A question I got recently from prospective student, X, was whether I was against cross training. Based on reading my past posts he had assumed that I was against cross training.
I clarified that this is my advice for beginners rather than advanced students. The reason is simple – beginners will be confused if they try to learn more than a style at one time.
Case in point – a student of another Wing Chun master once came to learn Tai Chi as he thought learning Tai Chi can give him an edge. Well, that would be the case if he could really learn Tai Chi properly. However, his Wing Chun habits obstructed his ability to learn Tai Chi correctly.
An example is when we touched hands. As long as I allowed him to play his Wing Chun sticking hands position he was fine. The moment I applied my Tai Chi push hands game he could not adapt, struggled and lost his position. The main culprit behind his problem was his rigid use of the elbow position which did not allow him to adapt freely. However, despite understanding the root cause he could not learn the Tai Chi position properly because his Wing Chun habits kept popping up.
This was when I gave a little speech on trying to learn both arts at the same time and getting nowhere. I said that no matter how well he learned the elbow position in Tai Chi class when he went back to his Wing Chun class the week after he would be told that his elbow is wrong and he would get clobbered during Chi Sau. Then when he attended Tai Chi class next I would say that his elbow is wrong and show him up. So this to and fro is not good for him. He has to make a decision for his own sake.
For a more senior, advanced student who knows his chosen art well enough he can learn to go beyond the boundaries of his art by exploring beyond it to enrich his knowledge and expand his skill. In the interim, if the advanced student is playing with someone and his add-on method fails he has something familiar to fall back on. The beginner student does not have this luxury.
So if you want to Master Tai Chi Today then try not to bite off more than you can chew by learning more than one art, at least not until you have gotten down the fundamentals really, really well. Otherwise, you will really be a Jack of all trades, master of none.
Want to learn Tai Chi? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.