Monday, 9 July 2007

Cross training in the martial arts

I don't think any martial art is 'pure'. In fact most of the modern oriental martial arts (in my opinion) descend from Chinese martial systems spread throughout Asia by trade routes. Interestingly I even read that Okinawan 'te' was thus created. As you know this is the granddaddy of karate. Okinawan te was originally called Te-gua. Very close to the Chinese 'Pak-gua'. I appreciate that Karate has evolved a lot and taken on a very Japanese 'flavour', but it certainly has roots in China. II read that 'Yawara' was the only native Japanese martial art which was a kind of battlefield combat giving us today sumo, jiu jitsu, judo and by extension aikido.

And of course, Shorinji Kempo is in fact a very blended art form, its name meaning Shaolin Fist! So I do agree that there has been a lot of cross fertilisation for arts to have developed into what they are now and that's where cross training is good: testing or developing the technique. But I (quite openly) train in SK for the personal development, not to become good at self defence. Most stylised martial arts (in my opinion) aren't great at 'self defence'. If you want to learn about self defence go to a Krav Maga or Systema lessons (which I studied for many years). But for me that's not what I want. Sure I enjoy the physical training of the body, partner training and the free form randori in SK but it's all in to an end of training my senses and mind. (It could be argued that this does help in self defence, but for me that's just a nice to have by-product!)

So yes, I think cross training is great if you want to develop 'your' own self defence style but for me I have a single minded purpose in training but it's taken me nearly 20 years to get there!

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