Studying Multiple Fighting techinques
"What type of guard position should my hands maintain?" "My traditional fighting techinques style does not have a guard position..." "My traditional style doesn't guard the head..." "Always hold the hands at head level..." Questions and statements born of a confusion common to many young martial artists. Meanwhile within the traditional fighting styles of Baguazhang or Zhaquan we might be thinking it seems sort of funny to stress a great deal concerning your guard that you simply loose sight of the more essential things - i.e. making your opponent worry a little more about his guard.
Actually this confusion demonstrates one of many big conditions that stems from a standard misunderstanding of latest ufc (MMA) together with our desire to have instant gratification. Someone learns some boxing, some wrestling, some BJJ, some Muay Thai, Bagua, Zhaquan, or a few of whatever and then mixes them all together. But what they end up having is, as they say, "a dog having a monkey's tail." Quite simply, everything doesn't really fit together properly. The situation occurs if you never educate yourself on the real "nuts and bolts" of these systems - only a little little bit of them. Consequently, you don't ever learn anybody system well enough to recognize what type of guard techniques seem sensible to that particular style. You won't ever recognize that what could be brilliant in a style, may simultaneously be ludicrous when used inappropriately poor an alternative style. Although that may be fine for people who train only for sport and entertainment value - it's just plain dangerous with regards to real self defence and longevity.
The truth is, MMA is nothing new. In reality most traditional fighting styles are derived originally from the assortment of borrowed techniques, and have been thoroughly modified and delicate with time. In many traditional styles the work of determining how to deal with the entire scope of fighting styles has already been done. People have for many years died, surrendered their, and be crippled while discovering secrets and in removing poor training and fighting methods. You don't need to re-experience these processes for yourself. Alternatively traditional styles are old. They are handed down by way of a great deal of people, and by the time they get to us it might seem very much has been lost and misinterpreted. So you might believe that even these "complete" arts usually are not complete anymore. Of course, if that is true, it makes you wonder about the worth of studying a traditional style too! A significant quandary.
The quandary isn't so bad, as those truths which define a traditional style are never buried far beneath the surface. It is because the forms and training techniques within a style are usually huge in scope, and yet always centred around a really succinct pair of core principles. So to create a long story short, it is by design very unlikely that an individual can discover the bulk of a complete system while at the same time never recognizing the main concepts which can be central to everything they have done. Even though nuance and deep truths definitely be lost, the main principles that lead to these are always present and waiting being rediscovered. It's really a question of guidance, effort, and diligence to obtain there.
Obviously many effective styles exist with different core concepts. And incredibly, no style is inherently the "best" as that is always decided by proficiency. Having said that, some arts are clearly more refined and comprehensive than these. Still is usually a highly developed pair of core principles that sets the good ones so far aside from the rest. Adding more disjointed processes to your practice is rarely the road to great martial art. Proficiency in the correct core material, regardless of how simple it could appear - is sure to point you within the right direction.
Once core proficiency may be achieved, the traditional way is to fight/spar and experience as many variations as possible to be able to understand their methods while at the same time learning how to utilize the principles of one's style to defeat them. In doing this (if you are finding worthy matches) initially you'll lose as much as you win that is normal. Gradually you may work at mastery. The truth is, that to excel, you must produce a depth of understanding and skill which goes well past core proficiency. Which takes much more work in regards to coaching, training, and experimenting, to build up.