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Old 02-13-2002, 11:08 AM   #1
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
Location: CT
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 205
Cross-Training: Easier or Harder?

The only art that I have ever done is Aikido, with a very brief study of T'ai Chi which I began at the same time. After a little while, I noticed that little things that I had never had time to focus on in my Aikido class (since at the beginning, I was concentrating on where to step ) were manifesting themselves anyway in my technique. These were things like having your hara facing forward when standing in hanmi, rather than off to the side, keeping your knees bent, etc., which I had been focusing on in T'ai Chi. So my training (which was so short, I don't know if you could call it that ) in T'ai Chi had helped me in my Aikido. However, many other new students in my dojo came from other arts, and had to "unlearn" many habits that they had gained that were slowing down their progression in things like tai sabaki, which were simple for someone like me with a clean slate.

What I'm getting at here is: does cross-training make it easier or harder for you to learn the fundamentals of an art? Certainly cross-training is beneficial, as it fills in the weaknesses of one art with the strengths of another, and helps you to become more well-rounded in your skill, so I'm not asking about the benefit, or if it is worth-while, simply if you think it helps or hurts your progress. I don't know if I phrased the question clearly. I suppose the replies will let me know.

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Old 02-13-2002, 12:07 PM   #2
Dojo: Seiryukan Dojo/Illini Aikido
Location: Champaign, IL, USA
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 46
If the student can keep an open mind and be constantly aware of his habits (muscle tension, etc.), it wouldn't hurt her/his progression in either art, and, if the fundamentals of the arts are comprable, may boost their progress in both. If they bring habits (such as muscle tension) from the old art into the new art, or from the new art back into the old art, it may cause short term problems in their progress, but will, in the long run, not be a problem.

My study of tai chi has greatly boosted the quality of my aikido, most likey not because of my innate skill in learning, but from hearing the same things (relax, shoulders down, elbows in, bend your knees, blend, yield, stay balanced, etc.) 2 extra nights a week.

If I started taking TKD, at the outset I would probably be too relaxed in TKD class and bring some tension into my aikido class, but would eventually learn either to make a division between the two, or meld them into something more useful.

On a long enough time line, my progress wouldn't be impeaded in the least. Nothing can be lost on a well worn path.

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Old 02-13-2002, 01:13 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 114
An outsider looking in....

I haven't taken any arts, other than Aikido. But in our Dojo, I have witnessed and trained with a few different "cross-trainers."
One who studied Judo seems to have the hardest to break his habit. I don't know what style he studied. But he says some of the movements are very similar and he gets all bunched up (Arms not extended, etc...) during technique. He tends to use more muscle to make the technique "work." I've asked him if that's from the Judo training, and he says yes, and it's hard not to "force" it. We have a few others that are TKD (one 5th degree, one 1st or 2nd degree in TKD) and both are lower ranked in Aikido. They seem to have made the transition surprisingly well. I talked with them, and they say that some of their forms are similar to our technique, but different enough that they don't confuse the two. The only problem one really has, is that he always wants to kick from his breakfall instead of absorbing the mat.

I guess it depends how similar/dissimilar the other art is.

That's my 2 cents in American money. 3-1/2 cents Canadian.

...then again, that's just me.
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Old 02-22-2002, 09:23 PM   #4
Dean H.
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 45
Re: Cross-Training: Easier or Harder?

I love Aikido, but am also involved with submission wrestling. The bottom line is that each one does take away from the other; the good news, though, at least to me, is that the arts are very complimentary, and in some ways also very similar.

One more thing, I get a terrific workout in wrestling and find myself all the more focussed and relaxed in Aikido. My breathing, especially, seems to better in Aikido if I am actively involved in wrestling.

Hope this helps,
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