Learn only one martial art or more than one
Discussions and confusion exist on this topic. The answer lies in the full understanding of all the aspects.
In the old days, the chinese villages were mostly inhabited by family members with the same family name and their fighting arts were named accordingly. They were only taught to family members because of protection against warlords, criminal gangs, etc. They were are permanent threat. High secrecy was applied for safe-guarding the community. Generation after generation lived in the same village. From this fact comes the the idea of learning only one style. But most important was the appropriate way of learning, with the best results. This would bring forth the highest efficiency, and that was what it was all about.
But where do these arts come from? Who created them? What was their evolution? Who was involved? For sure they didn't fall out of the sky!
Everybody likes a clear-cut story, but in reality most of the kung-fu styles cannot present this.
Even though the idea of 'only one style' has a reason to be there, the opposite also has. Nowadays, a lot of 'fused' kung-fu styles exist, promoting themselves with an obvious name, such as Choy-Mok; combination of the Choy family style and the Mok family style. And how about the northern praying mantis? Coming forth out of 18 styles? What about the majority of styles who had influences and changes without a clear record on it? In the past one had to be efficient, martial arts were not for playing but for real self-defense situations where life could be at stake. So striving for efficiency wasn't that wrong! 🙂
Another point is that it is certainly not wrong to have a broad understanding. But one has to learn profoundly and long enough to have good results. With the agreement and guidance of one's Sifu we avoid to be confused or lose track. Of course, one can also learn too much. A chinese proverb says: 'If you try to catch one chicken in the morning and then suddenly try to catch another one, and then another one, and then another one...in the evening you will end up with no chicken at all!'.
So, what do we learn from all of this; though it is possible to learn different arts, we must avoid conflicting and confusing facts. Learning things half-heartedly at the same time will confuse, deviate and finally bring impurity which will end up in inefficiency and low-level skills. Don't forget that a kung-fu style has an identity, different teachers can have different opinions, both teachers can give good advice in their own right. But it should not be mixed! Keep it pure! Don't forget that the most important element in learning kung-fu is the relationship between the Sifu and the student. One should try to master one art, then additional knowledge can broaden your view without losing identity or efficiency. The arts are quite crystallised nowadays and proven over time. Every generation must try to improve their art, although it becomes very difficult to do so. Whatever happens in your life and what you look for, will determine the influence on your art. But remember; honour the ancestors, act only with the agreement of your Sifu, stick to the truth, stay humble and let the accomplishment of your work, study and time bring you to a healthy and pleasant life-journey.