QUESTION: I'm curious about the proper mental approach to training in different martial arts. As you have said, "silat-flavored FMA" or "wing chun flavored karate" usually just ends up mushy. So do you put a new art in its own "box" in your head, keeping it separate from your original art? This is a pretty open question, and I'm not looking for a specific answer, I'd just like to get your thoughts on the subject.
ANSWER: You might want to get a cup of coffee and go read this interview
I didn't pull any punches on this one. Once you've read the interview, the following statement will make a lot more sense.
"Good body mechanics are the tires on your car. If you have flat tires or no wheels, you ain't going anywhere. If they're weak and bald, you'll have a blow out at the worst possible time."
Cross training is really about covering the holes in a system. Boxing has amazingly powerful and effective punches, but it's weak on kicking and open handed stuff.
If you know how to punch in various ranges, how many more ways do you need to know how to punch? That's not why you go to other styles to learn.
Your cross training doesn't focus on gathering more ways to punch, but gaining stuff that isn't there. Like the trapping/slapping/grabbing of Wing Chun. The kicking and knees of muay Thai. The clinching and throwing of judo/danzan ryu. The submission fighting of BJJ etc. Really, who cares how these styles punch at the same range as boxing?
You got boxing already. Unless they've got something you like better, focus on learning stuff you didn't get from boxing.
I have a friend who is trained in savate (a distance system) and hsing yi (much closer/in fighting) his students can tell when he shifts from one to the other by how he moves when they are at what distance. Hang back, he uses savate. Get close, he shifts to hsing yi.
The trick is to have all the different parts you need for a working car. Not having four different tire sizes just to show how well you've learned how all these different styles do the same thing.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you, between the metaphor and the example, that answered my question. I do have two questions about things you mentioned in the interview:
You say there are three things likely to happen with a bear hug from behind. One is being driven forward, one I assume is being lifted off the ground, what's the third?
What is your "mongoose" technique?
You can be grabbed from behind and picked up/thrown to the side
You can be grabbed from behind and dragged backwards.
No matter what there's going to be a secondary force involved.
Mongoose, get out of the way of the strike and come back in from a diagonal angle