Most times arts don’t fit together. You take the circular hands of kenpo and try to put them atop the linear stances of shotokan, and you are going to get an uncoordinated mish mash. Or, the jabs of boxing might fit with wing chun, but the round house power punches don’t fit at all.

And, of course, there are exceptions to the rule. You can put aikido together with pa kua chang, but it is going to take logic and discipline to categorize individual techniques. And, this leaves the developer with a problem of how do you teach the beast without confusing.

That all said, one day I was taking an Aikido class, I was a beginner in that art, though I had seven years of kenpo and karate and a dabble of wing chun. So they asked me to partake in randori. which is the multiman freestyle aikido employs. And, it was a sad experience.

I didn’t want to give them my punches, karate had taught me to lock down and become immoveable, and the result was that nobody could throw me, and the give and take of the randori exercise broke down. I blame no one, it was mixing apples and peaches, and one could argue they should have been able to make their art work, but I should have been able to work with them. Interestingly, it was what happened after that that became interesting.

One of the higher ranked black belts, name of Paul, came up to me and wondered where the breakdown had been. Lower black belts kept their distance, but he wanted to learn, and that was the mark of a higher level belt.

So I explained about locking down the stance, and we looked at that in conjunction with aikido techniques, and how things could have been different. Nothing was working though, until I asked him if he had ever heard of sticky hands. He hadn’t, and when I showed it to him the lights began to go on.

Wing Chun, you see, has more mobile stances, and we spent hours figuring out how to get the feet to go fast enough to keep up with the aikido centrifugal action. Slowly, we figured out how the feet were supposed to cross or circle with the action of the attack. We began to go into advanced techniques, Paul excited because of all he was learning, myself grinning, because I was getting a super advanced lesson in higher Aikido that the other fellows in the school, the lower black belts, would have died for.

It takes logic to put arts together, and very few people succeed. I succeeded wildly, and this because I always seem to run into people that are willing to look a little deeper, and open up a little more. If you think you know it all, if you’re proud, if you look down on somebody, then you will never open your mind and be able to ingest all the wonderful truth flowing around you. 

Al Case has analyzed martial arts for 4O years. A writer for the martial arts magazines, he is the originator of Matrixing Technology. You can learn about Matrixing, and how to successfully combine arts, at Monster Martial Arts.

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