Often times, another martial arts practitioner will mention to me that they’d like to have an inter-disciplinary dojo of some sort.
I understand their idea and what they are striving for. “Let’s bring everyone up in level by teaching each other our different styles,” they say to me. I nod in agreement, but secretly have other thoughts go through my mind.
They imagine some picturesque ideal where everyone is learning from one another. I’ve tried this out, getting together with Tae Kwon Do, Karate and Kung-Fu instructors. It sounds great, but all it does for me is breaks down the stuff I’m working on.
My ‘style’ of Kung-Fu is built on some personal principles. These principles are most likely due to me training in Wing Chun, but I’ve adopted them nonetheless. When I’m learning to do some other movements, they will inherently go through my own process and if they don’t match up with what I’m trying to do (read: fight) then they are expunged.
The only way to get together and crosstrain in the martial arts like these utopians want is to put the gear on and see how everyone moves, not just as stylists, but as unique human beings.
But that’s not what they want. They want to learn some ‘fluffy’ stuff from Tai Chi and Qigong. Some ‘forms’ from Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Some ‘trapping’ from Wing Chun. …so they can say that they’ve upped their game.