View Full Version : A proverb about cross training

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08-22-2000, 05:15 PM
hey all- I saw something about cross-training, in which a well known sensei said:

"A hunter who chases two rabbits will catch neither."

I don't remember if he was referring to cross training, but I'd say it applies pretty well.

Thoughts or opinions, anyone?



08-22-2000, 05:22 PM
A friend of mine who heard that aphorism responded, "But, I'm not interested in catching the rabbits. It's the chasing part that interests me."

-- Jun

08-22-2000, 08:34 PM
I was the one who made the comment about cross training, and believe me, I heard the parable you quote more than once when I started (interestingly, only from my TKD instructor, not from my aikido sensei, who also holds a 4th degree dan rank in Tang Soo Do). While I agree with Jun that the chase is what matters (this is "the way," it is not "the destination"), I also say that the hunter that catches neither rabbit is a poor hunter.

All martial arts are courses running generally to the same place (we've all seen pictures comparing old judo masters with O'sensei late in his life - both performing nearly identical throws; and going beyond physical techniques with the other arts to concentrate on what they try to do with us internally)... so I find that both of my rabbits are nicely running in the same direction.

I just make sure that as much as I can, I leave the one at the door when I enter the training facility of the other.


08-22-2000, 09:39 PM
I think the saying was "there are many paths at the base of the mountain but the all lead to the top".

"A hunter who chases two rabbits will catch neither."
I am pretty sure there is only one rabbit because it is really hard to find a unique martial art. What I am trying to say is that martial arts share so many techniques the only thing that seperates them is the martial artist and how she/he is taught to use the art.

I like to think martial arts as martial stategies. An aikidoist uses absolute defence to ensure the effectiveness of the art. Any attempt to be aggressive may expose weaknesses in the array of martial techniques used in aikido.

Any comments?

08-22-2000, 09:42 PM
Do people think it's actually possible to "catch the rabbit"? I don't.

-- Jun

08-22-2000, 10:10 PM
Hmmm, we have to decide what the rabbit is... because I don't think that any serious martial artist would say that catching the rabbit is possible when it represents the perfection of the art in the person. So since the altruism seems to indicate that rabbits can be caught one at a time, perhaps we need to think of the rabbit as the goals that we set for ourselves within the art.


08-22-2000, 11:00 PM
I believe that I have caught the rabbit every time I step onto the mat. The effort itself is the prize I seek, therefore I always obtain it.


08-23-2000, 02:26 AM
akiy wrote:
Do people think it's actually possible to "catch the rabbit"? I don't.

-- Jun
maybe, but how about "Senshin ichi i" (single-mindness/wholeheartness)?
I personally think that you have to choose one way/road to start "the catch". Eitherwise, you will not even be getting started...

08-23-2000, 03:23 AM
Victor wrote:
I personally think that you have to choose one way/road to start "the catch". Eitherwise, you will not even be getting started... [/B]

According to my experience (not really enough to advise smth) the best way is to achieve some results in one MA and only then try to get smth from another one. I know many people that have been studying MA all their life without any visible (or sensible) result because of jumping from one thing to another. They can talk a lot about energy, sixth sense, meditation, temishevari, self-defense and so on... And that's all they got.

08-23-2000, 04:56 AM
There are some shihans-geniuses like Omura shihan (8 dan Aikido Hombu): he is also a shihan of Karate-do Shotokan (if I can remember correctly)...

=>If you practice constantly, you can get very high results.

[Edited by Victor on August 23, 2000 at 05:10am]

08-23-2000, 07:06 AM
Which leads us to the age old question....How many aikidoka does it take to catch two rabbits?...and are "lucky" rabbits feet the result of an over-applied nikyo?

08-23-2000, 07:54 AM
But the question still remains: can concurrent cross-training in another art help us or will it only confuse us?

Speaking from personal experience, I started my TKD and aikido three days apart. It amounted to trying different arts to see what felt right to me, and arriving at the conclusion that I enjoyed both arts at both places. I trained six days a week for a long time (3 in each), and I'm still training in both. I think without a strong focus and effort to learn what is being taught - and a good deal of available free time - it's easy for the new student to get in over their head.


08-23-2000, 08:51 AM
Magma wrote:
But the question still remains: can concurrent cross-training in another art help us or will it only confuse us?
I think it really depends on the person and the way that they train.

Cross-training doesn't necessarily mean that you're waffling between two activities. Many atheletes cross-train in order to enhance their performance in their "main" sport. Many martial artists do the same by going to different arts and looking at it, for example, with an aikidoka's eyes. This doesn't mean that they necessarily come to the art with preconceptions and expectations but rather think about it in terms of aikido.

There are plenty of people I know in aikido who dabble in jujutsu, judo, karate, iaido, jodo, and other arts; I've had a bit of experience in all of the above while or before doing aikido and believe it's provided me with tools and ways of thinking that has helped my aikido.

-- Jun

Chuck Clark
08-23-2000, 07:54 PM
In my experience, one of the problems with the way some people cross train is that they try to practice arts which are very different or even opposing each other in basic philosophy, principles, and strategy.

High level teachers often will tell you the proverb of chasing two rabbits because you are not really learning past a certain point in either art.

At some point the budoka should become the embodiment of the art. Their intuitive, creative decision making should reflect the essence of the art. If you have conflicting training, then you must stop (for however briefly) and decide which action to take. This means you'll never reach high level in both.

Of course if you're not training with a teacher of this level then the chance you'll get there on your own is very slim. There's also the difficulty in training at a high level with different teachers. They like to have total commitment from students who are likely to progress to the higher levels. Understandable.

I have seen many people get to shodan or nidan in two or three arts and think that adds up to the sum of all the dan ranks. T'aint so! However, if you have reached yondan or higher in one art, it is possible to transfer much of the higher level knowledge to another art. However, I think it's still better to train in arts which have similar principles.

[Edited by Chuck Clark on August 23, 2000 at 07:57pm]

08-24-2000, 02:16 PM
There have been moments in my training as both uke and nage in which I have felt the fur in my hands. After a heartbeat or two, old "Bugs" slips through his portable hole and it is "Wabbit Season" again.
Yo-Jimbo, Samuri Rabbit (tm)