Cross training across all the major reality-based martial arts is critical (such as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, and Boxing). Even if you are a Muay Thai purist, you will benefit greatly by doing some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Likewise, even if you are a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fanatic, you will benefit greatly by doing some Muay Thai. UFC Welterweight World Champion Georges St Pierre is a big believer in cross-training in Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, and Boxing.
Here are the major reasons:
1) Fitness: Different martial arts use different muscles at different rates of intensity. A concept in fitness is to shock the body with new movements and exercises. The logic is that the body tends to adapt very quickly to routine and you end up burning less calories by doing the same thing over and over. The body is an efficient machine and quickly figures out the easiest way to do something. By cross training though, you do not let your body get comfortable. For example, a Muay Thai workout is a highly intense cardio workout with elements of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. It really pushes your cardiovascular system. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is equally hard, but in a different way. You are constantly pushing your own weight (and someone else’s). Every muscle in your body is working in a resistance type format. In Boxing, the aerobic workout is far less intense than in Muay Thai, but equally effective for getting fit. (3 minutes of Muay Thai is more taxing on the body than 3 minutes of Boxing simply because more body parts and muscles are at work). In any case, the point is that you should try to put your body in different situations. You will burn fat more effectively, you will get fitter more quickly, and you will build a better body.
2) Self Defense: If you are taking martial arts because you want to learn the art of self-defense, then you should really learn the art of self-defense. Unfortunately, 95% of martial arts that are taught around the world are ineffective in a real life situation. This is the sad truth. After 15 years of the UFC, it is now widely accepted around the world that the most effective systems are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Wrestling for real life hand-to-hand combat situations. For better or for worse, the traditional martial arts (such as Karate, Taekwondo, etc) have not done well in real life situations. (There are many logical reasons why, but it will not be addressed here). However, even in the UFC, there are limitations due to all the rules. As we all know, if you are in a situation where you need to defend yourself or your loved ones, there are no rules. So why should you train in Muay Thai if you are phenomenal at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or vice-versa? Because every martial art has its own limitations! In a self-defense situation, there are 4 primary ranges of combat: the kicking range, the punching range, the clinch range, and the ground range. The truth is that you cannot always dictate where the fight will start or end up. If you are in a crowded nightclub in Bangkok, are you really going to jump guard and try to submit your foe with an armbar when his friends can easily gang up on you? What if someone sucker punches you? Or what if an intruder is in your home trying to strangle you? The point is that self-defense is about being prepared for ANY SITUATION and having the TOOLS to increase your odds of survival. If you are a pure Muay Thai stylist, then what happens if you and your foe accidentally fall to the ground together? If you have no tools, then you will simply be flailing away with terrible odds against you. Or if you are only a wrestler and there are 2 foes against you, what will you do? By cross training in different martial arts, you will pick up some tools to be effective in different situations.
3) Athleticism: By cross training in another martial art, you will learn more about your body and how it moves. It sounds silly, but it is true. By putting your body in unfamiliar poses and movements, you end up using different muscles and different thought processes. In doing so, you will end up becoming more in tune with your body and its capabilities. It eventually becomes self-reinforcing and you will become even better at your core martial art. The analogy we like to use is that of driving a car. If you only drive a car on a highway, how will you know how well the car turns or how well it performs on a dirt mountain or in the snow? By driving in different situations, you become more in tune with your car and you become a better driver too! At Evolve Mixed Martial Arts, we strongly encourage everyone to take classes in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Street Self Defense, and more. It does not matter if you are a complete beginner or a seasoned professional. The benefits of cross-training are for everyone!
4) Variety and Fun: The longer you do something, the more repetitive it gets. To keep things fresh and exciting, you need variety. As they say, variety is the spice of life! And there is no better place than Singapore to exemplify that spirit with all of its diverse culture, its vast array of foods, its cosmopolitan vibe, and its sense of adventure. Quite frankly, all of the Evolve Instructors cross train in different arts because they want to have fun too! Humans have an innate curiousity. We all want to learn and to grow. We also all want to have FUN. And cross-training is the answer!
The point of life and the martial arts is to keep evolving and to grow continuously – physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. So here is to evolving into everything that you can be!
Based in Singapore, Evolve MMA is Asia’s premier brand of MMA academies. Evolve ranks among the best academies in the world for Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and MMA.