I read your page about people who think about taking up a second type of martial art as well as the one they are already taking. I am currently a 17 year old Karate student and I'd like to take up another art to further increase my discipline and fitness. I enjoy martial arts more than anything, and so I am emailing to ask which would be a suitable art to take with karate. I was thinking TKD but I'm not sure the two would mix suitably. What do you think?
A martial art’s primary purpose is to fight: to stop the attacker from injuring you and to injure or kill attacker. However, some martial arts were created as sports, such as Judo, and some have evolved into sports, such as sport Taekwondo. No matter your objective, fighting or sport, you will run into a problem when you train in more than one martial art. The martial arts clash in your thinking and in your actions causing indecision. If you train using a Karate side snap kick part of the time and then train using a Taekwondo side thrust kick (Taekwondo rejects the side snap kick and you will be chastised if you use it, when you spar or have to defend yourself, your brain and body will hesitate for a second before acting to decide on which type kick to use. This hesitation may be the difference between your living or dying. \
The organization I am a part of spars in class using hand contact to the head. In competition, they forbid hand contact to the head. So, for months you train using hand contact to the head, and then, for a few minutes four-times a year, you must spar under stressful conditions and not use hand contact to the head. Because of this clash of methods, in competitions, there are many times when students foul out because of hand contact to the head, and there is always that second of hesitation when the brain and body want to react with a head attack with the hands.
If you play baseball a lot and play soft ball once in awhile, under the stress of a softball completion, it is easy to confuse the rules with those of baseball. However, when you play baseball and then play football, there is never a problem with the rules since the two sports are entirely different. When it comes to studying multiple arts, it is best to either just study one mixed martial art that uses all types of techniques in its training or chose a second martial art that is totally different from the first, such as studying karate and then taking up Judo, Kendo, or Escrima. These martial arts do not use punches and kicks (in their purist forms) and Karate does not use throws, hold-downs, or striking with sticks (in its purist form). When training in Karate, the thought of throwing an opponent does not even cross you mind. Likewise, when training in Judo, the thought of kicking an opponent does not cross you mind.
So be careful when choosing another martial art, so that one does not detract from the other. Trying many different things always seems to be a good idea at the time, but when you find something you enjoy, it is best to stay with it and perfect it. It is better to be an expert at doing one thing than to be able to do many things. That is why doctors specialize into so many different disciplines. If you do decide to try another martial art, it is best to drop the first one and concentrate on the second one, and, at some point, make a commitment to one art and stay with it.