It’s hard…to train all martial arts skills all the time, to the point of excellence. There’s just not enough waking hours in the day.
I know that’s a reality for me. I guess I train in cycles. For many years I only trained karate skills, then, only kickboxing skills, then kata, jkd, stick, knife, grappling, and so on. Many, many years later, now that I feel I have a base, my cycles are shorter. I may spend weeks working just stick, or just kickboxing, and then revert to something else.
That’s not for everyone. For example, someone who wants to master a particular martial art or style, for the sake of becoming a knowledgeable instructor of that specific branch, needs to invest exclusive time to it. If you want to master and teach Shotokan Karate, then give as many of your waking hours to that, don’t do a little Shotokan, a little wrestling, a little stick, etc., especially if you are young.
Create a base, and build on it before creating a new one, or all you have are bases, not edifices.
That’s not for everyone. If you just want to learn an individual and specific skill set, that’s ok too, it just means you can’t claim to be an instructor of Gracie Jiu Jitsu if you’ve only trained the six basic positions, or of Jhoon RheeTaekwondo, if you only know one kata. But you can learn those six positions or any particular kata for yourself, and no one can stop you, or take it away from you.
The popular practice of MMA adds complexity to the issue. Is “MMA” its own martial art, or just bits and pieces of martial arts. I trained in an MMA gym where I was the only one who knew any katas. Sure, they were all training karate stuff like round kicks, as well as punching, and grappling, but very few trained a side kick, a staple of many traditional martial arts, no one taught “ridge hands” or Wing Chun trapping.
Makes me think of years ago when the big argument was “who’s better, a karate guy or a boxer?” That comes up today as “who’s better, a traditional martial arts practitioner, or an MMA practitioner?”
I don’t know.
By default I’ve been in a position where I only trained one martial art for a long time, cause there was nothing else available. As I moved and time went by, more became available, and I was able to tap into more. I’ll admit that myself, being a younger man in this era, I’d probably go MMA. That’s because I was always really doing it as a tool for my personal development, not as a trendy thing, or popularity thing, or an ego thing.
The element of personal challenge and predilection is there in MMA, your strong suit and preference may be wrestling, or striking, or chokes and locks. Also, as a modern plus, I think, is there’s less of this reverence thing for “masters.” You have trainers and coaches. MMA practitioners are less defenders of the faith than most traditional martial artists. You don’t have to believe that your teacher is better than my teacher, it’s about you becoming better. I like that. I think that master worship is getting out of hand. But that’s just me, and I’m evolving with my time and place.
- Karate and Mindfulness (noladreams.wordpress.com)