by Sensei Mitch Orr
July, 1995

This is a question that has been asked many times before. I feel that it is a good idea to cross train in the different arts but there are several things that a person should keep in mind before doing so. The first and most important aspect is to have a good solid martial arts foundation. You cannot build a solid house without first having a solid foundation and the same holds true for the martial arts. I would recommend someone to attain at least the rank of black belt before seriously considering cross training. At this level a person will have a good foundation from which they can work. Remember this doesn't mean that a person should discard what he has learned up to that point but rather he/she should add things which they feel are the most useful to them. Personally as a Police Officer I have added some grappling and control techniques to my arsenal. For obvious reasons just punching and kicking would not be acceptable in today's society.

I have also improved my sparring considerably by attending Joe Lewis seminars. I was able to add more fakes, feints and angular attacks. I also learned how important movement was while sparring.

The next thing to do when considering cross training is to set out what your specific goals are. You may want to concentrate more on what to do in an actual street confrontation therefore it would be a good idea to learn techniques such as Thai kicks, elbows, knees and eye gouges. You may also want to incorporate some ground fighting in case you get knocked to the ground in a confrontation. Adding training which deals with multiple attackers is also a good idea.

A person may also want to learn some different types of weapons. I have studied the Filipino art of Arnis (stick fighting) and found this to be a fascinating art. A person may also just simply want to pick up different sparring techniques to add to their present techniques. A person doesn't necessarily have to join another school in order to cross train. On method is to attend seminars offered by various instructors. I have attended the Karate College in Radford Virginia for the past three years and have found this to be an excellent starting point when considering what types of arts are available. The level of instruction offered is top quality. I would recommend anyone to attend this camp if possible.

Another method to cross train is to purchase video tapes from top instructors. There are some excellent video tapes on the market today. Keep in mind though, as previously mentioned, that it is very important to have a solid foundation first. Just watching a video tape will not turn someone into an accomplished martial artist. The basics must be learned first. Tapes are an excellent way to learn some new techniques but are not a replacement for quality instruction.

In closing, if you feel cross training could be for you then by all means check it out. There is a lot out there that is offered and it could give you the edge in your training you need.

Back For More Great Reading!