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Should I practice one or more martial arts?

Recently I was asked the question should I take one Martial Art or practice several. This is the response I gave.

Background: The student was taking Judo, Jujitsu, and Aikido. His instructor in Aikido told him he had to drop all other training and focus only on the Aikido.

My Response:

You need a foundation and a foundation takes many years to obtain.

After a foundation is developed branch out and try other things.

There are exceptions to this; similar styles that are the same can root work together Taekwondo/Hapkido but even in this comparison one skill will be more dominant than the other depending on the teaching.

Aikido is very hard to learn after you have developed a foundation in a striking art. The body movements and theory are extremely different. If you want to continue with the Aikido and another art then be prepared for lots of foundation conflicts. This comes from personal experience.

If you make Aikido your foundation it will be easier to move back to a striking art not the other way around.

Also, if you are looking for mastery then drop the other programs at least until your belted and then pursue other learning. This once again focuses on the foundation.

If you are less interested in mastery of an art and instead self mastery then take all the classes you want but don’t expect to know the nuances of each.

Your question alludes to a very old argument between styles. Some promote learn everything you can about one style only and others encourage you to study everything you can about every style. I agree with both opinions.

Here is some wisdom to keep on hand – If you only practice your art once per week you will never obtain real mastery. You must do homework to really develop skill.