Martial arts can be incredibly exciting and high-paced, and cross-training is an extremely useful tool that can improve your technique, strength, agility, and mental wellness. Martial arts are used by people of all ages for self-defence, competition, and even some recreational fun. Most grapplers and strikers stick to their base style and do not branch out into the wild world of combat sports. Although it is beneficial to specialize in a specific style, practicing multiple martial arts can benefit a fighter physically and mentally.
The Benefits of Cross-Training in Martial Arts
There are several benefits that can be found by cross-training in different martial arts, regardless of which one you start out with. Whether you’re a striker or a grappler first and foremost, everyone will be able to improve in these three areas by adding another martial art to their training regime.
Cross-training Diversifies Your Game
The incredible thing about martial arts is that many can be used together to strengthen your style making it more dangerous and diverse. Jiu-Jitsu practitioners know this to be a fact. Cross-training BJJ with a different sport such as Judo or Wrestling can increase confidence on the mats as well as effectiveness.
Grapplers are not the only ones who can reap the benefits of cross-training. Strikers such as Muay Thai fighters can use different martial arts to strengthen certain aspects of their style. For example, Thai fighters can incorporate boxing into their schedule to learn to be steady and accurate while punching.
Increased Strength and Endurance
Wanna know another great benefit of cross-training? Practicing a variety of martial arts can exercise different muscle groups that are not typically stressed when participating in a specific sport. Cross-training gives you the capability to strengthen muscles that would have otherwise been neglected. Diversifying your athletics can also give a boost in cardio, due to the change in movement and style of the martial art.
One of the most interesting facets of martial arts is the aspect of the unknown. When going into a fight, you can never be too sure what your opponent is going to attempt. Cross-training allows you to be more aware of your adversaries’ play styles and movements which increases your chance of triumph. Whether you’re in a self-defence scenario or a competition setting, being one step ahead of your opponent is always an advantage.
Diversify Your Skills: Exploring the Different Styles of Martial Arts to Cross-train in
Hundreds of different sports fall under the category of martial arts. Many of these styles fall under two denominations; striking and grappling. While Cross-training between these two styles can certainly be beneficial to a fighter, the technique is typically difficult to translate between denominations. So what sports would be the most beneficial to cross-train? Here are two martial arts and a couple of styles to add to each of them in order to level up your game.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most iconic grappling styles used today. Although BJJ has a near infinite amount of techniques to master, many practitioners look to strengthen their game by participating in other sports similar to that of this iconic style. As stated previously, Wrestling and Judo are both incredible options when looking to cross-train. Not only will these sports give you a different, higher-paced feel on the mats, but they will also benefit your Jiu-Jitsu by a large amount due to their scrappy nature and takedown-oriented techniques.
Out of all of the striking styles in the world, Muay Thai is arguably the most effective. Practitioners of the Art of 8 Limbs pride themselves on the versatility and speed of their style. Muay Thai fighters combine punches and kick along with elbows and knees to neutralize their opponents. Knowledge from sports such as Boxing, Kickboxing, and Karate can benefit a Muay Thai fighter in more ways than one. All of the styles listed above have specific techniques that can improve a Muay Thai practitioner’s game.
How Cross-Training in Martial Arts Can Help You Avoid Plateaus
Anyone who has participated in a sport for long enough has experienced the feeling of a lack of progress otherwise known as a plateau. You may feel as if you’re stumped and can’t seem to advance in your physical activity. Diversifying your martial arts can keep you motivated and excited to learn new things. Practicing different techniques and tools to add to your skill set can provide the breakthrough necessary to end the plateau you’ve been struggling with. Practicing different sports can provide a refreshing breakthrough when in need of a change of pace.
The benefits shown when cross-training multiple martial arts are impossible to go unnoticed. Not only will the practice increase your confidence in competition, it helps in dealing with plateaus that naturally occur when participating in martial arts. Practicing different sports can strengthen your capabilities as well as increase your speed and endurance. Above all else, getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things is important. Whether you’re a gritty grappler or a controlled striker, there is always something to learn from cross-training!
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