Even though I have heard it many times before, it still surprises me when I hear it again. “No I don’t do any particular style, I just use what is best and mix it all together.” Okay….
Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all against cross-training. Personally I prefer to cross train with non-martial-sports such as climbing, yoga and running (though I do consider the last one excellent self-defense). But I know quite a few people who successfully cross train within martial arts.
And on the one hand Russian Martial Arts seem very suitable for this. They are in general more principal then technique based, not very hierarchical and contain a certain element of ‘realism’.
I would argue however that there is a difference between cross-training and ‘cross-collecting’. A difference between crossing on a solid base of experience in at least one style and crossing while not yet having solid experience in any style.
It surprises and even saddens me that there are people who think that a ‘heavy punch’ is some kind of collectors item that will help you become a better fighter. Even more so when they discard the seemingly ‘soft’ elements like breathing and having a vision on life. Really learning anything means you let it get into your body and mind, during training and during life.
My advice would be: before you cross-train make sure you have good teachers, make sure you have a solid base and make sure you don’t lose depth for width.
Like the Buddhist say: “the great way is not difficult, it just dislikes picking and choosing”.