Open Mindedness

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by bigfootsquatch, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. bigfootsquatch

    bigfootsquatch Purple Belt

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    In regards to studying other styles, how open minded should one person be? Many people jump from style to style and build up a large knowledge of what I consider confusion. Maybe I am wrong, but I can barely study jiu jitsu and tae kwon do at the same time, much less adding another on top. How many of you guys have been able to study more than one/two styles at the same time? For those who have studied several, doesn't the information tend to contradict itself? Maybe I am just a dunce. I would love to study as many styles as possible, especially judo, aikido, and tai chi. I just feel that there is so much more in tkd after 14 years, and the jiu jitsu looks like a mountain to topple. SO, after that rambling, I'm done. :)
     
  2. SA_BJJ

    SA_BJJ Blue Belt

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    If they are different "styles" you should be fine...ie striking/grappling. Now two striking styles may tend to contradict each other.
     
  3. bigfootsquatch

    bigfootsquatch Purple Belt

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    That's how I feel. Two different styles based on the same methods may have different theories that make it more confusing than complementary
     
  4. SA_BJJ

    SA_BJJ Blue Belt

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    I just really have no desire to really learn anything other than Karate and BJJ. I got a BB in TKD about 20 years ago, then stopped. Started back i n Karate about 9 months ago or so, BJJ about 8 yrs ago.
     
  5. jarrod

    jarrod Senior Master

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    i think it really depends on how open-minded your coaches are. good coaches will be willing to see the similarities in the different styles & draw parallels between them for you. the three you mentioned (judo, aikido, & tai chi) would all be complementary, since they rely on similar principles.

    jf
     
  6. hkfuie

    hkfuie Purple Belt

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    I am TKD, but I have trained in 3 other styles. For my approach, I always consider myself TKD and just adding to that.

    If I find two concepts that contradict each other, I can either decide to keep one or both approaches. I listen to the instructor and mull it over for a while. Often I find that there are some situations where one approach will be better and other situations where the variation will be better.

    For instance: side kick. I have trained in more than one TKD school, so, of course the first way I learned it was the RIGHT way. :) Then at the second school, the RIGHT way was different. I chose to keep both. I know that they each have a slightly different use and I teach that.

    'Course I have to make my students pinkie swear to pretend they don't know the "wrong" side kick when my instructor is around...
     
  7. pesilat

    pesilat 3rd Black Belt

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    I think open mindedness is great. I don't someone who jumps from system to system is necessarily open minded, though. More often than not they are simply confused or unwilling to commit to the "dirt time" it takes to actually get good.

    I think open mindedness is the willingness to look at another practitioner/art/system/style without trying to compare it to what you do and determine which is "better."

    Cross training can be done but I think a lot of people who claim to cross train are really just collecting techniques. A technique is all but useless by itself. In order for the technique to be effective for you, you have to be able to get to it in the first place. To do that you'll have to use other material. If all you have is a technique from here and a technique from there then you don't have enough depth of understanding of those techniques (i.e.: the principles that make them work) to tie them together into a cohesive unit. If they're not a cohesive unit then they're not very effective as fighting tools.

    Successful cross training, in my experience, is totally possible but you *have* to have a foundation. You have to have a core. You have to have a primary system that is your bread and butter. Then you can train in other things but train in them with the clear understanding - at least in your own perception - that they are supplemental to your core. You're looking for spices that go well with your bread and butter. When you're training that supplemental material, don't focus on what is different. Differences are a dime a dozen, easy to spot and can prevent you from seeing the similarities. The similarities, though, are the tethers that you can actually use to successfully tie that supplemental material into your foundational material. Doing this, though, requires that you train - even that supplemental material - to a point of having some depth. You dedicate some real time to that material so you can develop some understanding of it.

    That's not to say that a "technique collector" can't have some success in fights. They can but it rarely has anything to do with the techniques they've collected. Usually it has more to do with their nature - they'd be an effective fighter with *any* techniques. A good fighter, though, is not necessarily a good martial artist. I see a lot of "technique collectors" who can use their techniques effectively - but the whole time they're grunting and heaving and relying way too much on muscular exertion rather than on good technique. They may be effective but they're not really "good."

    As a friend of mine put it, "If I'm fighting in a ring and I knock my opponent out with a sloppy technique that's pure luck I win. It doesn't mean I'm a good fighter, though. It means I was lucky and if my coach is worth his salt he's not going to congratulate me on my victory; he's going to drive me into the ground to make me a better fighter."

    Mike
     
  8. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Good points, everyone! :)

    It's not really a matter of openmindedness, BfSq—it's really more about how much data you can process at once. Aesop's fable about the hedgehog and the fox—the point of which is that the fox knows many tricks but in the heat of the moment can't decide what to do, while the hedgehog's one trick always works and keeps him safe—is relevant here. A limited tool set that you hone and practice to keep razor-sharp, and which meets the spectrum of street attacks that are (according to people who study the statistics of such things) pretty restricted in number, is going to stand you in better stead than a large number of techs that are all fighting for space in muscle memory.

    It's also true that if you study the great TMAs in depth, you'll find ranges of technical tools that aren't generally taught or recognized. The grappling (i.e., close contact controlling) moves of Karate and TKD have begun to get new attention as a result of people studying their histories and taking seriously the contribution of the pre-existing grappling styles that fed into them (Simon O'Neil's book has a nice argument about the contribution of Yudo to the technique set that the Kwan founder would have been exposed to, along with the karate they learned in Japan—whose jiujutsu background has been explored in data brought to light by a new generation of karateka). My own feeling is, the place you really need to be open-minded is in connection with your base art: look at it in a fresh way and you may find skill sets latent in it that you didn't realize were there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  9. jukado1

    jukado1 Orange Belt

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    In my opinion it's not about style, It's about goals, Meany people think that what Bruce Lee did was cross train, IN MY OPINION it's having solid goals and training to achieve these goals in the most efficient way, Everybody will have techniques and methods of using techniques that are most efficient for them, WITH OUT SOLID GOAL'S YOU CAN'T ACHEIVE THE RUSELTS YOUR AFTER, As a student you have to find the instructor who comes closest to the goals you are trying to reach, For some it MAY be becoming a good martial ARTIST, For somebody else it may being proficient in self-defense, Yet for the next person it may be a top MMA fighter, Sorry for so Meany words to say solid goals are the start of your martial art's journey.

    Otherwise you become a captive of some one Else's goals.
     
  10. JadecloudAlchemist

    JadecloudAlchemist Master of Arts

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    I studied Boxing when I was 12 or so.
    I studied Jujutsu for 6 years until I came upon Bagua and Hsing yi.

    I am currently studying Bagua,Hsing yi and Tai chi chuan.

    Now the arts I study does it contradict? Yes and no. A famous Japanese teacher told me"master your body movement and you can master any art"
    So I work on merging the arts I have learned to match my body movement. When I am learning the style you can see the form,However in application it is the body acting naturally and free flowing and the different styles are intertwined.

    My training has for the most part always been private lessons. All of my teachers have trained in more than one art so maybe because of these reasons I am able to adapt easier.
     
  11. rhn_kenpo

    rhn_kenpo Yellow Belt

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    I'm open minded and would like to be able to study more than one MA at a time. But reality is that I'm very time constrained and only have capacity in my life to focus on one at a time. Being focused is a necessity, but it also allows me to get the most out of the art I've chosen. In the future when my life situation changes, I'll probably pick up another style.
    R
     
  12. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Having an open mind has nothing to do with it really; it depends on what you are after.

    Nothing wrong with training multiple styles but if you want to REALLY know a style, for example Tong Bei, I suggest taking 5, more like 10, years and train Tong Bei and ONLY Tong Bei. If you want other styles after that then go for it. If you are happy with Tong Bei then why change.

    However if you are trying to understand Tong Bei and TKD at the same time good luck. You will just end up confused. However if your goal is a lot of arm strikes and you want to combine that with strong kicks and you don't really care about anything deeper in either style then again, go for it.

    If your goal is to jump into an MMA ring then I strongly suggest (for example) training BJJ and Muay Thai. If your goal is to master a style pick one and stay with it for awhile (and some styles will take longer than others)
     
  13. hkfuie

    hkfuie Purple Belt

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    Exactly, Exile. I am TKD, but in order to improve the throws and joint locks I have learned in TKD, I went to the people who focus on those aspects: an instructor who teaches judo/jujitsu. I have learned so many great nuances that my instructor who has spent his life focusing on strikes has not been able to share with me. I think Pesilat was saying the same thing.

    Learning Kung Fu: low stances were reinforced, the concept of using your core to generate force was reinforced, but circular motions...ah - new understandings. And consequently better understanding of the circles I see in TKD. I understand the value of circles and also of the straighter lines.

    Great points, Pesilat and Exile, about the addition of techniques really only benig valuable when you are facile at getting into them/using them.

    Where the open mindedness is required is in yur instructor. Some instructors do not want you involved with any other instructor if you are going to learn from them. Also, you have to get past that point in your training where you think your instructor walks on water and no other instructor walks on water. :)
     
  14. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    I agree with Exile. The easiest way to confuse a student is to try to teach them everything at once. This could be within a single style or art. If they try to get everything at once then it is system overload. There is a theory on a number being 7 plus or minus two that is the normal limit for people to handle. This was based upon some study of memory.

    As to open mindedness, I like to think I have it and will work with others. I have the systems I train and teach in, but I am willing to work and learn from others as well.

    But, At my point in my training, I watch more on how people present thr data. The timber of their voice, the inflection, the projection, their body language as well as the content are all reviewed by me. Not to be critical of them, but to see if there is something I good I can do myself or something that hit me or the crowd of students wrong or not well and I can learn not to do that or avoid it.
     
  15. 14 Kempo

    14 Kempo Grandmaster

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    Yes, all good points, but it seems to me that most people equate being open-minded to studying multiple styles. To me being open-minded can all stay within a single style, it matters not how many styles you study. I guess I see being open-minded more as getting outside the box; understanding what it is you are doing, the principles and concepts behind the movements.

    I once heard a grand master say that he does not like to be filmed for the fact that if he does something as simple as a wrist grab release, some will then say "That's how GM did it, that is the way" when in fact that was the way at that time, against that person and it may differ each and every time dependant on who it is, when it is and the intent. This is a GM saying he wants people to keep an open-mind, at least that how I see it.

    Just my two cents ... keep an open mind.
     
  16. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    IMO, if someone is going to cross train, I feel that it should be in arts that blend well with each other. For example, I train in Kenpo, which is my base art, Arnis and BJJ. All 3 of those arts, go hand in hand IMO, and blend very well.

    Is it hard to train in more than one? IMO, it depends on the goal. Like I've said thousands of times before, I could care less about rank. That being said, after training in Arnis for as long as I have, I just tested for my Prob. Black last year. I've been grappling since I was a brown belt in Kenpo, on and off, and I really have no desire to test.

    My goal is not to brag, or run around listing the arts and ranks that I have. My goal is to train, plain and simple. :) For me, there is an upside and downside to cross training or training in general. Due to my work schedule, its hard to get to classes. I have access to noon time Kenpo classes twice a week and I take a private lesson a week. The plus side of this, is that my teachers do their best to work with me and my schedule, so even if its only one class a week, its better than nothing. I still walk away learning something.

    When the time to test comes, it comes. Like I said, I want to learn and improve, not have a 10 page martial art resume. :)

    Mike
     
  17. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    To me, this is the gist of it. I mean, most of us are doing it for its own sake, right? Not to impress other people, or to try to beat out the other person who's our main competition for some important executive job which happens to also require maximum formal experience in MAs classes?

    I've always believed that there's no other satisfaction which compares with the feeling you get from mastering some skill or developing some ability that you've always wanted to add to your own working knowledge. Most people I know who do MAs do them for the same reason that we ski, or play chess or tennis, or do calligraphy or solve logic puzzles or play musical instruments: for the pleasure we get in exercising our abilities in a demanding craft, in feeling our brains and bodies imposing some kind of form and order on the world.

    I think, as I've said, that the great MAs have enough technical variety within them to keep us busy for several lifetimes (if only we had them)... but on the other hand, sometimes crosstraining can, I suspect, help you see what's going on in your own base art in a way you might not have discovered. From the Hapkido seminars I've been to, I've developed a somewhat different take on the content of TKD, and what certain moves might mean, than I would probably have arrived at had I never looked outside TKD. Your house looks always different from the outside than from from the inside...
     
  18. hkfuie

    hkfuie Purple Belt

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    Well, I guess I am not very openminded if I look at it this way: I cross train because I cannot train with my instructor except for once or twice a year. And I have not really been satisfied with another TKD instructor. I have tried other DoJangs and not really been satisfied. I have a direction I want to go in in TKD, so I guess it is necessary for me to follow that path.

    So instead I trained for 6 years in Kung Fu and love that instructor still. I moved and now I train with two different groups here and it gets me involved in a class and I actually get to train and spar with people. That is so necessary for me. Most importantly, the people I get to train with are just great people. I am glad to know them.

    I guess I am saying sometimes there's a reason other than gaining a 10 page resume. :)
     
  19. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    And those are first-rate reasons too! [​IMG]

    Variety and alternative perspectives are bound to contribute to your overall understanding, no matter what the activity. A different way of executing the same skill set, a different group of (great) people—it all adds depth, if you use critical judgment and keep things in proportion.

    It's sort of like eating, in a way: a bit of diversity in your diet is going to be a lot more nutritious than a single unvarying meal that you pursue relentlessly day after day. And a lot more pleasurable, as well. That doesn't mean your core program isn't sound... just that a little bit of outside perspective is all to the good....
     
  20. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Your post saved me. I was putting together my hour long rant with under and over tunes of the one punch kill that my passion seems to dictate, way to often. You have said it all very eloquently, and in doing so, you have saved me, to fight, or post, another day.123
     

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