I am fortunate to have an instructor that appreciates all the combat sports.  We frequently have Black Belts from other schools and styles come in and train with us.  I’ve experienced this before at one other school.  It seems to be a rare event from my past experiences with other schools and styles.  However, I think it is important for a student of the arts to be exposed to different styles of fighting.

Poor Tae Kwon Do, I’m going to pick on you for a bit.  (Tae Kwon Do is a beautiful art that I do respect)  I trained in TKD for three years and loved every minute of it.  However, I felt sorry for the students, because they were not exposed to other art forms.  I felt that because their instructor didn’t provide exposure to other art forms the students were vulnerable in real life self-defense scenarios.  This (IMHO) can lead to a false sense of security in the students.  They were under the impression that sense they were Black Belts that they could defend themselves in any situation.  But, they were never taught how to defend against a rear naked choke or a double leg take down.  The competition rules also prohibit punching to the head.  This rule also carried over to class sparring.  None of the students had developed the automatic response of blocking and avoiding punches to the head and face.  They also are only trained as distance fighters.  They fight at kicking distance.  When they are put with close range fighters like a Muay Thai fighter, or a Karate fighter, (like me) they don’t know how to respond when someone closes the distance to punching or elbow strike range.  I would frequently close the distance to mere inches and they would freeze.  I would get so close that I could see the fear in their eyes.  Then I would punch them in the chest (not allowed to punch in head, so sad) and use a switch kick to safely leave the “inside” range.

I’m grateful to my Karate instructor and my BJJ instructor for exposing me to different styles of fighting.  Because of them, I’m able to detect a threat more quickly and defend against said threat with confidence.  I do respect the theory of maintaining the integrity of “The Art Form”.  However, I feel that instructors that deny a student exposure to other art forms, lack confidence in their own abilities.  They also limit their own growth in the very static and dynamic world of combat sports.  So, if you get a chance to try something new or train with someone different,  by all means EXPOSE YOUR SELF!

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