Training Two Striking Styles (Muay Thai + Karate)
I've been training karate for just over three years. The karate I train is decent for karate (we do continuous sparring in class, full contact to the body, but only touch to the head, and we spend a lot of time punching pads). Also, we're actively encouraged to cross train.
I already cross train BJJ. I'm still a newbie at that because my financial situation means that I can't train as often as I'd like. Next month I should be much better off financially, and I'm thinking of adding Muay Thai to my list, since it's at the same gym as the BJJ and a lot of the guys there do it as a warmup. They've been suggesting I try it for a while. I didn't want to do so when I knew that I wouldn't be able to train regularly, but now I'm tempted.
I have three reasons for wanting to try MT:
- I have a habit of leaning in / dropping my guard to protect my body in karate, and because we don't really punch each other in the head I'm not learning otherwise.
- While the sparring we do in class is continuous, the sparring in competitions is point sparring. I don't have the speed for that - I was hoping MT would "loosen me up", help me think in combos, and help me get speed for karate.
- The elbows, knees, and less stretched out movements look far more practical and really appeal to me.
If I started going, I'd want to keep doing karate too. I'm only a 1st Kyu in my karate style (I'll be taking my 1st Dan test in November). I don't want to be one of those brown belts that "could have been a black belt", so I plan on working at karate until I pass. Even after passing, I still intend to keep training for the kata because I think they're a lot of fun. I like the social environment of the class, and I like the performance aspect.
I'd be interested in hearing from people who have trained two striking styles at once. Will MT benefit my karate in the ways that I hope it will? Is it possible to un-learn certain habits (such as the long karate stance, and the chamber by your belt?)? If you can "un-learn" them, can you switch them back on when practicing forms?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts.