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Lesson of the Month

June 2000

Glen Doyle teaches at
Céad Bua Fighting Arts Centre
in Milton, Ontario

Previous Lessons




'Workout Partner' or 'Catch Phrase'

By Sifu Glen Doyle

In every interview I do, or every seminar I teach… I always get asked about 'Cross-training'. People ask for a list of 'rules' or set requirements to get the most out of their cross-training. That, or they'll tell me in detail their training habits and ask me where I would change or improve their routines.

Anyone who knows me, knows I strive for individuality. I refuse to give 'rules' or set out boundaries to people looking for them, but I will talk about the general 'perception' of cross-training.

Personally, I think the media has turned 'cross-training' into a catch phrase. I've met individuals who have told me about their cross-training techniques for kicking. One gentleman, a tae kwon do practitioner, went into detail about how he cross-trains his tae kwon do kicks with the kicks of certain karate styles. To me… he is NOT cross-training. A kick is a kick... there are only so many ways the leg can move, so how many different ways can this individual look at kicks?

I don't believe that taking a couple technical differences constitutes as cross-training.

With regards to martial arts, I was recently asked by a journalist for my definition of 'Cross-training'. Within the martial arts... cross-training is "taking yourself out of your chosen style and inserting yourself in another style that has a totally different view of combat, timing, and even culture".

Using myself as an example... if I took myself out of my Hung Gar style, and walked across the street to let's say a Choy Lee Fut school and I begin to train there... to me... I am NOT cross-training. Now I know people are screaming, "but they have a different view of combat..." Though that may be agreed upon as true, the timing, circular motions, and attitude (Chinese system), have enough of a similarity that I will fall right into a comfortable groove. (Although I will learn new technical motions.)

When cross-training in the martial arts, each style should be like an old DATA PUNCH CARD... they each have certain holes punched out of them (weaknesses in the style)... but when you put these two cards together and hold them up to the light... no light should get through because the holes have been covered by the other card. Each weakness of both styles has been compensated by the timing, culture, and view or philosophy of combat of the other.

Going back to my example, though the Choy Lee Fut styles would cover some of the holes in my punch card, there are so many similarities to the style, that some holes will remain uncovered.

With regards to regular training, I see people talking about cross-training in the gym... they go from the treadmill, to the stationary bike, to the stairmaster. To them this is cross-training; to me they're getting a hell of a cardio workout, but cross-training... I think not.

Now, the next most popular question I get from people interested in cross-training, is when to begin. When in their martial art training is it OK to begin to cross train with another style...

That's July's lesson.


G. Doyle

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