Some teachers prohibit cross-training in other arts. The reasons given might be:
- “We have everything you need.”
- “Our motion is the best. Other styles will corrupt your Hapkido/Karate/Jujitsu.”
- “Those others styles are not authentic. Their lineage is suspect.”
- “Going to other schools is disloyal. You might share our secrets.”
Perhaps the reality is that the instructor has only rudimentary skills, and knows it. He might be afraid that he will lose his students to more skilled practitioners. Be wary of an instructor who forbids you from attending or even visiting other schools, or attending seminars with other masters.
A truly skilled instructor will not be threatened if you cross-train in other arts, because he knows that what he teaches is valuable, and you’ll keep coming back for it.
I personally have cross-trained in multiple martial arts and have black belts in three. It has made me a better instructor and martial artist. Cross-training helped me to discern the underlying principles that govern all martial arts movements.
Look at some of the most famous masters of recent history: Takeda Sokaku, Ji Han-Jae, Henry Okazaki, Wally Jay, Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto… all of them trained in multiple arts.
With that said, when cross-training you should select arts with similar philosophies of movement, so as not to confuse your body. For example, a Hapkido practitioner might cross-train in Judo, Jujutsu, BJJ, Aikido, Jeet Kune Do, Silat or Kali. All these arts utilize similar principles of relaxation, unbalancing the opponent, non-resistance, etc. Hard styles like Kyukoshin or Shotokan Karate, on the other hand, might not be good matches for a Hapkidoist.
Wael Abdelgawad, Founder
(Image: Takeda Sokaku, founder of Daito-Ryu Jujutsu, from which Hapkido developed).