I think the simple answer is yes.  Traditional training, if it also involves conditioning, can be a great start toward training for ring fights and cross training in other arts if your goal is the octagon type of fights we see today. Traditional martial arts offer basic principals of the individual style that could be overlooked in a mixed martial arts setting in the interest of “getting through it” so you can move on to another martial art.

At first, you, as the beginning student cannot usually understand why these basic movements are so important unless you have had good grounding in another traditional martial art. The truth is, the basics also train the smaller muscle groups that, again, are overlooked in faster training methods. They can strengthen and condition joints that work to prevent injury and increase efficiency.

Traditional training can enhance the total experience, especially in the area of depth. If you are moving from one martial art to another, you are likely just collecting techniques. It takes many repetitions of a new set of techniques to get them to work automatically for you and it should be in one system that has the same set of physical principals. When that happens, you have just begun. Now you can train against as many opponents as you can find to see how that technique set works versus a strong fighter, a tough fighter, a short or tall fighter or a specialized fighter of a particular style. You can determine, to a certain extent, what principals apply to which circumstance.

Traditional martial arts also introduce you to the greater world of martial arts, etiquette, and manners that reflect respect. These ideas are important to one’s attitude in approaching an opponent. Without respect toward your opponent, you can find yourself on the short end of many encounters that you could have prevailed in. You can learn from anybody, even less experienced martial artists. Just ask the old-time instructors in your neighborhood schools. Ask them if their instructor has taught them everything they have ever learned about their style. They are likely to say that they have learned from many opponents and even their own students.

Learning a traditional martial art first can tell you if you can develop the work ethic and the passion for it. Without the passion and a great work ethic that translates to a hard training routine, a ring fight might not be your thing. -Sifu Keith Sonnenberg