Learning Many Styles
By Moshe Katz
CEO
Israeli Krav International


April 20, 2018, Israel


In the presence of true masters. An honor. 


The question often comes up: Many great masters, founders of martial arts styles, had themselves trained in many styles. Thus the question, is this a good idea.

My answer is no.

My karate teacher, the late great Saiko Shihan Shigeru Oyama, said one should learn the basics of several styles. When he said the "basics" he meant black belt level. He felt it was important to know the basics of judo, aikido and jujitsu in order to enhance your karate skills. 

Of course when you are still trying to master your chosen style you should not spread yourself too thin. Unless you are a professional full time martial arts student it will be difficult to devote yourself to several styles.

I have said this before: If you have the time, a knowledge of grappling, Judo, and striking, can certainly improve certain aspects of your Krav Maga skills. But there is the danger of getting confused between the sporting/competition aspects of these martial arts and real self defense. 

see The Danger of Sports Martial Arts Training

Here I want to address the issue of training in two related styles. What I have noticed from many years of teaching is that when students (even those who have been certified as basic level instructors) train in more than one related styles they are not up to par in Krav Maga. I have seen this again and again. I do not know if they are mixing styles (as I am not familiar with what they are learning in the other style) but I do see that they are not doing the Krav Maga correctly.

Conclusion: Those who train in more than one style, when the styles are closely related, are not reaching the higher levels of IKI Krav Maga. 

When I observe these practitioners I see that they have not picked up the nuances of what makes our style so unique and powerful. They have not properly studied the techniques and do not truly understand them. They are making basic mistakes. They have only a superficial knowledge of our style and in plain English, are not getting it right. 

That is why one needs a teacher, a guide. As the rabbis wrote 2,000 years ago in the Talmud, "Make yourself a teacher (choose for yourself a teacher)". This means you have someone you can approach for guidance. You do not decide certain things on your own. If you have a doubt, ask your teacher. If you have a problem, you can approach your teacher. If you are wondering if it is good idea to train in another style, or attend a seminar with another instructor, ask your teacher if this is a good idea for you. This is a very individual issue.

I recall a rabbi many years ago. He said being a teacher/rabbi is like acupuncture; one must place the needle in just the right place, a small mistake can make a huge difference. A rabbi knows when to be lenient and when to be strict, when to prohibit and when to permit, for whom this is a good idea and for whom not. That is why the rabbis said, "Make yourself a teacher".

On your own, well...good luck. 

I have been fortunate throughout my life to be blessed with wonderful teachers and guides. Sadly many of passed from this life, but they have passed on the torch.


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