To Master One, Study The Other…

It stands to reason that in order to truly master something, you need to be committed to it. It’s very, very difficult to say, master a karate style if you’re training and/or studying in five different styles. Eventually, the differences in methods and techniques will catch up and confuse you, leaving you unable to properly master any one style.

As Master Robert Trias once said, “One Religion, One Love, One Style…” But your style should never stand alone. There are many things that you can do to help your journey along during your training. Many popular mainstream martial artists that you see on television or on film indulge in a number of other activities that the common person wouldn’t associate with martial arts.

Gymnastics or dance are some of the most popular ones, since they can provide a significant amount of benefit. It’s almost symbiotic, where dance provides benefit to the martial arts and vice versa. I started studying dance back in 2007, while living in Ottawa (that’s right, I can cut a mean rug). I absolutely LOVED it, and the instructor frequently asked me over and over if I was certain that I had never studied dance before.

I finally admitted to studying karate, which she immediately confirmed was likely why I was so good at dance, since it would help with balance, proper stepping and remembering sequences. And there are plenty of options as it relates to the martial arts, including music, poetry, gardening and floristry. But what I’m referring to, is specifically the examination and understanding of other types of martial arts.

Miyamoto Musashi wrote, “To learn the fist, study commerce. To only study the sword will make you narrow-minded and will keep you from growing outward.” It should make sense, right? When was the last time that you didn’t learn at least something from observing the actions of others? The same can be said of martial arts styles. By observing and learning a little something about say, Judo or Tae Kwon Do, I can learn a great deal about the shortcomings of my own style, the techniques I need to develop/perfect and what my style may be lacking as opposed to others.

Don’t be afraid to branch out and explore. As I’ve often said before, if you’re part of a martial arts club that discourages the observation and study of other styles, your respective instructor may not have your best interests at heart. Although you should ensure your dedication to a specific style, learning about others can provide benefits and correction that you may not get otherwise. Another perspective is never a bad thing. ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

2 thoughts on “To Master One, Study The Other…”

  1. ‘Don’t be afraid to branch out and explore.’ Will do, and thank you.

    Shawn, you are really good writer. You can tell it’s really natural for you. If you were to focus on a particular genre, what would you prefer it to be?


    1. Thanks, Jason. I genuinely appreciate that. I’ve gotten positive comments about material I’ve covered in the past, but I rarely hear that the actual writing was good, so thank you.

      To be honest, I read just about anything and everything that passes through my hands, so it’s hard to name one genre that I would be willing to dedicate myself to writing to exclusively. I’m a huge fan of Robert Jordan as well as Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, so if I were to take a stab at writing something that isn’t martial arts related or related to my life specifically, it would likely be fantasy or fiction (science or not). I am currently working on writing something of a biography, which will cover off the early years of being diagnosed with Diabetes as well as walking the martial artist’s path. I don’t know what will come of it, but one must try in order to succeed, right?


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