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Old 08-15-2002, 10:20 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 130
Mixed martial arts

Is it good to train in a variety of martial arts? That is, train abit of these, then move on to another...never really going far into any of it.

Thanx, comments are appreciated.
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Old 08-15-2002, 11:06 PM   #2
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
I think it depends upon what you're looking for. If you are interested in being a real fighter, you have a lot of imagination and drive, and you really want to kick some ass, skipping from one art to another may be the way to go. If you are interested in more subtle concerns - general life benefits from pursuing a martial way, you may never even scratch the surface.

One thing that might be illustrative here is Peter Ralston's distinction between additive and transformative experience. Do you approach the art as something to add to the collection of things that you already think that make you you? Or, are you open to the possibility of the art changing your whole conception of yourself? That is, are you looking to be transformed into something new? If you are looking for an additive experience, mix and match... bail for a new art at the first sign of discomfort. If you are looking to be transformed, I think you'll have to stick with one art for many years and see what happens...

I read another interesting dichotomy presented by Dave Lowry. He makes the distinction between a martial artist and a martial artisan. A martial artist is interested in what the style or school can do for him. Like a contemporary fine artist, he sees himself as special, and the art as an opportunity to show that off - a field to excel in. The martial artisan, on the other hand, is interested in what he can do for the art; how his contribution can be received into a greater context.

I am also a sculptor, so I feel like I get my hotshot individualistic rocks off in that arena. I might sound like I'm belittling that type of endeavor, but I'm not. It is and has been important and transformative for me in other and profound ways. However, I think I am more interested in the other aspects, when it comes to martial arts. This is why having such a lame current Aikido situation is such a dilemma for me.

If you've got the fire and the guts to put yourself out there in the martial artist world, I say go for it! Study everything you can. Be like Don Draeger or Bruce Lee and do it all day every day. I think my martial arts aspirations are a little more modest in scope.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 08-15-2002 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 08-15-2002, 11:32 PM   #3
Pretoriano's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Santa Fe
Location: Aragua Venezuela
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 130
Are you a musician? what happen if you play guitar and play some native, some classical, some balads, and bossanova, and rock, and some blues, and you reach composition and start on some fusion but never really going far into any of it? What a soup!; even it sounds logical that a musician knows how to play different kinds of music why should be different focus on martial arts?

The problem I see is that "never going far into any of it" because when you learn the fundamentals that rules an art you should be able to train another one without any confusions nor complications at all.

These requires you to be open minded disciplined, with a clear focus on your purposes, with an enhanced asimilation capability, the results will be amazing; Is like to have a composed armory, and is your duty to strenth and template the parts and to forge it in one piece.

All these should be done tryng to gather the filosophy and teoretical principles that works on each art and under supervision of qualified masters.

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Old 08-15-2002, 11:43 PM   #4
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
IMHO, sometimes you have to sample from the menu before you find the food you really like. Yes, I beleive in cross training, but I also believe in going far in everything I cross train in. Being a master of one is better than just being exposed to many. First you have to find what it is you want, then master it.

Until again,


Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-16-2002, 05:40 AM   #5
gasman's Avatar
Dojo: Sunyata
Location: Oslo
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 114
if you chase 2 rabbits you are going to catch neither one

having said that, 2 rabbits is better than having just 1
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Old 08-16-2002, 06:52 AM   #6
Ta Kung
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 237
My martial arts career started with Judo. I practised it on and off for a couple of years, but quit when I was a blue belt. A few years after that, I started practising Taekwon-do. After 3 years, I also started Aikido. I did both of 'em for a year or two, but after a while I decided to leave Taekwon-do and only go for Aikido.

It worked very well crosstraining Aikido and Tkd. And my Judo experience helped me alot with my Aikido. So I think it's great to crosstrain, or simply try other arts. Why not broaden your horizon a bit, and see what else is out there. Sooner or later, you'll find what it is you really want to stick with. For me, it's Aikido. For someone else it might be Karate... Eitherway, most experiences are good experiences. One way or another.
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Old 08-16-2002, 07:09 AM   #7
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
I know a lot of people who have cross trained and are very happy that they did. A fellow aikidoka from our dojo is extremely good at koshinage from all his experience at judo. I haven't done anything but aikido, and am also happy with that (the only other art that would suit me would be tai chi). I think it depends solely on the individual and what works best for their personality.

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Old 08-16-2002, 07:18 AM   #8
Genex's Avatar
Dojo: Warrington Seishin Kai
Location: Warrington, England
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 155

I think I'd pick a sword technique Like Iaido or something along those lines maybe japanese fencing? who knows but i'd like to supliment my aikido with it, after all Nishio sensei who started Seishin Kai incorperated there in lots of movements from iaido,

i cant remember who said that a true master of aikido will be able to defeat his/her apponent with or without sword in hand, using the same moves (or something along those lines)

besides it'd be kewl in 5-7 yrs time to be a 5th dan aikido and a 5th dan iaido too i have the ambition and i really want that black belt

like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. - The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy on the Pan-galactic Gargleblaster!
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:43 AM   #9
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 130
there's this popular phrase, which ends with "...but a master of none". can't seem to remember it...anyone heard of it?

anyway, what exactly are the pros and cons of cross training many MA, but not going far into any of them?
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:46 AM   #10
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,003
"Jack of all trades, master of none."

As far as chasing two rabbits go, some people are in it for the case -- not for the catching of rabbits...

-- Jun

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Old 08-16-2002, 12:52 PM   #11
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 40
A little off subject admittedly, but I actually did catch two rabbits once simultaneously.
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Old 08-19-2002, 01:58 PM   #12
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
Music lessons

I liked the idea of comparing crosstraining to music. Indeed some styles of music come more naturally, or an instruement may be your favorite, but how often does a variety of songs or melodies play off almost identical chords?

From three chords I can play parts of over fifty different melodies, songs, and musical compositions, and that is without even trying.

How too, is the structure of movements found within Aikido, or other crosstraining martial arts, lead you into an epiphany while practicing?

Don't let your Aikido become stale because you only see one dimension. Open your eyes to the variety of movements, variations, and actual uses for it. We practice in peace but in essence we have the blueprints of war. Two opposites that hopefully train the better side or your morality to understand the true gift that O'Sensei was leaving to us all.

Training/ cross training is not as important as seeing the diversity of Aikido that opens up from your early years of crosstraining.

Most of the dedicated practitioners that I have met are over thirty, have trained in some other art/arts and are truly in love with practicing Aikido until the day they die.
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Old 08-20-2002, 01:57 AM   #13
gasman's Avatar
Dojo: Sunyata
Location: Oslo
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 114
I think training two systems simultaneously would be confusing and time consuming (you are looking at 6 days a week training)

I trained tae kwon do first, sustained a hip injury from agressive stretching and repetitive kicking. Then I took up tai chi and gongfu which introduced me to the energy arts. I didnt grade high in any of these, but they gave me a good foundation for punching, kicking and blocking. Moving back to Norway there was no tai chi clubs that interested me and I took up aikido. Have stuck with that now for 3 years and intend to get the shodan at least.

The taekwon do training and the tai chi training give me advantage in atemi and other striking. Tai chi has given me advantage in wardoffs and handgrabs, and feeling and controlling ki.

So I chased 3 rabbits, and still havent caught one. But I only chased one at a time.

Last edited by gasman : 08-20-2002 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 08-26-2002, 04:08 PM   #14
Jeanine Perron
Location: Texas
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 16
I started out in Tai chi, switched to Omei which includes TKD, Kung Fu, and Aikido.

My instructors have me cross-training.

I enjoy all the knowledge but I can see how one can be a "Jack of all....".
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Old 09-09-2002, 11:08 AM   #15
Jermaine Alley
Dojo: Aikido Of Richmond
Location: Richmond, VA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 63
Thumbs down Cross-Training in Martial Arts

I think that cross training in martial arts is something that more people should get involved in.

O'Sensei cross trained, and mixed everything together to come up with Aikido. He took the best of jui-jutsu, karate etc, and introduced a complex system of self defense.

I sometimes wonder about the variety of experience that some instructors bring to the table when it comes to teaching aikido for example. Our class system does not incorporate adequate atemi instruction. I come from a variety of different striking arts which in my humble opinion enhance the level of "street wise" aikido that I might have. I think that O'Sensei gave a term

Takemusu Aikido"..infinite creativity. Just think...how creative you can be with a number of different experiences under your belt?

If time is permitting, why not go and study something else at the same time?

This is a subject that has come up in our dojo from time to time. Trying to attain atleast a basic level in a system before you venture out into another dojo, is a really good idea also.

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Old 09-20-2002, 07:16 PM   #16
Roy Dean
Roy Dean's Avatar
Dojo: Roy Dean Academy
Location: Palm Desert, California
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 164
Cross training is the way to go. It adds a lot of perspective to the arts you've studied, past and present.

All the top MMA fighters cross-train- because they have to. The days of stylistic superiority have long passed, and today's martial atheletes can easily trounce a one-dimensional fighter is a MMA setting.

I've trained extensively in Judo, Aikido, Aiki-jujutsu, Iaido, and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Attributes developed in each art transfer well, although specific skills may not. Still, it puts you ahead of the learning curve having a background in another art.

People often ask me why my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu game is so much different than other practitioners, even those from the same dojo. The reason is because of my aikido training. The timing and sensitivity I developed in Aikido allows me to smoothly yield to my opponents resistance.

Every art depends on and develops different attributes (i.e. speed in Judo; sensitivity in Aikido; isometric strength in BJJ; etc). The more attributes you develop, the better fighter/ martial artist you will become.

One caveat though. Don't just bounce from art to art- a few months here, a couple more there. Set a goal of a specific rank that represents a respectable level of proficiency, and train hard until you attain it.

Simultaneously training in more than one art is very difficult. I've done it before, and do not recommend it. Stick with one, achieve your goal, then move on.

Good training to you,


Discover Who You Are

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Old 09-21-2002, 03:08 PM   #17
Dojo: Chiang Mai University
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 8

Roy Dean wrote:
Simultaneously training in more than one art is very difficult. I've done it before, and do not recommend it. Stick with one, achieve your goal, then move on.
I think that really depends on which arts you choose to mix'n'match. I did Aikido and Shorinji Kempo together for ~5 years until eventually settling on SK forthe next 10 years, and the skills learned there transferred well. I picked up SK juho techniques quite quickly because of Aikido, and SK gave me a lot of balance and exposureto randori technique that went well in Aikido practice.

Now back at Aikido, and I see them both as highly complementary to each other. I met many people who cross train in these two in Japan.

I agree trying to mix something like Kyokushin kai Karate and Aikido, though, would be very, very difficult.
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Old 09-23-2002, 10:21 AM   #18
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 48
Northern Shaolin styles of Kung-Fu are both great fighting arts and an excellent supplement to Aikido, which neglects the use of legs badly. The philosophies of both arts match up suprisingly well also...

"Those who beat their swords into plowshares plow for those who keep their's" -Ben Franklin
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