Cross Training Rejection

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Razor, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Razor

    Razor Green Belt

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    I regularly train in the Bujinkan and my instructor, like many who has been in the Bujinkan for a while has trained in a few other martial arts over the years. He sometimes shows us snippets of techniques from other martial arts as well as Bujinkan style counters to them (or just what to watch out for) and is a proponent of cross-training and trying out other styles to learn different things and perspectives that can complement our training.

    I have trained in a few other styles and with other people (only really Japanese martial arts, some other Bujinkan classes) and recently thought I would go and try out something else. I went to try a Fujian White Crane Kung Fu school and was told by the instructor that he doesn't teach anyone who trains in any other martial art because he couldn't teach people when he doesn't know "what they've been taught and why they've been taught it" and that you "can't have two masters".

    I found this response very bizarre. I'm not trying to bad-mouth any particular school or style here, but I found it at odds with the inclusive and welcoming attitude I've found at most martial arts classes. I don't understand why he thinks he couldn't teach me his own style just because I learn something else. I also play squash and badminton and I can't imagine a coach telling me "I can't possibly teach you badminton if you also play squash".

    Does anyone have any insight or comments into this as an instructor? Is this something specific to Chinese martial arts or White Crane Kung Fu? I've never had an issue like this before and most people I've met from other styles seem quite interested, even asking how we do things differently technique-wise in the Bujinkan.
     
  2. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Generally speaking I feel that kind of attitude suggests a certain level of insecurity in what's being taught
     
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  3. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Their school, their rules. But I always wonder how they manage to teach people who don't tell them they've already got some training in other arts.
     
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  4. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Very common in certain arts that have a very unique delivery system for power development (White Crane is one of those). Also, many teachers get tired of having low ranking students not being open to the training and always making comments about, "in X style we do it this way" instead of emptying their previous training and REALLY absorbing what is being taught.

    Many arts have a very unique way of performing basics and their art is built on those mechanics. They want to impart those specific mechanics to the student. What happens in cross training is that you don't learn it most of the time. You will be mimicking that art with the flavor of the other art. If the arts are similar this is less a problem though.

    Lastly, it is a big difference in perception of the art itself. Some less common arts are passed on as martial traditions and the teachers want to keep the tradition alive as much as possible, so they don't want things changed due to lack of understanding on a student's part. There is a "duty" between the student and the teacher that builds a relationship. In the West, we don't really have this idea because we pay money for the classes and view it as a business transaction void of the cultural attachments. Just like at Burger King, we want it our way.

    OR, the guy could just be insecure...
     
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  5. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Green Belt

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    I agree with @dunc
    I have experienced this only at a kung fu school as well
     
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    @punisher73 has pretty much hit it in the head.

    I will add to what he said by saying that when people cross-train in multiple systems, they are spreading their attention and efforts over a larger body of material. For most of us, time is short. When we spread out our efforts like that it can hamper our ability to develop and progress in what we are doing. Some people handle it better than others, so it depends on the individual circumstances.

    But I can understand when a teacher just decides it is not worth his time and effort to try to teach someone who might be distracted by every other shiny object that catches his eye.
     
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  7. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    I think that that only holds true if we're talking about tiny class sizes or 121 training
    If the class is any bigger than 4-5 people the teacher has plenty of discretion on who they allocate their time to
     
  8. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    I'm of two minds.

    On the one hand, it sucks being turned away, especially if your intentions are sincere.

    On the other hand, as a guy that does some coaching, it's way easier to teach a blank slate than it is to untrain/retrain someone.
     
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  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I've talked to a few folks who had similar attitudes. I don't get it, at all. I really like working with folks who've had some other training.
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I've never personally minded students comparing what we do to what they've done elsewhere. But I'm probably not typical for TMA in that regard. I'll often take a moment to talk about what I see as the pro's and con's of what they were taught before (assuming I know enough about it to comment) versus what we do. I got that a lot with a student I had for 3 years who had several years of Karate. He would often ask, "Why wouldn't I just (kick/punch/whatever) here instead?" So, I'd answer that. Sometimes he'd want to explain what he knew how to do from the same position - in his case, because he was trying to figure out how they fit together.

    As long as the student isn't disrupting class with it, I don't mind. It's mostly part of how they process the information - by comparing it to what they know. If what I teach looks like something they already know, they can more quickly grasp it if they know how it's similar and/or different to what they know.
     
  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well no, it is the teacher’s decision to make. Nobody has the right to be someone’s student. The teacher always has the right to reject someone for whatever reasons make sense to him, even if those reasons do not make sense to the rejected person.

    What I have described is a reason that makes complete sense to me, and I would not hesitate to use it.
     
  12. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Hi

    I agree with the sentiment that there's no obligation to teach anyone so it's entirely up to the teacher who they teach and what rules they put around membership

    Personally I enjoy having folks with experience in other styles at class. I learn from them and enjoy the discussions about different approaches etc

    Naturally there are some people at class who don't give a good return for the teacher's time. However, in my experience people who train in other styles are generally on the more dedicated side of the scale & only rarely fall into this category

    People with experience in other styles do often challenge your mindset / assumptions, they don't move in the prescribed way, etc which can be uncomfortable....
     
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  13. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    I always specifically ask what other martial arts, including things like boxing and wrestling, a student has experience with so that I can fine tune to them.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  14. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I've had students whom I didn't mind asking and looking into honest questions because they were trying to understand the strategy behind it. I have also had students who never wanted to really work the material, and would only talk about how X,Y or Z did things. I got very tired very quickly of the 2nd type of student.
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't yet had to deal with the latter (except in kids' classes) - perhaps because I somehow tend to mostly get 40-somethings walking in the door.
     
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  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes, it depends.

    If someone has a history of training, but is not currently training at another school, even if he continues to practice on his own, then that, in my opinion, is generally more workable.

    However, if someone is already working at another school (or three), actively training under a teacher in a system (or three) and they want me to teach them too, I would not do it. They are busy enough. Come back when you decide to focus on what I might teach.
     
  17. Razor

    Razor Green Belt

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    Good to see some ideas and difference perspectives flying around already!

    @dunc insecurity is actually what I first thought as well, but I thought there might be more to it because he seemed fairly confident as a person (a bit full of himself to be blunt).

    As an aside, I've been to some of your classes over the last few years (assuming I've got the right dunc here!) and you and your students have all been very welcoming and you seem to have a good mix of people who have trained in other arts. I think that's more towards what I have come to expect rather than the response I got from this other instructor.

    @punisher73 Interesting comments, thanks for those.

    Just out of interest, what is their delivery system for power development? I realise this may be more difficult to write than to show!

    It's very interesting what the difference in perception is. I never really view it as a "transaction", but neither as a formal relationship. I like my instructor, chat to him a bit and see him at the odd social occasion, but generally see him in the context of learning from him, not really much more to it than that. I got a hint from the White Crane guy that he may be on the more formal relationship side by the way he said "you can't have two masters" because you can learn from more than one person. It just sounded more like a philosophical conflict.

    @gpseymour This sounds a lot more like what I would expect. My instructor answers questions and explains how and why different styles do different things. I feel like anyone being disruptive and just comparing it to their own martial art instead of trying to learn is fundamentally just a bad student and you can get those without them having trained in anything else.

    From my perspective I would try to go along and learn from them, which is the whole point. It would be a waste of both of our time for me to go along and not bother to learn, just questioning what he was showing me!
     
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  18. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I don't mind if people have prior training, but I only teach people who are dedicated to learning the style I teach from me. There's no contract, they can leave whenever they want, but I want dedicated students. I have a small class, it's a closed enrollment. This is very traditional, based on my view of Chinese martial arts. It's not a pick-up basketball game. Fujian White Crane, in my experience tends to be very traditional.

    That said, there are a lot of places that won't care and others who will take anyone's money. If someone spends 30 years learning something, it should be up to them how, when, and if they pass it along.
     
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  19. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    The way we train it's actually great whenever someone brings something new, when it works.

    More often than not with TMA guys it doesn't, either because it's unrealistic, or because they've never been trained to make it work.

    We usually test stuff through free sparring or specific live full resistance drilling.

    As a WC guy I have put all of what I learned through this grinder lots of times. Some emerged out the other side, some got flushed. In both cases it's a net positive.
     
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  20. Yokazuna514

    Yokazuna514 Blue Belt

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    I think this question has more to do with the personal abilities of the instructor rather than anything else. If the instructor feels comfortable and confident in the material they are teaching so that they can take extra time to accommodate questions in this regard and the student approaches the questions in a respectful manner in good faith, then the relationship should work. I think this is very true for many type similar situations that have little or nothing in common with martial arts.

    Instructors are only human after all and they too can be subject too good days and bad as well as how they are approached with these sort of issues. Probably has very little to do with the type of martial arts unless there is some correlation to the type of people that are attracted to particular martial arts. If say, the philosophy of 'x' martial arts is focused on narrow bandwidth on what is and isn't acceptable in terms of movement, it may attract instructors with characteristics that favour this type of personality. Not to say, that they cannot have instructors within the same system that have a wider bandwidth but I think it is plausible to have instructors that bring their own personalities into what they are teaching and thus they will also bring their own openness and prejudices.

    In the end, finding different disciplines to train in concurrently has more to do with what is available to you in your area and how THEY and YOU can make it work so that you are able to do both.
     

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