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Dewey
07-09-2007, 08:43 AM
To the folks on this board who cross-train in Aikido and another martial art either currently or in the past:

In addition to Aikido, I also study Shotokan Karate (not the McDojo variety, either...thank you very much!). I'm kyu level in both, and haven't been studying either for very long (about a year). I spend more time with Aikido...I consider it my "base" art, with Shotokan as a nice suppliment and counterbalance, particularly in regards to the hard striking techniques.

However, one of the problems I'm having is that at times (frequency varies), I find myself "karate-fying" Aikido and vice versa. Sometimes, that causes problems in learning proper form & technique in either art. One of the biggest problems being the shifting between linear and circular movement.

When I ask other students in both arts (some who are "purebreds" and others also cross-trainers), I get wildly different opinions. Some say study both with equal vigor. Others say drop one and focus. Others...you get the point.

So, Aikiweb folks, what do you think I should do? Looking for input before making a decision.

Budd
07-09-2007, 09:16 AM
I've always thought it good to get your "base" in something before cross-training, but I've heard of other folks that were able to segment/box different things at the same time and avoid "collision" between styles. I do think it takes extra work to be able to maintain the segmentation until you build your "base" to be able to appropriately "blend" them. But for some it's probably easier than for others.

Some of the other factors are likely: 1) How much are you responsible for, or "owning" your training? 2) What level of commitment are you making to "getting it" (are you actively training to "get" it, waiting for it to "happen", etc.)? 3) Is/Are your instructor(s) in the loop and on board with your regimen and stated goals?

happysod
07-09-2007, 10:38 AM
Although for me it's long-time aikido followed by another art (as Budd suggested I had my "base"), initially, I also found I had the habit of switching between forms inappropriately, just mainly in the newer art.

The only way I found to reign it in was to slow things down a bit and concentrate on replicating the technique itself, ignoring which art it was as irrelevant. It took a bit of time, but seems to have worked to a large extent. Interestingly, this extra bit of discipline actually helped my aikido as it jarred me out of a "yeh, seen it, know it" so I don't see your cross-training as a hinderance, but it may take you a bit longer to progress doing both at the same time.

JAMJTX
07-09-2007, 11:42 AM
It is a personal choice. It may be more difficult for some to cross-train. If training in 2 arts is making it more difficult for you than drop 1 for now.

As for my own background, my highest rank is in Kuniba Ryu Goshin Budo - a combination of Karate, Judo and Aiki arts. There are other arts like Shodokan Aikido (Judo and Aikido) that combine differetn arts. If "cross-training" was so nearly impossible that the best advice would be to just do one at a time, no one would have ever succeeded and these hybrid styles would simply disappear. But they are going strong.

The biggest problem that I see seems to be stances. In our Yoshinkan classes, I get Karate students who start out in hanmi but keep instinctively drifting back into zenkutsudachi or they keep getting thier weight onto the back foot and leaving it there. They key is practice, practice, practice. And maybe even develop some new kata incorporating your Aikido stance and foot work.

In Karate Kata you are shifting from front, to back to cat stance, etc. Now you have to learn to shift from any one of these Karate stances to your Aikido stance.

Take what ever basic movements you practice in Aikido - the kihon dosa, aiki taiso, etc. (what ever you call them) and work them into your Karate kata training. Learn to flow

Cross training in Karate and Aikido can be done successfully. It may be more difficult for some, but in general is no different than training in one of the hybrid styles. By training in one of the hybrid styles, created by someone who cross-trained, you get the benefit of the founder's/teacher's experience in successfully integrating the arts. They likely solved all, or atleast most, of the difficulties you are having.

DonMagee
07-09-2007, 12:22 PM
I never think "Now I'm training judo" or "Now I'm training aikido", or "Now I'm training Mauy Thai", etc. I simply think "Now I am training.".

Don't focus on the techniques as absolutes. When you think of them as absolutes then you try to relate them back to your other experiences. You are better off just focusing on the intent and purpse of the drill. This will keep you in proper form for the drill.

It took me a little while to understand this. I used to look at it as techniques, and I would get these wierd issues like "Why would you bother with that aikido technique, if a guy was as stupid as that you would just throw him with tai otoshi then make all these complicated movements". However, I soon realized my aikido teacher was saying "Why would you put all this effort into using a judo throw, when you can just move like this". I realized the truth is neither.

When I realized this I stopped focusing on what was the aikido way, or what was the bjj way, or the mauy thai way. I focused on the purpose of the drill, and just kept my mind on that. Then later I look at how that differs from my current ideas on what works, and then play with it in sparing. But I don't think about it as an aikido technique, or a judo technique, etc.

It might make me a worse aikidoka, but I feel it makes me a stronger fighter.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
07-09-2007, 12:28 PM
That's an interesting idea, Don. I think you might have the right way of going about this.

Joseph Madden
07-09-2007, 04:16 PM
:straightf Brian, I think you have to make up your mind about "why" you are studying the martial arts. Are you a wannabe? Have you seen "Revenge of the Sith" too many times. If you want to learn how to kill or maim people, take up a anti-terrorist art like "Krav Maga" or buy a gun. I'm sorry to say this, but in order to be good at one martial art it means training in one martial art. Forget what has been said about how you can cross train, because frankly that's a load of s#$%. It takes the average practitioner years to learn how to do a technique properly and that includes ALL of the senseis you've heard about. This idea about cross training and becoming a super martial arts god like Lee or Seagal is nonsense. Make up your mind about what art you like best and then stick to it.

Mark Uttech
07-09-2007, 05:05 PM
The simplest answer is to stick with one art for ten years before checking out another. I did that with aikido and after ten years, the answer was "try ten more".

In gassho,
Mark

Joseph Madden
07-09-2007, 08:24 PM
Mark is absolutely right. If you have gained enough proficiency in one art after a prolonged period than absolutely train in another art. But not before.

Amir Krause
07-10-2007, 03:27 AM
To the folks on this board who cross-train in Aikido and another martial art either currently or in the past:

In addition to Aikido, I also study Shotokan Karate (not the McDojo variety, either...thank you very much!). I'm kyu level in both, and haven't been studying either for very long (about a year). I spend more time with Aikido...I consider it my "base" art, with Shotokan as a nice suppliment and counterbalance, particularly in regards to the hard striking techniques.

However, one of the problems I'm having is that at times (frequency varies), I find myself "karate-fying" Aikido and vice versa. Sometimes, that causes problems in learning proper form & technique in either art. One of the biggest problems being the shifting between linear and circular movement.

When I ask other students in both arts (some who are "purebreds" and others also cross-trainers), I get wildly different opinions. Some say study both with equal vigor. Others say drop one and focus. Others...you get the point.

So, Aikiweb folks, what do you think I should do? Looking for input before making a decision.

Well, what can you do, you are not as gifted as some are (such as Don describes) but rather limited, just like me :(
About 3 years after starting Aikido, I tried to add some Karate (my teacher teaches both and recommends it). A few months after I was being told my Aikido was deteriorating and I was becoming hard, linear and stiff. So, I stopped the Karate.
Only after about 9-10 years of Aikido I retried to study an additional M.A. at that time it was TKD and with a different teacher. This time, my aikido did not suffer, but the TKd did: I kept "softening the moves", instead of an abrupt movement end, my moves gave the feeling of continued to eternity (the latter is the prefered way for Aikido the way I am taught). On the other hand, in the TKD one could see I had a much more developed concept of location and timing then most of them (including B.B.)

My answer to you is rather simple:
* Some people can learn several languages together without a problem.
* Some people can learn several Martial Arts together without a problem.
* Some people can learn advanced mathematics without a problem.
* Some people can learn to play music without a problem.
etc.

Each has his own gifts, and his own passions. Set your own path based on your own abilities, intentions, objectives and passions. Look for the long run. Very few people I know of, train several M.A. for the long run, on the other hand, some, like my teacher (over 40 yrs in some), do just that.

Good luck
Amir

DonMagee
07-10-2007, 07:10 AM
I still say the problem is the thinking that TKD has to be your instructors TKD, or aikido has to be your instructors aikido. If your TKD was getting soft from your aikido, my question would be "well did your TKD work?" If it was working, then you were doing something useful. If you couldn't kick your way out of a match of tag, well then you probably were right in leaving TKD.

I think it is ok for me to disagree with my teachers. Sometimes they are right (mostly), sometimes they are at odds with each other (a lot of the time), sometimes they are just wrong (it happens). I just let it all work itself out in sparing. If my sloppy techniques are not working, well I'll get a sore face and a couple days to think about it.

One instructor is going to tell you that you need to move more linear , then the other tells you you need to move more circular. Now which is going to be effective in a fight? The obvious answer is both, otherwise one of them must be a load of crap and not worth training. The trick is learning when to move linear, and when to circle out. Even if you never cross trained, you would hopefully still learn this concept.

As long as we think of these systems as absolutes, and think of our teachers as perfect, then yes, you can never effectively cross train. Because when you are attacked, you are going to either do aikido, or TKD. You will not be able to infuse them together and make them both your own. Because by keeping them absolute systems, you have to acknowledge that one of them is wrong and a bad way. If that is the case, then cross training is a waste of time, because why train something that sucks?

When you properly cross train, you are going to find that all of your instructors are going to find things about your style they don't like. The aikido guy is going to tell you that you move wrong, the karate guy is going to tell you that you are soft, the bjj guy is going to tell you to stop standing up, the marksman is going to tell you to stop trying to fight in hand to hand combat, the Mauy thai guy is going to tell you that you need to stop chambering kicks, etc.

The solution is either

a) not crosstraining
b) Allowing yourself to focus on the purpose of the drill, then making conscious effort to try what they are teaching you, then allow it to all work itself out in MMA type sparing and find out what is working for you.

Seriously, I just realized that without MMA sparing, you are not going to have the experience to build your own game from the tools all of your teachers give you. (Well unless you get in a lot of street fights). How else can you decide that this judo throw works better in this situation then the technique your karate teacher showed you. How else can you learn when its better to move circular rather then linear? Without MMA sparing you just can't put it together, so you are back to 1 art being right, and 1 being stupid.

A poor fighter does karate when he punches, and judo when he grapples. A good fighter punches when he needs to punch, and throws when he needs to throw. He doesn't try to fit into karate mode, or judo mode. It just won't work.

Dewey
07-10-2007, 07:52 AM
Thanks so far for the comments! Some are more constructive than others, but I still very much appreciate the input. Perhaps a little more background would help:

The Shotokan instruction I'm taking is through the local university. It's a summer course, meeting twice a week for 2-hour sessions for a total of 4 hours of actual instruction per week (in addition to the hours I put in solo). As such, it's quite intensive, the instructor is quite gung-ho, and warm-up/stretching occurs "off the clock" in order to get more actual instruction time in. The intent of taking the course: 1) it would be a nice formal introduction to karate without the pressure and/or waste of time & money dojo shopping, and 2) it's only $80 for the entire course from a highly credentialed instructor.

My Karate instructor knows I study Aikido, we've discussed it at length. We usually meet up about an hour before class starts to "try out" techniques from each art. It's not, I repeat, not sparring. Rather, one of those: "if I did this (insert Karate technique here), what would you do?" Always done in a respectful manner, of course.

He has strongly recommended to me to continue training in Shotokan once the summer course ends. He has given me the names of unrelated schools/instructors to "shop" in order to continue my study. My sensei (I reserve that title for my Aikido instructor) is well aware I have taken up Shotokan, and takes a slight disinterest in my "adventures" there. We have several cross-trainers in our dojo, so he's not adverse to it...just as long as you keep your arts to yourself!:p

However, as I originally posted, I'm at the point where I need to decide if I want to continue with Shotokan once the summer course ends...or re-focus solely upon my Aikido. If anything, the most valuable skills I have taken from Shotokan are the strong striking techniques, as well as being able to get my kicks above knee-level!:grr:

Nicholas Eschenbruch
07-10-2007, 08:02 AM
Brian,
Don Magee's first post is a wonderful answer that I find spot on, I'd recommend it - if you are sure you can do it.

Personally, it took me about ten years of intensive training to even conceive of the of the maturity, self-reliance, and knowledge about learning processes which I feel his approach would require to be real. I have started cross training in BJJ and ("non-martial") Tai Chi only recently. I love it now, but could not have done it earlier without getting totally lost, still get lost most of the time, but of course that's just me.

The first ten years, for me, were about total (often mindless!) passion for aikido, and it was absolutely wonderful. So, since you ask, I would advice you to seek out the passion really, and try to answer your question by looking at what motivates you emotionally.
And when the passion changes after a couple of years, see if you still need cross training. Maybe, as apparently was the case for Mark Uttech, you wont.

However, be careful not to rationally convince yourself you are on some well thought out training regime when in fact you may just be putting together abstract ideas and practical considerations. (not saying you do that, but its a danger) And maybe your passion is to do both, Aikido and Karate. Its a very thin line.

Good luck

Nick

SeiserL
07-10-2007, 09:25 AM
IMHO, bring your mindfulness (awareness and attention) to the technique you are currently doing. What is the principle and proficiency you are trying to develop?

I try to keep the arts separate and let them integrate themselves later.

jennifer paige smith
07-10-2007, 10:39 AM
I never think "Now I'm training judo" or "Now I'm training aikido", or "Now I'm training Mauy Thai", etc. I simply think "Now I am training.".

Don't focus on the techniques as absolutes. When you think of them as absolutes then you try to relate them back to your other experiences. You are better off just focusing on the intent and purpse of the drill. This will keep you in proper form for the drill.

It took me a little while to understand this. I used to look at it as techniques, and I would get these wierd issues like "Why would you bother with that aikido technique, if a guy was as stupid as that you would just throw him with tai otoshi then make all these complicated movements". However, I soon realized my aikido teacher was saying "Why would you put all this effort into using a judo throw, when you can just move like this". I realized the truth is neither.

When I realized this I stopped focusing on what was the aikido way, or what was the bjj way, or the mauy thai way. I focused on the purpose of the drill, and just kept my mind on that. Then later I look at how that differs from my current ideas on what works, and then play with it in sparing. But I don't think about it as an aikido technique, or a judo technique, etc.

It might make me a worse aikidoka, but I feel it makes me a stronger fighter.

Practice what is in front of you. Eat what is put on the table. Walk one foot in front of the other.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
07-10-2007, 12:54 PM
One question: Why is it that your Shotokan instructor does not deserve the title of Sensei?
I personally have two Senseis: the one I studied Shotokan with for thirteen years, until he relocated in Miami - he will always be my first Sensei, nevertheless, and we keep in touch through the internet - , and the one who is now teaching me AÔkido.
I'm about to have a third Sensei: a black belt who also trained with my Shotokan Sensei is going to open his own school. I just can't wait to fish my old Karate gi from my closet.
And I don't have any problem with that. I have Sensei Patrick, Sensei Evins, and now, I'm going to have Sensei Alix. They all deserve the title.
Now, I totally agree with Amir. Some people are so wonderfully coordinated that they can handle two martial arts at the same time. As for me, I do not think that it would have been wise for me to try AÔkido at the same time as Shotokan.
Of course, in the beginning of my AÔkido training, I had problems with my Shotokan reflexes. I expected it, and I was right. I kept trying to counter a shomen uchi with an age uke block. And one day, during a randori session, I planted a side kick in a sempai's ribs. Sensei Evins, who knew about my background, laughed his heart out. It took a while for me to stop feeling my legs itching during randori.
Do not forget that blending techniques during sparring sessions can be dangerous. You could find yourself giving a kotegaeshi to somebody who is not trained in AÔkido. You don't want to be responsible for a broken wrist.
Sunday, our school was invited to give a demonstration before a big Karate competition. Of course, after our demo, we stayed to watch the competition. Boy, did I want to hop into that ring.
I'd have to be careful to keep my kotegaeshi in control

Dewey
07-10-2007, 01:10 PM
One question: Why is it that your Shotokan instructor does not deserve the title of Sensei?


Believe it or not, he doesn't want any of the students in the course to call him "Sensei." His reasoning: we enrolled in a college-level PE course. It's not his dojo and we're not Karateka...we're just students enrolled in a PE course. If we choose to continue on with Karate after the course, then we can call him "Sensei" and we'd have the right to be called karateka.


Do not forget that blending techniques during sparring sessions can be dangerous. You could find yourself giving a kotegaeshi to somebody who is not trained in AÔkido. You don't want to be responsible for a broken wrist.

...and expulsion from the class and the college as well as the extreme likelihood of legal action being taken against me. This is exactly a concern I had! I consciously have to tell myself to not do Aikido during Karate...even though I can clearly see the openings!

DonMagee
07-10-2007, 01:25 PM
Of course, in the beginning of my AÔkido training, I had problems with my Shotokan reflexes. I expected it, and I was right. I kept trying to counter a shomen uchi with an age uke block. And one day, during a randori session, I planted a side kick in a sempai's ribs. Sensei Evins, who knew about my background, laughed his heart out. It took a while for me to stop feeling my legs itching during randori.

I don't see that as a bad thing so much as a wake up call to your sempai. Unless of course you were told to only attack with a set list of attacks, or was told not to do something explicitly. If you are told not to do something, and continue to do it, I'd say your not being mindful enough in your training.


Do not forget that blending techniques during sparring sessions can be dangerous. You could find yourself giving a kotegaeshi to somebody who is not trained in AÔkido. You don't want to be responsible for a broken wrist.


Again, it depends on the rules you established for safety. In the matches I spar in there are varying levels or rules. Sometimes its grappling only (most of the time), sometimes its striking only, sometimes its both. In the case of 1 and 3, I do not have to hold back on things like kotegaeshi, it is my responsibility to know how to apply the lock, and it is there responsibility to know how to survive the lock. If we can't do that, then we didn't belong in a sparing match under those rules. However, if I broke the rules (like did a wrist lock in a striking match, or did a leg lock in against a white belt where I know it is not allowed) then I am not being mindful and really should not be sparing at all.

It doesn't even require multiple arts to get into this. In my bjj club we train judo and bjj. In bjj we are not allowed to do bicep or calf slicers , knee bars, or toe holds until blue belt. We are not allowed to do heel hooks until purple belt. In judo we are not allowed to do any of those at any time, and we are not allowed to do shoulder locks (with a few weird judo exceptions). I have not yet met a single person who has a problem with following these rules. The omoplata is one of my favorite joint locks. I train setups so often its basically automatic. However, I've never done one in judo. My body starts the motion, but I'm mindful enough to know better and I switch to something else that is similar (usually a sweep to their back). I am just simply mindful at all times of what I am doing. This is what leads to good training. The same is true with wrist locks. I use wrist locks for a lot of things in bjj, armbar setups, submissions from the guard, mount, side, to setup takedowns, to setup sweeps, etc. I've basically been joked at that without wrist locks my game would fall apart. However, I've never wrist locked anyone in a judo match.

At times it feels unnatural to do something, but being mindful of this allows you to not break the purpose of the drill, or the 'rules' (I know there are no rules in aikido, but then again, obviously there are or we wouldn't have this conversation.) A good example is in judo tournament. I take a guy down and get side control. Being more bjj oriented then judo oriented, my main goal is to take mount, or back and setup a submission. However, I know I can win just by holding the pin for a few more seconds. Instinct tells me to transition, but I am mindful enough to do proper judo and not leave my position. The same is true if I get turtled in judo. It is better to stay turtled (something I can stand) then it is to try to roll out of it. Because if I stay put I will get stood back up, if I roll, my best attack (knee bar) is illegal and the match will not get stood up and I risk getting pinned.

This is not to say you can't fight with a mind of no mind. In a MMA match, you are free to let go of this mindfulness because most everything you train (with the exception of just a few minor things) are legal. When I spar MMA I do what comes natural to me and I don't really think about what is happening. When I'm training, however, I really focus on being mindful and in the moment, doing only what is proper within the 'rules' my coach has given me. But if he say it was ok (such as wrist locks in bjj) then don't feel bad for pulling out some aikido, or if he tells you to strike him, don't feel bad for pulling out that mean karate attack. You are simply being honest and keeping him honest. This is good for both of you. But don't be upset if he uses that honest attack to give you a honest whoppin.

I should point out this isn't just me. I'm talking about classes with 25+ people, none of them have these issues. I'm wondering if it has to do with constant regular sparing allowing for a clear head during training.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
07-10-2007, 02:48 PM
I don't see that as a bad thing so much as a wake up call to your sempai. Unless of course you were told to only attack with a set list of attacks, or was told not to do something explicitly. If you are told not to do something, and continue to do it, I'd say your not being mindful enough in your training.

Again, it depends on the rules you established for safety. In the matches I spar in there are varying levels or rules. Sometimes its grappling only (most of the time), sometimes its striking only, sometimes its both. In the case of 1 and 3, I do not have to hold back on things like kotegaeshi, it is my responsibility to know how to apply the lock, and it is there responsibility to know how to survive the lock. If we can't do that, then we didn't belong in a sparing match

When I kicked Sempai, we were working on knife techniques. I was armed with my two "knives" - they were pieces of bamboo - and I was supposed to put into good use the knife techniques we had worked on during the class.
I was not supposed to kick.
Now, the danger is indeed clear when you study two such different traditional styles as AÔkido and Shotokan. Traditional Shotokan does not use wrist locks (if you wonder why, I recommend the book: Shotokan's Secret, by Bruce Clayton). Using on a sparring partner a strange technique - I mean strange to them - that you have learned in another style is both dangerous and unfair. They do not know how to react to the technique to lessen the pain, especially when it comes to them as a total surprise, in the heat of a sparring match.

DonMagee
07-10-2007, 03:05 PM
When I kicked Sempai, we were working on knife techniques. I was armed with my two "knives" - they were pieces of bamboo - and I was supposed to put into good use the knife techniques we had worked on during the class.
I was not supposed to kick.
Now, the danger is indeed clear when you study two such different traditional styles as AÔkido and Shotokan. Traditional Shotokan does not use wrist locks (if you wonder why, I recommend the book: Shotokan's Secret, by Bruce Clayton). Using on a sparring partner a strange technique - I mean strange to them - that you have learned in another style is both dangerous and unfair. They do not know how to react to the technique to lessen the pain, especially when it comes to them as a total surprise, in the heat of a sparring match.

In the case of the side kick, then you were in the wrong. If you were told to only attack him with the knife.

However, there is no such thing as unfair in the context of a sparing match, as long as you are playing by the 'rules' agreed on. If you said "No joint locks" or "No wrist locks" then yes, use of a wrist lock is unfair.

Simply because they do not understand the lock does not make it unfair. Most of my bjj training partners have no aikido training or understanding of aikido, some have never even been shown a wrist lock or ankle lock. When they are thrown in one in sparing, they are shocked, scared, etc. But they either escape, or tap out. This keeps them honest. A good fighter would want to know where his weaknesses are. This is why I prefer sparing with the MMA ruleset, because it lessens the limits I have to put on myself and on my partner. I've done MMA sparing with TKD guys who have never seen a joint lock, it was not unfair for me to throw them with crazy throws (even though they have no breakfall training) and joint lock them on the way down. It was honest and within the rules we established before the match began. What would of been bad would be if I did not have the level of control required to not hurt them seriously while doing this. If you can not control your lock enough to not just shatter the wrist, then yes, you probably should not be using these techniques in a sparing match.

I remember my first introduction to my aikido teacher. He had me try to hit him, he tossed me around like a rag doll. He put me in all sorts of wrist locks, but he had enough control to not hurt me and he explained to me how to tap out. I remember he threw a kotegeshi on me that knocked me flat on my butt scampering away in pain, but caused no damage to my wrist (besides about 5 minutes of pain).

The last time we played, I was asked not to do any judo throws, and to just use grappling with no strikes. Basically locked into a rule set that he could dominate in (standing locks and standing grappling in an aiki like manner). I watched tons of chances to foot sweep. But that was not the purpose of the drill, so I tried my best and got tapped out a lot. Eventually he changed the 'rules' of the game by trying to throw me with a judo throw, we went to the ground and I sunk a quick and fast armbar. He could of said I cheated and broke the rules because he is not a bjj grappler. Instead he respected my ground game and tapped out. Later I threw him with a tai otoshi in a similar fashion. Again no complaints, he simply respected that he was open for this movement, and continued on with our training. He put me in a few submissions I was not 'ready' or even knew about. He grabbed a spot on my neck that hurt something crazy, he got me in a finger lock, and a few others. Again, I was unfamiliar with them, but I was skilled enough that I either escaped, or I tapped out.

That's really what it comes down to. You should not be sparing if you are not in control enough to not get hurt. With the obvious examples of not respecting a tap, or clawing out someone's eyes, there is very little you can do that will hurt your partner in a serious way. As long as you both are aware of "the rules".

I really don't think you can properly cross train without sparing somewhere where you can use all the arts you have learned. But first you have to learn to play within the 'rules' of each art. If you are unable to do that, then you are unable to cross train.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
07-10-2007, 03:20 PM
My guess is that for regular in-class karate sparring, they want you to work karate techniques in a karate point-sparring ruleset. That ruleset probably includes "no holding" or something similar, in which case kotegaeshi would indeed not be a proper technique to use. I'm not sure, because I've never studied Shotokan karate.

Of course, there are a LOT of complaints about point-sparring rulesets out there, but that's a separate topic.

Generally, I agree with Don -- in free sparring under a less competition-oriented ruleset, you should use whatever you can do without hurting someone. Don't fall into the trap of believing you have some uber-deadly aikido powers that you can't practice for fear of crippling your partner. Just take it easy, and know your limits.

Derek
07-10-2007, 06:29 PM
In my humble opinion:

It come down to this:

Do you want to be a sampler of styles and a master of none?
Do you want to delve into the deeper aspects of a style?
Is there a reason you choose one style over another?

As the saying goes, a dog cannot hunt two rabbits at once. You end up with a tired dog and no rabbits.

There are only so many ways the body can move and only so many kinds of techniques you can execute in any style. Is there really a difference between styles at the highest level? Sure we don't strike in Aikido, but I bet the Sandan that hits you feels a lot more like a karate strike than the 6th kyu's strike. Sure karate has a lot of linear motions, but the higher levels evade off line and have circular motions, even throws.

If you are having confusion between styles that you are training in, my advice is pick a style/art and dedicate some time to it, get a basic mastery (aka 5-10 years and a black belt). After you "know" the art a little more intimately, decide if it is the one (and only) for you, or if you need to supplement it.

When most sensei say, "I don't want you training in something else" their not being jealous. They know that its hard enough to learn one art well, let alone be struggling with different arts. How many times have you asked advice within a dojo and gotten different answers to the same questions? Sometimes this helps to give you a different point of view, but until you have your own basis to judge the advice by, it generally just confuses the beginner.

I have studied several arts over the years but am more of a serial monogomist then a guy who "plays the field." I think that if you can devote yourself to one art now, it will pay off in the long run.

Amir Krause
07-11-2007, 02:34 AM
In my humble opinion:

It come down to this:

Do you want to be a sampler of styles and a master of none?
Do you want to delve into the deeper aspects of a style?
Is there a reason you choose one style over another?

As the saying goes, a dog cannot hunt two rabbits at once. You end up with a tired dog and no rabbits.

I have studied several arts over the years but am more of a serial monogomist then a guy who "plays the field." I think that if you can devote yourself to one art now, it will pay off in the long run.

The proverbs are very well known and vry nice. But that does not make them true. As I wrote previously, it is a matter of your own abilities: my teacher pursued 3 M.A. with great passion, he is highly ranked in all three and more importantly - has found his own ways of combining the collective knowledge to make the sum greater then its parts, even though he only teaches the parts and did not create a new M.A. of his own.
I wrote some of my own story above, (Don, you misinterpreted me - I continued with the TKD for as long as I could, which was several years, until other issues forced me to stop. I enjoyed the practice and gained a lot from it, though I admit today, some 4-5 years afterwards, my kicking is rather poor once again, due to lack of flexibility).
I have also seen several other people who trained more then one M.A. in parallel, mostly students of my sensei who studied with him two and sometimes three M.A. I can see the benefits they gain from their studies.

The point is simple people are not the same.
I am not gifted with coordination (I do have other gifts :D ), even gaining my poor skills in Aikido has taken me a long time and lots of effort. As the Aikido infused into my system, I could try other things with much better success then before. If you are like me - you should concentrate on one M.A. (or other physical skill such as dancing) for a long time and with all your passion, before adding another.
Other people (possibly Don and certainly others I have seen) are gifted in coordination and other similar skills. If you belong in this category, limiting yourself to learning only one thing is a waste of talent. Most great M.A. of old and new learned more then one style, the geniuses among them even created their own styles afterwards.

Amir

happysod
07-11-2007, 04:37 AM
Totally agree with you Amir, I'd also say it depended on how closely related the two ma were with regards to their possibility of getting confused.

Don, just wanted to get back to your view on focussing on principles/drill as opposed to technique. It may be I'm just misunderstanding you here but for me its the principles that often cause the problems rather than the techniques.

The gross principles of power generation for a strike (leaving ki/chi aside for now please) and those for a throw (unbalance, then throw/lock) are fairly generic. However, then you come to some of the more problematical ones such as aikido's fetish for assuming a second attacker dictating a "good" position and move say as opposed to modern jujitsus concentrate on one, hit them until they're not standing (then hit them some more). That's why I just try and mimic what's being taught at the time then try out the reasoning later - both moves may be sound but come from quite a different perspective.

DonMagee
07-11-2007, 07:53 AM
Totally agree with you Amir, I'd also say it depended on how closely related the two ma were with regards to their possibility of getting confused.

Don, just wanted to get back to your view on focussing on principles/drill as opposed to technique. It may be I'm just misunderstanding you here but for me its the principles that often cause the problems rather than the techniques.

The gross principles of power generation for a strike (leaving ki/chi aside for now please) and those for a throw (unbalance, then throw/lock) are fairly generic. However, then you come to some of the more problematical ones such as aikido's fetish for assuming a second attacker dictating a "good" position and move say as opposed to modern jujitsus concentrate on one, hit them until they're not standing (then hit them some more). That's why I just try and mimic what's being taught at the time then try out the reasoning later - both moves may be sound but come from quite a different perspective.

I feel that the teachings are going to be at odds with prior teachings every now and then when you cross train. It is important to put aside notions of 'good' ideas from other arts while you train. For example, When I see a guy standing in a traditional hanmi, I want to leg kick him, move in and go for judo throws because everything I've learned in those arts tells me he is vulnerable to that. An aikido guy (like my instructor) disagres with me. Now I could just try it out right there in the middle of our drill. But instead I put aside my notions of what I think I know, and I just do what I'm asked to do. I keep 100% concentration on the purpose of the drill.

For example, If I was told the purpose of this drill was to step off the line tenkan, unbalance and push away the attacker and prepare for the next attacker, I would only focus on doing that. I would not think about how I could clinch and judo throw, kick, punch, go for a takedown and choke my attacker dead, or even do an aiki throw. I don't even worry too much about how what I am learning fits or even works with what I already know. I would just stay true to the principle of the drill. Then later after we were done drilling, I would get 2 or 3 willing partners and have them attack me (with varying levels of resistance) and try doing things I think would work in this situation including the thing we drilled. Then I would try this again without thinking about using any technique and just let what happens naturally happen. This would allow me to figure out how I feel with this technique. I might put it on a back burner and not pay much attention to it for a few months for some reason. I might feel its too complicated and doing X is much simpler, and decide to not use it. I might love it and make a conscious effort to play with it more in sparing. But I will have made my own point of reference.

Of course in this case we are talking about a multiple attacker drill. I do not care all that much about multiple attackers. After that drill was done I would see how any of this could work into the game I'm trying to build (wining a fight in a ring). So you need to take your goals into context after the drill when you look at how this can help you.

There are things in bjj that I would not advise a person wanting to learn multiple attacker self defense to bother learning. The same is true with aikido and the ring. If you want to be a sport fighter, its a waste of time to bother putting any serious time into finger locks. However, if my aikido instructor wants to study finger locks that day, then I will drill finger locks with total concentration. I just wont spend the after time incorporating them into my overall game. But I will know about them, understand the principles of them, and maybe even be able to pull them off against less skilled opponents.

Budd
07-11-2007, 08:06 AM
But instead I put aside my notions of what I think I know, and I just do what I'm asked to do. I keep 100% concentration on the purpose of the drill.


I think this is extremely important - I also think that if people have this attitude - even those that don't crosstrain - they're going to improve much more quickly.

Of course, another part of it is later doing some critical analysis/reflection on you're practice, but trying to do that and learn it at the same time on the mat can create quite a collision.

MM
07-11-2007, 09:38 AM
The simplest answer is to stick with one art for ten years before checking out another. I did that with aikido and after ten years, the answer was "try ten more".

In gassho,
Mark

and

Mark is absolutely right. If you have gained enough proficiency in one art after a prolonged period than absolutely train in another art. But not before.

I disagree with both of these opinions. Don and Budd had better suggestions, IMO.

Why? Ueshiba didn't take ten years to study one art before going to another. Seemed to work okay for him. Several of my seniors didn't have ten years in one art before studying another. Seems to work out good for them. There are lots of examples of martial artists, past and present, who studied more than one art at a time. How else could Draeger get so many black belts?

Actually, I find it kind of funny to propose such a suggestion to a living Draeger. Think about it. It'd go something like this ... Hey, Donn, buddy. You went about it the wrong way. You're supposed to study one art for ten years and then go to another. So, your twenty black belts (I'm guessing here on the number) should take you 200 years.

Doesn't mean you can't stick with one art for a lifetime. But if you're looking at cross training ... then look to those who did it and succeeded. To those who fully implemented that curriculum. Detail their lives (if past) and ask them (if living) their opinion.

IMO,
Mark

tarik
07-11-2007, 01:09 PM
There are lots of examples of martial artists, past and present, who studied more than one art at a time.


Mark, you're taking the mystique out of the martial arts! ;)

My take on confusing techniques is that you just need to practice more and focus on principles.

Principles reveal the techniques and eliminate confusion.. unless, as happens occasionally, what is being taught violates principles and is not actually 'correct' technique.

Regards,

Carl Thompson
07-11-2007, 07:46 PM
For me, the most confusing thing was doing different styles of aikido. I started off doing ĎAikikai styleí aikido (although not part of the Aikikai) in the U.K., moved to Japan and suddenly found that I couldnít find or get into any dojo doing the same kind of thing (I was in Hamamatsu). So I ended up doing Seifukai (thatís Yoseikan) and got really muddled. I did a bit of Shodokan and Tesshinkai which seemed to fit together better, but the Seifukai that I was mainly doing was sometimes in complete contrast to what Iíd done before. I couldnít even sit in seiza without getting a ďdameĒ. I arrived back in the UK with both styles mixed together Ė which didnít usually work out: for example, Iíd have my feet positioned the Seifukai way, do an Aikikai-type movement and practically walk into a fist. In the short term, it was a pain although I guess now Iím starting to appreciate the extra perspective.
:freaky:

CNYMike
07-13-2007, 07:53 AM
..... I'm at the point where I need to decide if I want to continue with Shotokan once the summer course ends...or re-focus solely upon my Aikido. If anything, the most valuable skills I have taken from Shotokan are the strong striking techniques, as well as being able to get my kicks above knee-level!:grr:

Well, whether you continue in Shotokan (or Aikido or anything for that matter) is up to you. Do you like it? That's the most important question. If you don't likeit, if you don't have some enjoyment out of going, there's no point; you won't learn as well if you conisder it a chore.

As to how to proceed with both arts, I will once again buck the tide and suggest compartmentalization --- keeping them separate as much as possible. If you think about both at once, that's where "confusion" sets in (in my case, feeling like my head is going to explode) but thinking about them separately helps that. The best time to do that is when you train on your own, which you should do at least once a week. You don't need a huge workout -- a half hour should do it -- but you should do it regularly. Cycle through some things from Shotokan, thinking about nothing else and focusing on the details. Then go through Aikido, again foucusing on details. It is probably the only time you will because in class, you have to listen to the instructor and pay attention to what your training partner is doing.

Of course, you can't help if things are in yur muscle memory and something pops out. But IMHO it makes life easier if you think about them separately.

Dewey
07-14-2007, 05:50 AM
I never think "Now I'm training judo" or "Now I'm training aikido", or "Now I'm training Mauy Thai", etc. I simply think "Now I am training.".

Don't focus on the techniques as absolutes. When you think of them as absolutes then you try to relate them back to your other experiences. You are better off just focusing on the intent and purpse of the drill. This will keep you in proper form for the drill.

It took me a little while to understand this. I used to look at it as techniques, and I would get these wierd issues like "Why would you bother with that aikido technique, if a guy was as stupid as that you would just throw him with tai otoshi then make all these complicated movements". However, I soon realized my aikido teacher was saying "Why would you put all this effort into using a judo throw, when you can just move like this". I realized the truth is neither.

When I realized this I stopped focusing on what was the aikido way, or what was the bjj way, or the mauy thai way. I focused on the purpose of the drill, and just kept my mind on that. Then later I look at how that differs from my current ideas on what works, and then play with it in sparing. But I don't think about it as an aikido technique, or a judo technique, etc.

It might make me a worse aikidoka, but I feel it makes me a stronger fighter.

After reading this earlier in the week, and then going to both Shotokan and Aikido with your comments in mind...it really made a difference in the positive. Thanks for your insight, Don!

IMHO, bring your mindfulness (awareness and attention) to the technique you are currently doing. What is the principle and proficiency you are trying to develop?

I try to keep the arts separate and let them integrate themselves later.

This also helped me in my training this week, along with Don's comments. That whole "mindfulness" thing I'm still working on. ;)


I really don't think you can properly cross train without sparing somewhere where you can use all the arts you have learned. But first you have to learn to play within the 'rules' of each art. If you are unable to do that, then you are unable to cross train.

I can see your logic here, based upon what you've posted in this thread and others. It's given me food for thought. I'm seriously considering it.


Generally, I agree with Don -- in free sparring under a less competition-oriented ruleset, you should use whatever you can do without hurting someone. Don't fall into the trap of believing you have some uber-deadly aikido powers that you can't practice for fear of crippling your partner. Just take it easy, and know your limits.

Yes, thanks for the reality check. I'm very well aware that my Aikido is not "uber-deadly"....hence my desire to continue cross-training in earnest. I have no illusions (or is it delusions?) of martial greatness or fighting prowness. Rather, I just simply want to be confident of my ability to defend myself if the need arises. Per yours and Don's comments, this will undoubtedly eventually lead me to some form of freeform sparring...which I am now seriously considering.

Well, whether you continue in Shotokan (or Aikido or anything for that matter) is up to you. Do you like it? That's the most important question. If you don't likeit, if you don't have some enjoyment out of going, there's no point; you won't learn as well if you conisder it a chore.

As to how to proceed with both arts, I will once again buck the tide and suggest compartmentalization --- keeping them separate as much as possible. If you think about both at once, that's where "confusion" sets in (in my case, feeling like my head is going to explode) but thinking about them separately helps that. The best time to do that is when you train on your own, which you should do at least once a week...

Done and done. I think your concept of "compartmentalization" is also helpful. Now that I have developed the basics of Shotokan, I have begun incorporating it into my solo workout routine. Recently invested in a heavybag to practice my strikes. Perform the Shotokan katas I've learnt thus far. Do my Aiki Taiso (sans breakfalls), then Aiki Kengi with my bokken. Several sets of each at a progressively faster pace. It's a start.

Chicko Xerri
07-14-2007, 07:54 PM
IMHO, bring your mindfulness (awareness and attention) to the technique you are currently doing. What is the principle and proficiency you are trying to develop?

I try to keep the arts separate and let them integrate themselves later.
Mindfull advise. Wise to consider Mr. Seisers oppinion.

jyoung
07-15-2007, 03:01 AM
just to give my thoughts...

in the dojo i trained at, the instructor would not allow someone to begin training at 2 places at the same time. i think they ran into that same problem that people would start 2 different styles at the same time...and then confuse the two. i've always felt that it is a good idea to concentrate on one art first...until you feel you have a comfortable base...(say shodan, although it could at any point really that you felt comfortable)...and then move on to something that can help out.
for example, i absolutely love ground fighting...i don't get that with aikido....but i didn't concentrate on it at all until i felt more comfortable with my foundation in aikido.
becoming a martial artist is something personal...it takes alot of time and a lot of dedication....and it is something very much worth the while for those of us willing to put forth the effort. so my advice would be to do what is comfortable to you...and ask your instructor for his advice...

good luck and i hope you enjoy all your training!!!!