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Sojourner
07-25-2015, 11:39 PM
Greetings all,

For those that may be aware I made the decision a while ago to stop training in Krav Maga and went across to Aikido and am very much enjoying training in Aikido. I left Krav Maga on good terms and still have plenty of good things to say about it. The reason that I left was that I felt that I was becoming more aggressive in my personality after training. At the same time I had come across some of the philosophies of O'Sensei and why he moved from Daito Ryu and created Aikido. Aikido simply clicked with me and I have been training Aikido ever since.

I very much enjoy Aikido and have no intention of changing any time soon, yet at the same time from time to time I do miss the striking aspects of martial arts. I know there is a whole debate in Aikido about styles that have striking and styles that do not, suffice to say that mine does not - Ki Aikido. Our club has training once a week in a hired hall, we are a small group and its great to be a part of, yet some of our members also cross train in other styles with the blessing of our Sensei. We would like to see the club grow and put on an additional night of training, but its not likely at this current point in time.

My decision has been not to cross train in another style of Aikido largely because I want to take a grading at the end of this year and want to just focus on the syllabus we are being taught and feel that it is easy to become confused in another style of Aikido.

Anyway recently I went along to training in a Wing Tsun martial arts club. I chose Wing Tsun after reading again more marital arts philosophy of Yip Man and contrasting that to O'Sensei which was quite interesting. The first night of training was quite good and I enjoyed learning some of their style of hand over hand techniques in striking. The second night I was there I was questioned about Aikido and shown how different techniques in terms of wrist locks and so forth were superior in Wing Tsun. I tried to keep an open mind and went back a third time and was told that at the end of the month I would need to make a decision on joining and that I would be expected to leave Aikido as I could only have one Sifu.

Clearly I am not going to leave Aikido and the experience has not been plesant, yet it has in a way been an eye opening experience in terms of the idea that martial arts dojo's can in fact be a closed shop if you like and multiple memberships are not permitted. I had never encountered that before, both my Krav Maga and current Aikido clubs encouraged cross training and I figured that was the case across different clubs, which it turns out I was clearly wrong.

I would like to turn the suggestion that a student can only have one Sensei/Sifu/Instructor to the group for your thoughts and discussion? I personally do not agree, yet am open minded to hear what others have to say if you do in fact agree that is the case?

As a side note I would also like to ask those that cross train in a striking art, which one you train in and if you feel that it compliments your Aikido training or not? I have read that Daito-Ryu has become more popular after being sought out by Aikidoka for cross training, although there is not a dojo of that discipline in my state.

sakumeikan
07-26-2015, 03:00 AM
Dear Ben,
To a certain extent I agree that you can have only one teacher however that does not give the teacher the right to tell you who should learn from or where /what you should do.The Chinese guy seems to me to be a control freak.As for Wing Chun being superior in wrist locks I doubt it. It looks to me that the Sifu is narrow minded and may well be motivated by cash.Why should any normal person blindly follow some other person?You have a basic right to follow your own path, full stop.Cheers, Joe.

Amir Krause
07-26-2015, 08:12 AM
A few disconnected thoughts:

A. The concept of own martial art being superior is very common. It does not make it true (unless of course you are talking of those I practice:rolleyes: ).

B. Learning multiple martial arts is not trivial and the readiness for this depends on the person. Personally I found learning Karate on 4th year of Aikido from same teacher was not conductive, where as learning TKD from a different teacher for a couple of years starting at ~10th year was conductive.
Just like learning languages, you need to have a significant base in order to make distinctions.
Further, not so sure everyone can keep to pursue multiple martial arts in the long run (multiple years to decades).

C. Teaching a student who is actively learning in another dojo may be disruptive, as such a student is more likely to ask after assumptions, behave in anomalous way, confront with inputs from other practice, have different goals etc. Hence a teacher may refuse to accept such a student.
I have seen quite a few of all above while learning TKD, and one of the reasons for quitting was the TKD teacher and me have realized I got as far as I was likely to given my own goals at the time.

hope this helps you
Amir

rugwithlegs
07-26-2015, 09:16 AM
I have trained in Taiji as long as I have trained in Aikido (25y) but I would train on different nights, or I would be living in an area briefly that had a school of one or the other. Sometimes I mixed them up, some times the two practices informed each other. Sometimes I would branch out a bit (I move around a lot for work) and I found aspects of some things fit well while other aspects did not. Somethings were just great workouts.

I did eventually have a Chinese art teacher who made the same request of me - after decades of Aikido, and a personal relationship with a direct student of O Sensei. I refused, and found so long as I had money for lessons I could still train with ongoing unpleasantness. I was also expected to lie about my background in seminars and online forums, and I took a great deal of crap. The teacher just happened to have really good skills and teaching ability. The local school collapsed eventually, as no one else would quit whatever they were doing just because a new teacher ordered them to.

There is a certain amount of truth to saying the engrams and neurology of learning two or more arts can at times conflict. I'm not in her head, but the loss for Rhonda Rousey in Judo a few years back - she crosstrained in MMA and did something fine in the Octagon but lost by Judo rules. I'm not in her position, and I don't like training for the rules anyway.

While the devil is in the details, I have trained with a direct student of Shioda and a direct student of Tohei, some Shodokan people as well as my own Sensei. If your teachers won't complain, you might find other Aikido teachers will have some good insights into what you are already doing. Everyone is looking at the same diamond, the different schools just sometimes have a different facet. Shodokan beginners, Yoshinkan beginners, and Ki Aikido beginners have little in common, but Dan ranks are not so different in my experience - the teaching methods look back to the same source material.

mathewjgano
07-26-2015, 02:50 PM
I would like to turn the suggestion that a student can only have one Sensei/Sifu/Instructor to the group for your thoughts and discussion? I personally do not agree, yet am open minded to hear what others have to say if you do in fact agree that is the case?

As a side note I would also like to ask those that cross train in a striking art, which one you train in and if you feel that it compliments your Aikido training or not? I have read that Daito-Ryu has become more popular after being sought out by Aikidoka for cross training, although there is not a dojo of that discipline in my state.

I think there can be a valid point to the idea that it's hard to be a serious student of one art while splitting your attention onto another art at the same time. My limited opinion is that all arts/schools are really just learning/teaching how to use the body with awareness, precision, and power. They're climbing the same mountain; the biggest differences are in the particulars of the instructors (their emphases). This instructor wants people who are going to focus on his form of martial art. Fair enough, though I do think it's a red flag any time someone starts talking about how an entire art is superior or inferior to another and it makes me want to ask how that person could possibly have much depth of understanding in another art given his "either-or" point of view (not that he couldn't).
I have started including some training in a method of Wing Chun as a way to help a friend work on his desire to teach while also helping myself keep active. However, this feels more like collaboration and exploration overall, and he is very willing to ask how my Aikido would inform some response to his form of Wing Chun. There is no sense of competing perspectives involved and that makes a huge difference, I believe. When he's teaching I am learning what he has to teach, but my base art of Aikido will almost certainly inform how I train in what he's teaching, simply because that's what I have spent the last 10+ years ingraining into my body.
Have you thought about forming a practice group on your own? It's hard to show up at someone's school and inject other methods into the mix. It's not exactly respectful, from a certain standpoint, and so creating your own informal space to work in would mean that you could define the parameters involved.

earnest aikidoka
09-01-2015, 05:02 AM
Many paths to the mountain top, but you can only take one road.
Many who will lead you to mastery, but can you follow them all?

Cross training is an important part of martial arts. However, one should cross train within one's chosen style instead of multiple different styles.

Amir Krause
09-01-2015, 07:50 AM
Many paths to the mountain top, but you can only take one road.
Many who will lead you to mastery, but can you follow them all?

Cross training is an important part of martial arts. However, one should cross train within one's chosen style instead of multiple different styles.

Is this really so? What are you basing this on?

Contrarian example:
My Sensei has trained extensively in Judo, Korindo Aikido, and Karate and has achieved high level (and rank) in each (high rand -> higher than 5th dan from serious organizations). He is not the only person I know of whom has gone through a similar process - becoming an expert in multiple martial arts. If you look in M.A. history books, you will find many famous ones were experts in several separate styles.

Thanks
Amir

PeterR
09-01-2015, 08:52 AM
Is this really so? What are you basing this on?

Contrarian example:
My Sensei has trained extensively in Judo, Korindo Aikido, and Karate and has achieved high level (and rank) in each (high rand -> higher than 5th dan from serious organizations). He is not the only person I know of whom has gone through a similar process - becoming an expert in multiple martial arts. If you look in M.A. history books, you will find many famous ones were experts in several separate styles.

Thanks
Amir

Exactly - in the end the Do is a personal path that you forge.

That said the timing is all important. One day a week at three or four different arts is not going to get you anywhere.

lbb
09-01-2015, 09:19 AM
There are reasons why crosstraining can be problematic -- you encountered some yourself, others have pointed out other reasons. Against that, you have to weigh the benefits. Specifically, you have to be honest with yourself and weight the actual benefits, not some theoretical wishful-thinking benefits. For example, I don't see anything wrong with researching the history of a style and learning what you can about the founder's philosophy (insofar as he/she ever articulated it), but if you use this philosophy as a basis for choosing to crosstrain in that style, that's pure wishful thinking. My sensei's not a philosopher. We don't discuss philosophy in class, and if you were to try to find "philosophy" in our training, it would be extremely tenuous and completely opaque to a beginner. If I saw a beginner who claimed to see O Sensei's "philosophy" in our daily practice, I'd know that this person was merely admiring the emperor's new clothes, trying to bullshit him/herself and others.

So stick to actual benefits. Stick to what's real. Be honest about whether it exists, or whether you at your current stage of training have any basis to judge whether it exists. Then ask yourself why you're there. "Because it's fun" is fine if that's the honest reason; you just have to decide for yourself if "because it's fun" is sufficient benefit to weigh against the downsides.

kewms
09-01-2015, 11:43 AM
Exactly - in the end the Do is a personal path that you forge.

That said the timing is all important. One day a week at three or four different arts is not going to get you anywhere.

This. One day a week isn't training, it's dabbling. Actually achieving any degree of mastery requires focused attention over an extended period.

Most of the early aikido students had extensive experience in other arts. Indeed, it's possible that some aspects of aikido pedagogy reflect that: O Sensei may have left out or skimmed over certain basics because his students came to him with existing foundations. More generally, training in other arts might be a way to counter some of aikido's typical "bad habits." For me, one of the characteristics of a "good" dojo is its openness to people with different perspectives.

On the other hand, a lot of people seek to cross train *without* having a good foundation, in aikido or anything else. They seek to fix "gaps" in aikido without having enough experience to actually know what those gaps are. Or they're impatient, seeking a faster road to "mastery" (or at least rank), without realizing that the mountain is the same height, no matter which path you take.

So I think it's important to be clear on exactly what you are looking for, and how you expect an additional art to provide it.

Katherine

PeterR
09-01-2015, 12:19 PM
This. One day a week isn't training, it's dabbling. Actually achieving any degree of mastery requires focused attention over an extended period.

So I think it's important to be clear on exactly what you are looking for, and how you expect an additional art to provide it.

Katherine

Looking back the time I spent dabbling actually prepared me for the aikido training when it came knocking. After Shodan I was literally sent to do the same in Judo - and I like to think it was a very synergistic effect.

Based on my experience I would never discourage some one who wants to explore but you are absolutely right - they have to understand what they are really looking for.

rugwithlegs
09-01-2015, 07:02 PM
No matter where you go, your teacher will probably plan the class for the people who only attend this one school rather than trying to balance training for people who go elsewhere. Injuries from one dojo get compounded, maybe leaving you not training at all, or if the two teachers have the same ideas one week certain joints can be over trained.

The closest I came to telling someone to make a choice - the guy did crazy push-up variations another dojo taught him, (additionally a little rude: this was the "real way" to get strong) then said his wrists were too sore for basic Nikyo (from all the push-ups on the back of his hands) so could he do something else with his partner than what was planned for the rest of the class? Not just once, but consistently for months. His wrists started to dislocate, I asked him to stop, he kept doing it because he respected the other teacher more than our dojo. It was like watching a train crash in slow motion, and almost a relief when he reached a state he was so injured he was forced to stop.

Rupert Atkinson
09-01-2015, 08:31 PM
Some of my best teachers trained in various arts. One of my Aikido teachers in Japan - Omura Hiroaki (retired) - was also 7th or 8th Dan Karate. I chose him partly because of that - there was no way he could not allow me to do other stuff. The easiest way is simply not to tell anyone what you are doing elsewhere. It's none of their business. I am all for training in different arts, and for training with different teachers in the same art. I have been told a few times along the Way that this should not be so, but, I just smiled politely and carried on. As long as you do Wing Chun in the Wing Chun class and Aikido in the Aikido class there should never really be an issue. I have never been kicked out of a place because of it - at the end of the day they just want more students.

earnest aikidoka
09-02-2015, 08:36 AM
Is this really so? What are you basing this on?

Contrarian example:
My Sensei has trained extensively in Judo, Korindo Aikido, and Karate and has achieved high level (and rank) in each (high rand -> higher than 5th dan from serious organizations). He is not the only person I know of whom has gone through a similar process - becoming an expert in multiple martial arts. If you look in M.A. history books, you will find many famous ones were experts in several separate styles.

Thanks
Amir

Personal experience mostly. and common sense.

Personally, I have tried training in multiple martial arts. I spent a year training in kung fu, boxing, kickboxing and general combat. Lost alot of my sense regarding aikido and gotten less sensitive.

Honestly speaking, do you have the time to commit to multiple forms of martial arts? The older generation of aikido had their own martial art experience. They were people who lost to O'sensei in a fight and became his students, therefore multiple arts mastery. In that time, martial arts were a serious business, and people were willing to dedicate time to martial arts instead of work or schooling. Are you willing to do that? Give up your entire life now, take a bag and hop all across the world, training and fighting. Are you able?

Once again, you have only one body, one lifetime, one pair of arms and one pair of legs. Could you divide yourself into multiple forms and master their intricacies? Understand that one form of combat has multiple branches of study and from there, more branches and so on and so forth. To master, you are going to have to commit sooner or later, unless you can clone yourself.

Your sensei is trained in multiple forms. But he is still teaching aikido yes?

And I never said cross training was bad. No sensei has the full picture in regards to martial arts, therefore one should train with multiple senseis of the same style, to understand the variations and nuances prevalent within one style. Not jump from one to the other.

Amir Krause
09-02-2015, 09:04 AM
Personal experience mostly. and common sense.

Personally, I have tried training in multiple martial arts. I spent a year training in kung fu, boxing, kickboxing and general combat. Lost alot of my sense regarding aikido and gotten less sensitive.

Honestly speaking, do you have the time to commit to multiple forms of martial arts? The older generation of aikido had their own martial art experience. They were people who lost to O'sensei in a fight and became his students, therefore multiple arts mastery. In that time, martial arts were a serious business, and people were willing to dedicate time to martial arts instead of work or schooling. Are you willing to do that? Give up your entire life now, take a bag and hop all across the world, training and fighting. Are you able?

Once again, you have only one body, one lifetime, one pair of arms and one pair of legs. Could you divide yourself into multiple forms and master their intricacies? Understand that one form of combat has multiple branches of study and from there, more branches and so on and so forth. To master, you are going to have to commit sooner or later, unless you can clone yourself.

Your sensei is trained in multiple forms. But he is still teaching aikido yes?

And I never said cross training was bad. No sensei has the full picture in regards to martial arts, therefore one should train with multiple senseis of the same style, to understand the variations and nuances prevalent within one style. Not jump from one to the other.

Currently, I barely train in one dojo, so going to multiple places or M.A. is out of the question. But, when I had the time and after I had acquired some basic skill in orindo Aikido, I did go and learn from others, be it other styles of Aikido, some Karate (gave each up rather quickly, those teachers were not for me) or some form of TKD for which the teacher combative mind set did attract me. And I must say my cross training benefited me more than I lost from that practice.

My teacher is teaching Aikido (Korindo), but he also teaches Karate, and did teach Judo (he has a problem keeping a group of Judo, since he doesn't like the competition part, and prefers to teach adults, while Judo perception here is mostly kids/teens with strong sports/competition core).

I don't like the mountain analogy for many reasons:
-> it's not a single mountain., rather a full range with multiple peaks, each unique.
-> each peak seems to have multiple roads leading to it.
-> a person may walk multiple paths at the same time.
So the analogy breaks.

Just like you are not saying cross training is bad, I would not say one should always cross train. Each practitioner has to decide for himself, ideally, after consulting with his teacher, if cross training is good for him at any given time. This is an issue of time, priorities, dedication, other responsibilities, ability, current knowledge, talent, stage of progress and many more factors.
My point is one should not discard cross-training as if it inviolates some sacred rule and must slow ones progress, as the analogy implies. In some cases, cross training may be an eye and mind opener as to own practice in prior art too.
an anecdote: I know of a Karate student who came to learn Aikido from my teacher and left after less then a month, for him, this tiny amount of Aikido opened his mind to the concept of moving out of harms way, and he re-engaged his Krarate studies with this in mind.

Amir

phitruong
09-02-2015, 11:25 AM
question, if you cross training, does that mean you have to cross dressing? or is it that you cross dressing when you do aikido? come to think of it, my hakama makes me look fat. :)

take up running, good self defence art. better yet, parkour.

Currawong
09-04-2015, 06:44 PM
One guy I know did, I think it was Wing Chun while practicing Aikido and it screwed up his Aikido because it was too different. Sugano Sensei had advised him beforehand when asked that it was a bad idea. The reason for this was a totally different approach to body movement as far as I remember.

Karate, Judo and other Japanese-origin martial arts I don't see would have any negative impact, but more likely a positive one. I have one teacher here who studied a bunch of arts, including Karate, Iaido and various koryu and his ability to get into your space and completely take over your body is amazing. That being said, he is a full-time martial artist, so he can afford to do it.

JP3
09-06-2015, 01:11 PM
I trained sequentially in aikido, then karate, taekwondo, muay thai, hapkido, judo then back to aikido again. Getting older seems to cause one to sort of move away from slam-bam activities which were pleasant in youth.

I commonly talk to my aikido students who have a striking or grappling art background and point out to them the obvious and sometimes non-obvious places where a non-aikido technique would naturally flow or fit.