Karate or ju jitsu

gpseymour

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Sorry. I was speaking tongue in cheek. Trying to be dramatic. :)
I know, because I know your tone, Steve (and you and I have discussed it before). I just figured newer readers wouldn't, so I just answered it.
 

PhotonGuy

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It can be, but I don't think it's a good idea in general. I think it's a good time to knuckle down and work harder in one's own style.
I see what you mean, about how after you get your first black belt in your first style its a good idea to knuckle down and work even harder in that first style but some time during your training, I believe its always a good idea to explore other styles and to take up another style or styles in addition to the first one. As to when somebody starts training in a second style, that varies from person to person but some people start from the very beginning. For instance in a martial arts school that teaches both Judo and Karate, somebody who has never done martial arts before and is starting for their first time might sign up for both Judo and Karate and might start training in both right away. Some people don't start a second style until well after they get a black belt in their first style and then there's people who start a second style at all different stages in between. As for me, I think its a good idea to at least start learning a second style once you get a brown belt in your first style. Although I had some knowledge of other styles prior to that it was when I was a brown belt that I started really exploring other styles and I took up a second style of Judo. We both agree that after you get a black belt in your first style that that's when the real work begins, that's when the real training begins, that's when the real fun begins. Every style has it's strengths and weaknesses and no style is perfect so I like to be well rounded. So I think its a good idea to start training in a second style sometime before that since after you make a black belt in your first style you will no doubt start putting more into that first style and not focus so much on other styles but if you've already trained in them than you at least have some knowledge and skill in those other styles.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I see what you mean, about how after you get your first black belt in your first style its a good idea to knuckle down and work even harder in that first style but some time during your training, I believe its always a good idea to explore other styles and to take up another style or styles in addition to the first one. As to when somebody starts training in a second style, that varies from person to person but some people start from the very beginning. For instance in a martial arts school that teaches both Judo and Karate, somebody who has never done martial arts before and is starting for their first time might sign up for both Judo and Karate and might start training in both right away. Some people don't start a second style until well after they get a black belt in their first style and then there's people who start a second style at all different stages in between. As for me, I think its a good idea to at least start learning a second style once you get a brown belt in your first style. Although I had some knowledge of other styles prior to that it was when I was a brown belt that I started really exploring other styles and I took up a second style of Judo. We both agree that after you get a black belt in your first style that that's when the real work begins, that's when the real training begins, that's when the real fun begins. Every style has it's strengths and weaknesses and no style is perfect so I like to be well rounded. So I think its a good idea to start training in a second style sometime before that since after you make a black belt in your first style you will no doubt start putting more into that first style and not focus so much on other styles but if you've already trained in them than you at least have some knowledge and skill in those other styles.

I think it takes a lifetime to even come close to mastering one style if one is serious about it. There is no time to be learning another art without neglecting the first.

I'm not saying to avoid picking up a couple techniques, etc, on a semi-casual basis. I am always open to trying something new, trying to adopt a technique that I've seen that works well, etc. But I have one 'art' and no time for anything else. If I work on this one art for the rest of my life, I might become semi-proficient at that one art.

I'd rather not be a jack of all trades.
 

JR 137

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The best "cross-training" I did was when I was in college. I continued to take class at the dojo an hour and a half away, but couldn't make it there more than twice a week. We had a martial arts club on campus. It was entirely run by students; we'd take turn leading class in an informal manner. There were people from several different styles of MA, and it was great to see how things were done. There was no rank nonsense. Most of us sparred, and sparred pretty hard (in a good way). Not sure if we were technically allowed to spar, but no one complained nor got hurt.

And I joined the boxing club. It was run by a former low-level pro. There were a lot of people there just for the workout and didn't want any sparring. There were a few of us who did spar. 3 or 4 of the guys had previous experience and amateur fights, and 2 of them still fought.

And it was all free (or included in tuition). I miss college.
 

gpseymour

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I think it takes a lifetime to even come close to mastering one style if one is serious about it. There is no time to be learning another art without neglecting the first.

I'm not saying to avoid picking up a couple techniques, etc, on a semi-casual basis. I am always open to trying something new, trying to adopt a technique that I've seen that works well, etc. But I have one 'art' and no time for anything else. If I work on this one art for the rest of my life, I might become semi-proficient at that one art.

I'd rather not be a jack of all trades.
I think there are two other factors. First, some folks don't want to become masters of an art - they want to develop skill, and multiple arts can do that, rather than the deep intellectual diving into one art (mind you, I enjoy that dive).

Also, exploration in other arts can often lead to better understanding of the primary art. That has definitely been my experience. I've brought training exercises, adjustments to my technique, and even some vocabulary for explanations from other arts.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I think there are two other factors. First, some folks don't want to become masters of an art - they want to develop skill, and multiple arts can do that, rather than the deep intellectual diving into one art (mind you, I enjoy that dive).

Also, exploration in other arts can often lead to better understanding of the primary art. That has definitely been my experience. I've brought training exercises, adjustments to my technique, and even some vocabulary for explanations from other arts.

Fair enough. It seems odd to me to devote the time and effort to learn a particular art and then not wish to develop it further, but I guess I can understand that.

I guess that after the time I have put into learning my one martial arts style, and realizing how far away I am from anything even resembling mastery, the notion of trying to learn something new is anathema to me. I barely have enough time to devote to the one art I kinda-sorta don't suck at, let alone another.

But I see your point. People are different and they want different things. I should have kept that in mind when I replied.
 

JR 137

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Fair enough. It seems odd to me to devote the time and effort to learn a particular art and then not wish to develop it further, but I guess I can understand that.

The ADD culture. People want something new and exciting. Once there's the slighted bit of monotony, they're looking for something else. Forget about refining something, or even trying to perfect something; that takes too long and good enough is good enough.

Not all people, but quite a few.
 

Bill Mattocks

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The ADD culture. People want something new and exciting. Once there's the slighted bit of monotony, they're looking for something else. Forget about refining something, or even trying to perfect something; that takes too long and good enough is good enough.

Not all people, but quite a few.

There may be something to that. But I am also wondering if there is a difference in perspective that I was missing.

The difference is the reason for the training, which I think Gerry touched on. If a person's reason for training is to become a more proficient fighter (for example) or a more well-rounded martial artist, whatever that means, then I guess I understand why such a person would seek to include training from a variety of sources. The focal point is upon themselves, internal rather than external.

My approach is perhaps more old-fashioned, and I assumed it was typical of others; but perhaps it is not. I am not focused on what makes me a better fighter or better at self-defense, or seeking to expand my options and arsenal and so on. Those are all good things, but not why I train. I train to become better at Isshinryu. That's my external purpose. I can't become better at Isshinryu training judo, for example. Yes, maybe something I would learn would inform my Isshinryu in a positive way, I can see that, but while I am doing that, I am not doing Isshinryu. And I seriously do not have the time to devote to both.

I also have internal reasons why I pursue the study of martial arts, which have nothing to do with Isshinryu as much as being on a particular path. In that sense, it doesn't matter what I study, so long as I stay on the path. Taking side roads and detours may be entertaining, but they do not keep me moving on the path I set out on.

And finally, as time has passed, I have become more cognizant of being part of a teacher-student relationship. My sensei did not say I should go and study this or that. To do so on my own without consulting him seems to me to be improper now, in a way it did not when I began training. My sensei would never forbid me to do anything, nor do I think it would be his place to do so; I am a grown (and old!) man after all. However, I feel a sense of obligation and the bounds of respect. I chose to be his student; he chose to teach me. I'll honor that arrangement until told otherwise.
 

gpseymour

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The ADD culture. People want something new and exciting. Once there's the slighted bit of monotony, they're looking for something else. Forget about refining something, or even trying to perfect something; that takes too long and good enough is good enough.

Not all people, but quite a few.
I don't think it has to be that, at all, JR. Some folks start an art and want competency in it, and that comes long before anything resembling mastery. They get that competency, then want to expand that competency in other areas. So, someone might take a striking art for a decade, then find a grappling art to work on.

It's kind of the opposite of my current approach (I take new material to deepen my competency within the principles of my primary art, using it as a container for what I learn). But if I didn't have to work for a living, I'd probably take up boxing for a while. I wouldn't stop teaching my primary art, but if I wasn't teaching, my NGA wouldn't be formally trained much during that time.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I guess that after the time I have put into learning my one martial arts style, and realizing how far away I am from anything even resembling mastery, the notion of trying to learn something new is anathema to me. I barely have enough time to devote to the one art I kinda-sorta don't suck at, let alone another.
I have two answers to this from seemingly opposite perspectives, although they both apply in my case.

Perspective #1: The different martial arts I practice are entirely different areas of study. From this perspective one could easily ask: Bill, why do you spend time messing around with electronics when that's time you could spend improving your Karate? Tony, why do you spend time practicing guitar when that is time you could spend improving your Jiu-Jitsu?

The answer is that we are human beings, not ants, and most of us want to do more than one thing in our lives. It's not as if it's possible to "finish" studying Karate or electronics or Jiu-Jitsu or guitar before moving on to the next subject. Everything we want to do in life will take some time and energy away from other concerns and that's just fine.


Perspective #2: The different martial arts I practice are really all parts of one area of study - how to be a better martial artist. My primary goal is not to be the best Jiu-Jiteiro that I can be. It's to be the best martial artist that I can be. I'm studying a field which you might loosely define as the use of body and mind as applied to hand-to-hand combative situations. That means I'm working to develop attributes and skills such as balance, timing, distancing, posture, structure, power generation, tactile sensitivity, situational awareness, tactics, mental toughness, kinesthetic awareness, leverage, relaxation, efficiency, and so on. The individual arts (BJJ, Muay Thai, Kali, Capoeira, Wing Tsun, Boxing, whatever) are just training tools for developing those attributes and skills. It turns out that for me these different arts offer different perspectives into various aspects of these elements. Having those different perspectives helps me progress faster.

For example, Wing Tsun seemingly violates almost everything I had learned in boxing and Muay Thai about power generation for punches. Nevertheless, @yak sao was able to demonstrate effective punching power to me using the WT method. (Not as much power as an equivalently skilled boxer, but enough to be effective in the context of the WT tactical approach.) How did that work? When I figured out the answer, I was able to take those elements back to my boxing and add them in to my boxing punches without violating the principles of power generation I had already learned - making them even more powerful. BTW - I am certain that many boxers with heavy hands already use these elements. It's just that most of them do so unconsciously, having figured them out by instinct during the process of throwing hundreds of thousands of punches. Boxing culture tends to be less analytically concerned with being consciously aware of the subtler, "internal" adjustments than WC/WT culture.
 

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Meh. Depends on if it is traditional jujitsu that is oriented at self defense. I would love to train in that, and I regularly train Brazilian Jujitsu. I'm not a striker. I did boxing. Just better at grappling. Plus the knowledge works for my primary self defense art...my firearm. If someone is assaulting me...I would much rather be able to take them off balance, throw, trip, sweep...or use a basic strike...than get into a boxing match. But that's me.


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JR 137

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There may be something to that. But I am also wondering if there is a difference in perspective that I was missing.

The difference is the reason for the training, which I think Gerry touched on. If a person's reason for training is to become a more proficient fighter (for example) or a more well-rounded martial artist, whatever that means, then I guess I understand why such a person would seek to include training from a variety of sources. The focal point is upon themselves, internal rather than external.

My approach is perhaps more old-fashioned, and I assumed it was typical of others; but perhaps it is not. I am not focused on what makes me a better fighter or better at self-defense, or seeking to expand my options and arsenal and so on. Those are all good things, but not why I train. I train to become better at Isshinryu. That's my external purpose. I can't become better at Isshinryu training judo, for example. Yes, maybe something I would learn would inform my Isshinryu in a positive way, I can see that, but while I am doing that, I am not doing Isshinryu. And I seriously do not have the time to devote to both.

I also have internal reasons why I pursue the study of martial arts, which have nothing to do with Isshinryu as much as being on a particular path. In that sense, it doesn't matter what I study, so long as I stay on the path. Taking side roads and detours may be entertaining, but they do not keep me moving on the path I set out on.

And finally, as time has passed, I have become more cognizant of being part of a teacher-student relationship. My sensei did not say I should go and study this or that. To do so on my own without consulting him seems to me to be improper now, in a way it did not when I began training. My sensei would never forbid me to do anything, nor do I think it would be his place to do so; I am a grown (and old!) man after all. However, I feel a sense of obligation and the bounds of respect. I chose to be his student; he chose to teach me. I'll honor that arrangement until told otherwise.

I don't think it has to be that, at all, JR. Some folks start an art and want competency in it, and that comes long before anything resembling mastery. They get that competency, then want to expand that competency in other areas. So, someone might take a striking art for a decade, then find a grappling art to work on.

It's kind of the opposite of my current approach (I take new material to deepen my competency within the principles of my primary art, using it as a container for what I learn). But if I didn't have to work for a living, I'd probably take up boxing for a while. I wouldn't stop teaching my primary art, but if I wasn't teaching, my NGA wouldn't be formally trained much during that time.

I didn't mean to say the ADD culture is the ONLY reason; just that it's ONE reason.

I agree with both of your posts. Regarding Gerry's comments about someone starting something new after 10 years... that's certainly not the ADD culture I was referencing. I meant it more towards the people who start one style, and are almost immediately looking to do another one alongside it. We certainly don't have a shortage of newbie posters asking about starting two or more styles simultaneously, with zero MA experience.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Live and let live. I wouldn't start another art until I plateaued in my training, several years into it. But that's just me.
 

Buka

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My desire was never to study more than one style. I never had the intent to explore various avenues of the Martial Arts. But it was like hanging out with a lot of really good chefs in a well stocked kitchen. And everyone was hungry.

Would have been crazy not to see how things were cooked - before repeatedly stuffing my face.
 

PhotonGuy

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I think it takes a lifetime to even come close to mastering one style if one is serious about it. There is no time to be learning another art without neglecting the first.

I'm not saying to avoid picking up a couple techniques, etc, on a semi-casual basis. I am always open to trying something new, trying to adopt a technique that I've seen that works well, etc. But I have one 'art' and no time for anything else. If I work on this one art for the rest of my life, I might become semi-proficient at that one art.

I'd rather not be a jack of all trades.

I do agree that it does take a lifetime or longer to come close to mastering any one style but you also have to define what you mean by style. We all have our own style. As for me I take techniques from different styles and combine them into my own style just as anybody who trains in multiple styles would do that same thing. Even if you train in only one style you do develop your own style within that style. Lets say for instance that both you and me train in Shotokan Karate. After many years and much progress we both develop our own styles within that style so your style of Shotokan Karate would be different from mine. So yes, developing and mastering your own style does take a lifetime and longer. As a matter of fact I would say there is no end to it. Even if you lived to be a million you would still be developing your own style and gaining further mastery of it. But that's not to say that your own style has to be restricted to one primary style. As I said, I like to take techniques and methods from different styles and that's how I develop my own style.

I also agree with not being a jack of all trades but I like to be well rounded. I find it much more effective to just focus primarily on a few methods and techniques, but that's not to say that those methods and techniques can't come from different styles. Just because you aren't a jack of all trades doesn't mean you can't be well rounded. For instance, lets say somebody focuses on just the jab, straight punch, hook punch, elbows, knees, and round kick and that's all they primarily focus on for their striking repertoire. That is much more effective than trying to focus on a hundred different striking techniques. In addition to that they might focus on certain throws and holds that really work for them and by focusing on them they become very effective. That way a person is well rounded, they've got a good base in both striking and grappling, but they aren't a jack of all trades where they're spreading themselves too thin and in doing so being less effective overall. I see this problem particularly in certain Tae Kwon Do classes where they try to teach you a hundred or so different moves and expect you to be able to do them all with a certain level of proficiency. I think its good to know many moves, to be familiar with many moves, but to only focus on a few which really work. As for what works, that depends from person to person.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I do agree that it does take a lifetime or longer to come close to mastering any one style but you also have to define what you mean by style.

I should have been more specific. I mean 'art' or as we call it, 'ryu'.

We all have our own style.

I guess many people do. I do not. I study Isshinryu, not "Bill's take on Isshinryu, with things I added on my own because I felt like it."

As for me I take techniques from different styles and combine them into my own style just as anybody who trains in multiple styles would do that same thing. Even if you train in only one style you do develop your own style within that style. Lets say for instance that both you and me train in Shotokan Karate. After many years and much progress we both develop our own styles within that style so your style of Shotokan Karate would be different from mine. So yes, developing and mastering your own style does take a lifetime and longer. As a matter of fact I would say there is no end to it. Even if you lived to be a million you would still be developing your own style and gaining further mastery of it. But that's not to say that your own style has to be restricted to one primary style. As I said, I like to take techniques and methods from different styles and that's how I develop my own style.

That's OK and I understand what you're saying, but that's not me. I may have a different set of abilities and training level that limits my ability to do the techniques that are part of my ryu, but that's not something I find appealing about my limitations.

I also agree with not being a jack of all trades but I like to be well rounded. I find it much more effective to just focus primarily on a few methods and techniques, but that's not to say that those methods and techniques can't come from different styles. Just because you aren't a jack of all trades doesn't mean you can't be well rounded. For instance, lets say somebody focuses on just the jab, straight punch, hook punch, elbows, knees, and round kick and that's all they primarily focus on for their striking repertoire. That is much more effective than trying to focus on a hundred different striking techniques. In addition to that they might focus on certain throws and holds that really work for them and by focusing on them they become very effective. That way a person is well rounded, they've got a good base in both striking and grappling, but they aren't a jack of all trades where they're spreading themselves too thin and in doing so being less effective overall. I see this problem particularly in certain Tae Kwon Do classes where they try to teach you a hundred or so different moves and expect you to be able to do them all with a certain level of proficiency. I think its good to know many moves, to be familiar with many moves, but to only focus on a few which really work. As for what works, that depends from person to person.

Again, I will say that I understand what you are saying, and based on the outcome you are after, this is probably a very appropriate response.

I am not interested in being 'well-rounded'. I am interested in studying Isshinryu, which I believe has everything in it I need. And whether or not anyone agrees with me, it doesn't matter; this is what *I* study and am going to continue studying. I currently am about one rung up from absolutely sucking at it; this is a huge step for me and I like it.

My approach is more like a person learning to speak a foreign language. Having learned to ask where the bathroom is and where to find the booze, now I'll jump off and start learning a different language because who needs the entire vocabulary when you have enough to get by in? No. I committed to learn the one foreign language, I'll stick with that. If I ever reached the point where I became entirely fluent, then maybe time for another language. With regard to Isshinryu, I cannot believe I will ever reach the point where I have learned all there is to know about it.

I attended a seminar recently where I was exposed to some techniques I had never seen before, which are alien to my ryu. It was fun and informative and I may return for another seminar at some point. However, I don't consider it cross-training or becoming more well-rounded because I'm not going to seriously pursue it as another full-time training aspect. I have no interest in that; I'm very busy doing what I am doing with Isshinryu. It was simply a fun and eye-opening learning experience.

Having said all that, I have read and believe I understand the counterpoints to my statements. I get it. Some have difficulty understanding why anyone would not want to expose themselves to a broad regimen of different types of training, that 'well-rounded' thing you mentioned. I, on the other hand, have difficulty understanding why no one is willing to see something through to completion anymore. I have an art, I have a sensei, I have a commitment to myself to pursue the study of this ryu in a serious manner. I don't need to be well-rounded, I need to keep my nose to the grindstone.
 

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I, on the other hand, have difficulty understanding why no one is willing to see something through to completion anymore.
I have no problem with the path you've chosen (and hopefully my comment above helps you understand my own path). However, I think we probably both agree that in martial arts training there is no "completion", whether you train in one art or many. No matter how long either of us study, there will always be more to learn. That being the case, I see no point in criticizing anyone for "not seeing something through to completion," given that such a thing isn't possible.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I have no problem with the path you've chosen (and hopefully my comment above helps you understand my own path). However, I think we probably both agree that in martial arts training there is no "completion", whether you train in one art or many. No matter how long either of us study, there will always be more to learn. That being the case, I see no point in criticizing anyone for "not seeing something through to completion," given that such a thing isn't possible.

Yes, I understand what you're saying. "To completion" in my case refers to my own completion... ;)
 

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Thinking about it at dojo tonight. If I was going to 'cross train', I think I might try dance. Or Tai Chi. Seriously.
 

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I should have been more specific. I mean 'art' or as we call it, 'ryu'.



I guess many people do. I do not. I study Isshinryu, not "Bill's take on Isshinryu, with things I added on my own because I felt like it."



That's OK and I understand what you're saying, but that's not me. I may have a different set of abilities and training level that limits my ability to do the techniques that are part of my ryu, but that's not something I find appealing about my limitations.



Again, I will say that I understand what you are saying, and based on the outcome you are after, this is probably a very appropriate response.

I am not interested in being 'well-rounded'. I am interested in studying Isshinryu, which I believe has everything in it I need. And whether or not anyone agrees with me, it doesn't matter; this is what *I* study and am going to continue studying. I currently am about one rung up from absolutely sucking at it; this is a huge step for me and I like it.

My approach is more like a person learning to speak a foreign language. Having learned to ask where the bathroom is and where to find the booze, now I'll jump off and start learning a different language because who needs the entire vocabulary when you have enough to get by in? No. I committed to learn the one foreign language, I'll stick with that. If I ever reached the point where I became entirely fluent, then maybe time for another language. With regard to Isshinryu, I cannot believe I will ever reach the point where I have learned all there is to know about it.

I attended a seminar recently where I was exposed to some techniques I had never seen before, which are alien to my ryu. It was fun and informative and I may return for another seminar at some point. However, I don't consider it cross-training or becoming more well-rounded because I'm not going to seriously pursue it as another full-time training aspect. I have no interest in that; I'm very busy doing what I am doing with Isshinryu. It was simply a fun and eye-opening learning experience.

Having said all that, I have read and believe I understand the counterpoints to my statements. I get it. Some have difficulty understanding why anyone would not want to expose themselves to a broad regimen of different types of training, that 'well-rounded' thing you mentioned. I, on the other hand, have difficulty understanding why no one is willing to see something through to completion anymore. I have an art, I have a sensei, I have a commitment to myself to pursue the study of this ryu in a serious manner. I don't need to be well-rounded, I need to keep my nose to the grindstone.

So you sound like somebody who wants to study strictly Isshinryu and learn everything you can about Isshinryu and not take up any other styles. So at least for you, when to take up a second style would be never. Is that the case?
 
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