A Blending of Styles

I received a comment to a post made a few days ago. Naturally, as comments on the posts are so rare, this was a bit of a thrill for me. When I read the comment, I started a reply, that got longer and longer, until, I thought (and quite possibly said out loud…to myself), “This is turning into a blog post.” I am including the comment here, and my reply will follow:

“Hi. I’ve been training Krav Maga for a several months now. I’m looking for another MA to add to it. I’ve several ideas but I’m not looking to train like for the UFC. I’m trying to get solid self defence and also add something with some style and other skills that will also complement Krav. What are your thoughts on mixing martial arts. What are the good and bad to look out for? Again, I’m not trying to get into the Thai Boxing/Jujitsu thing. I’ve considered Judo, but I also like Chinese Martial arts.”

First off, I would like to thank you for reading, enjoying as well as commenting on my blog. It does feel good when my friends drop in, but I also enjoy the feeling that people I have never met are reading my writing and getting something out of it. Before I start, I want to say that there are several topics that I am going to address in this reply to your comment, and in no way do I intend any of it to e taken as any form of attack or insult. I feel a need to say it here, as in a medium such as the written word, there is a total lack of speech inflection to allow for understanding of something that may not be spoken in too much detail. In short, don’t read between the lines, and if anything seems cross, just let me know and I will be happy to clarify.

You asked about my thoughts on mixing martial arts.

As a Traditional Martial Arts practitioner, I have a near instant reaction to say, “No! It is a baaaaaaaaaaaad idea!”

But in the back of my mind, I can hear many of my close friends pointing out to me that

A. I have studied in several different styles.

B. I am a huge fan of MMA

Yes, guilty as charged on both counts. But I do not mix them. I have never blended martial arts, just as I wouldn’t take a fine single malt and mix it with cola. It simply is not done.

Regarding the MMA mention, I have to say that in my eyes, MMA, in spite of its protestations, is a style, and well on its way to becoming a traditional martial art, as it is following the exact same path that the traditional martial arts have all followed. One need only watch a UFC anthology to see quite clearly the development of MMA into a style, a style born out of a competition between various traditional martial arts.From this beginning, as martial artists of various backgrounds began to see that they were lacking something, they began to work toward repairing these newfound deficiencies, and thus was born MMA, and it is in a state of evolution to this day.  But it is important to note that the pioneers were not blending styles, they were engaged in the acquisition of new skills, and the two are very different.

If you are studying Krav Maga with the end goal in mind of being able to protect yourself in a physical assault, you could do much worse in your choice of styles, and I suggest that there is very little that you are going to be lacking, aside from possibly some training in the skills of situational awareness avoidance, and de-escalation. I strongly recommend visiting the sites listed in the links section of this site. I cannot speak with any authority on Krav Maga, as I only have the most superficial knowledge of the style.I would, however, also recommend that you pick up a copy of Rory Miller’s “Facing Violence”. Rory has some very deep insights into the subject, and a much better presentation that I can give, as all of his material comes from real life experience. I also recommend Marc MacYoung’s “Taking It To The Street”. This one isn’t about changing a martial style, it is about field stripping your system to make it effective in a violent confrontation. Lastly, I want to strongly recommend that you download and listen to the Iain Abernethy podcast titled “The Martial Map”. It is here. Just right click and select “Save Target As”. Iain does a superb job in detailing how we, as martial artists often fail to see where what we know just doesn’t cross over into other fields of expertise.

In short, this is my response. I would love to go deeper into the subject, but to do so would require me to make many assumptions about who I am talking to, and I am not prepared to do so.

I hope this all came out clear, but if not let me know via comment or email!