Speaking from my own experience either you are a serious trader with your $$ or not. Just because I am good at online poker with fake $$$ does not make me a good poker player. Now if I use my $$$ at my friends house or go to Vegas and play and win then yes I can say I am a good poker player.
There are too many factors in trading and to not jump in trading atleast a small account is not going to get you very far. Studying from gurus will not get you far either. If you are serious about trading you have to get comfortable with losing. Once you have mastered your feelings and can master how you trade, only then will you start to make solid gains.
I have not spent a dime on learning to trade. Only sacrificed my time and losing almost 20% of my account over the last year. So far I do not see a big difference between myself and other traders who spend $$$ on platforms, gurus etc..
Trading comes down to 3 basic things after you understand what I said above.
1 - Trade Plan
2 - Execute Trade Plan
3 - Manage Risk - Set Max Stop & Let Winners Run!
And Yes I am still working on following my own damn advice too.
If becoming a Successful Trader was easy everyone would be doing it.