Is cross training different styles of the same martial art useful or a waste of time?

Just curious about this, for example Shotokan and Kyokushin karate, would it be a waste of time to train them both since a lot of the blocks and kata, etc are similar or will it be useful? How could they be used in unison? If I am missing some key differences (apart from training methods and type of sparring each do) please point them out. Also if you can think of any other martial arts examples/comparisons please say so.

What disadvantages would there be to it?

Bookmark the permalink.

All comments are reviewed before publication and all links removed.

4 Responses to Is cross training different styles of the same martial art useful or a waste of time?

  1. Shiro Kuma says:

    This depends a lot on what you’re looking for from your training, and what each different school offers. The fact is that virtually no two dojos teaching the same style will offer you the same training experience; sometimes the differences are subtle, sometimes more obvious. And it’s not just the range of techniques that’s on offer, but also different training methods, different perspectives – sometimes on the same issues – and the cumulative experience of different instructors and training partners.

    For example:
    A friend of mine used to train aikido (he had to quit due to work) in two dojos: my aikikai dojo, and a yoshinkan dojo. As a typical aikikai-affiliated dojo, our focus is more on the flow of movements; while in the yoshinkan dojo it was more about proper form. For my friend, the “using them in unison” part manifested itself during jiyu-waza practice; his stance and movements were more crisp than the average aikikai-aikidoka with the same amount of training, and his moves were more flowing than most yoshinkan-aikidoka of the same level. He was good (and courteous) enough not to let formal techniques from one style show up when training in the other style’s dojo, but he made the core principles of both styles into his own.

    But what he enjoyed most from his cross-training experience was how each school had different approaches to what essentially are the same issues; the crisp, almost hard movements of yoshinkan aikido, and the more relaxed and flowing movements of aikikai aikido. And it’s also who he trains with. The yoshinkan dojo here is relatively new, but the instructor had extensive experience in specialized training for bouncers, and he moonlighted as one during college. My aikikai dojo, on the other hand, was full of people with different martial art backgrounds, from karate and silat to iaido and Shorinji Kempo. So, my friend found that he benefited greatly from having two different approaches to aikido, and two different groups of “dojo mates” to learn from.

    I actually recall some of my seniors training under more than one aikikai instructor; simply to take advantage of each instructor’s different approach to training. Actually, I once did the same thing: Trained at two different aikikai dojos, my first dojo because training there was more “alive”, and the dojo at my campus because it had a more varied student base (lots of karateka, silat students, etc.)

    So, again, it depends a lot on yourself (e.g., do you think that learning essentially the same range of techniques with a different emphasis is useful or not) and what kind of training experience (the instructor’s own training background and experiences as well as that of fellow students, the pace of training, etc., etc.) each dojo offers.

    About disadvantages. Martial art training essentially means forming new habits. Different styles means different habits, and clashes are bound to happen when you’re trying to develop two habits at the same time. Also, you could end up becoming too focused on comparing each style’s advantages and disadvantages, and end up missing the whole point of training.

  2. pugpaws2 says:

    Would you be better off to learn two things half way, or one very well? Your background and experience level will have a great deal to do with this as well. If you are a beginner or intermediate level student, doing two arts is likely to cause nearly as much confusion as the benefits you gain. For over 43 years I have experienced and observed other training in more than one style at a time. 99% of all students have their hands full learning just one style correctly. Classes are often to short to teach much these days. In the 1960’s we often trained for several hours a class. Still it was all we could do to get better. Also the quality and level of knowledge that is taught has a lot of do with how effective students become.

  3. jwbulldogs says:

    Is it a waste of time? No.
    Is it necessary? No
    Is it useful? Maybe. That depends on the individual.

    I can train for 20 plus years in one art or several arts. They will not be useful if I do not use it when it is needed. It is only useful if I used it when there is a need for it. The only other way it is useful is for the health benefit of exercise.

    I purchased an hydraulic jack years ago. But it wasn’t useful. My son had a flat tire. But he didn’t use the jack. He paid for tow truck. The jack is only useful if it is used for its purpose when needed. It was good to have like car insurance. But the day when there was a need it didn’t meet the need because he wasn’t willing to use it.

  4. BUSHIDO says:

    yes it is.stick with 1 style until you get to 1st dan then cross train in a style that complinents or improves certain aspects of your original sure to retain your original style.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *