Integrating Your Martial Arts

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I recently came across this article about Chinese martial arts and how the approach should be one of integration. The article talks about three (3) different possible approaches to a situation: first the fighter (punching and kicking), second the wrestler, and third the joint lock/grappler. The article suggests that each situation dictates a specific approach. Not all approaches work in all situations. A student should be integrating their martial arts.

Once we started to get settled in Staten Island, I began to look for a possible place to train. There are a large number of martial arts schools here on Staten Island, and even more so in NYC! I was surprised by the number of schools who have a one-path approach. And of course, their path is the best and right one. Lots of stand-up fighting and lots of brazilian jiu-jitsu. I was drawn to the very few places who seem to have an integrated curriculum. I believe the martial arts is an applied approach. Everything we do has an application, maybe more than one application. I have become a follower of people like Iain Abernathy. Iain’s approach is one that centers on application and integration.

This process has continued to affirm my desire to lift up the approach of the organization I follow. In Beisho, the basis is Okinawan karate. But we are encouraged to look at other styles and systems to enhance our marital arts. In addition, at camps and clinics, we work on techniques, tactics and applications from these other systems. We have senior instructors who have a vast knowledge in these other approaches, and pass on their knowledge to us. We integrate judo, jiu-jitsu, aikido, taiji, and weapons directly into our training. I will probably not reach a level of mastery in all these approaches. But I understand the basic concepts and I continue to integrate these techniques into my own application.

orange belts And so, in addition to my karate and kobudo, I continually study taiji and hung gar. I seek out my senior instructors to increase my knowledge in judo and jiu-jitsu. I find the continual learning process to be exciting as I find mew applications for older material.

And so, if you are looking for a martial art, I hope you settle on one that is open to other approaches. Be aware of those who say theirs is the “true” way. Because the true way, lies somewhere in between them all.


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