Is it possible to lose skill from learning too many styles?

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By that I mean, let's say you are comfortable with your knowledge of martial arts, but you want to learn something new just to stay active or compete in tournaments. Is it possible that one day you get attacked, and you find that you don't instinctively use the skills you were comfortable with because you are used to training your new "competition style" for instance?
 

gpseymour

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I don't think so. If you train really hard exclusively for competition for a long time, you'll probably find yourself committing errors in a SD situation that wouldn't be errors in competition. For the most extreme example, imagine WT-style TKD competitions. You see a lot of people in those who don't guard their heads, because there's not much penalty in not guarding it. But there's a bigger potential penalty in that in a real fight.

But I haven't seen any evidence it's a significant problem if you mix them. So, when training for competition, keep doing some training that keeps you from developing those bad habits.
 

marques

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By that I mean, let's say you are comfortable with your knowledge of martial arts, but you want to learn something new just to stay active or compete in tournaments. Is it possible that one day you get attacked, and you find that you don't instinctively use the skills you were comfortable with because you are used to training your new "competition style" for instance?
I believe if we have too much recent information, we may be knocked out before making a right decision. Or due to the lack of experience and confidence, hesitate between this or that move and end up freezing. So, I like to focus on a few things, only.

BUT if you train properly (for what you want), you will react just fine (or not... trained people also fail drastically, untrained people may be gifted...).
 

Flying Crane

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It is possible to overload yourself with so much material that you dont have time to practice any of it enough to develop real skill. You can simply become spread too thin.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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It'll be better for you then just not training at all and not staying active. Doing that, will just cause you to get rusty more quickly.

If you're concerned about it, go for an art entirely different than your current one (if you did savate, try out aikido), so your brain/body wont get confused
 
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It'll be better for you then just not training at all and not staying active. Doing that, will just cause you to get rusty more quickly.

If you're concerned about it, go for an art entirely different than your current one (if you did savate, try out aikido), so your brain/body wont get confused
Everybody made some great points but this one resonated with me. Problem has always been that I can't pick because there is a universe of awesome styles to choose from. Afraid if I train a traditional striking style I would lose grappling edge/instinct.
 

gpseymour

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Everybody made some great points but this one resonated with me. Problem has always been that I can't pick because there is a universe of awesome styles to choose from. Afraid if I train a traditional striking style I would lose grappling edge/instinct.
You won't lose those instincts (trained reactions) by training something else. You'll just gain other tools you can work with. Now, as others have said, you might lose those reactions by not training them, so be sure to revisit that grappling material from time to time.

And if you find some new material supplants an old reaction, bear in mind that it might be because you found a solution you prefer for that specific situation. There are times I'll hit now that I wouldn't have 20 years ago. I still train the same primary art - I've just improved my striking options, and find them preferable in some situations.
 

JP3

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I had an instructor once who put it this way, "When you get in a jam and have to use something in a hurry without thinking about it... the thing you're most likely to use is the thing you've been practicing most recently."

And... it appeared that he was right, at least for my body-mind system.

Lots of MA skills are frangible, meaning that they degrade over time without practice to refresh them. Others don't seem to be. Things like the flying side kick mentioned above... go away with time and lack of practice. Things like being able to evade with movement, predicting a movement pattern int he opponent... those seems to stick.
 
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I had an instructor once who put it this way, "When you get in a jam and have to use something in a hurry without thinking about it... the thing you're most likely to use is the thing you've been practicing most recently."

And... it appeared that he was right, at least for my body-mind system.

Lots of MA skills are frangible, meaning that they degrade over time without practice to refresh them. Others don't seem to be. Things like the flying side kick mentioned above... go away with time and lack of practice. Things like being able to evade with movement, predicting a movement pattern int he opponent... those seems to stick.
Excellent point. Looking through that lense, I guess if my leg shoot was still there when I needed it after 13 years of not training, and I trained it for 3 years after that, I should be ok. That's the answer I was looking for, thank you.
 

marques

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Lots of MA skills are frangible, meaning that they degrade over time without practice to refresh them. Others don't seem to be. Things like the flying side kick mentioned above... go away with time and lack of practice. Things like being able to evade with movement, predicting a movement pattern int he opponent... those seems to stick.

Thats a good point. When not training for a month only (Summer holiday) I was loosing dramatically the timing, which I recovered in 2-3 months. Tactics and strategy still fine after years without training, even when under unfamiliar rules (sparring). Accuracy and coordination did not suffer much still, but cardio... terrible and just hidden by using subtle moves and limiting speed and strength.
 

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Thats a good point. When not training for a month only (Summer holiday) I was loosing dramatically the timing, which I recovered in 2-3 months. Tactics and strategy still fine after years without training, even when under unfamiliar rules (sparring). Accuracy and coordination did not suffer much still, but cardio... terrible and just hidden by using subtle moves and limiting speed and strength.
Getting older is a real thing. Vigilance against it is the only way to slow down Father Time. That dude is undefeated. I'm trying to keep him ina toe lock, but he's always barefoot so his feet are slippery.
 

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Excellent point. Looking through that lense, I guess if my leg shoot was still there when I needed it after 13 years of not training, and I trained it for 3 years after that, I should be ok. That's the answer I was looking for, thank you.
I wrestled from 3rd grade throughout high school. Ive coached it on and off for a good 15 years total (including the off times which are more than the on times). Its like riding a bike. There will usually be a few years between seasons, and the first time I get back on the mat I worry about what Ive lost; skill-wise and not conditioning-wise. Within minutes Im doing my thing again. A little wobbly like those first few pedal strokes, but completely comfortable about 10 seconds into it.

Conditioning, flexibility and strength will all play a role too though. Maintain those and you shouldnt have any issues.
 
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