thing that will help me stay on course till the fog lifts.

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Posting Charts of Trades Completed Today


From today onwards I will be going into to explain my methodology (essentially the method is a combination of Al Brooks Price Action and Wyckoff Theory optimized for Pinbars) in great depth.


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Because of the great depth part the commentary needs editing and will be coming soon.

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