"Nowadays, cross-training is all the rage. Rather than try to beat up the "new kid on the block," many martial artists view other sytstems as things to learn from than challenges to take one. So it's more likely a Judo person would cross-train in Aikido than march into an Aikido dojo issuing a challenge. Even MMA guys cross-train in Aikido, according to this thread I found in usenet:
When you look at arts as things to learn from instead of as potential challenges, the ego-motive to issue a challenge is gone"
Very true, JKD concepts people have been doing this forever!
In the 70s, Muay Thai fighters were going through people in other systems like a hot knife through butter, thus everyone began to barrow from the Thai's. They saw that the Thai fighters trained reality, lots of sparring, with resistance, and were just all around tough guys. Their art derived from Krabi Krabong, a military combat system wich was known for its effectiveness, so people began to supplement because of its no nonesense approach, and it worked very well!
In the 90s everyone saw a little 180 lb Brazilian deal with all that came his way, size, strength, speed, different systems etc all fell to BJJ. A 65 year challenge was brought to America, and helped to open the eyes of martial artists everywhere! Royce has said many times that he is the least skilled of all his brothers and that is why they chose him to show the effectiveness of their familys art (if they would have put in Rickson it just wouldnt have been fair )
So now strikers started to learn to grapple, thus increaseing their effectiveness in that range. What do the Brazilians do now, they start supplementing with Muay Thai and boxing, because they were beginning to have trouble with strikers that now knew how to grapple. Boxers learned to wrestle, and wrestlers learned to box. Kickers learned to punch, and punchers learned to kick, and EVERYONE learned to grapple, thus creating a more well rounded fighter in all the ranges! Granted i am speaking of a MMA tournament setting but there is no denying that becomming proficient within all the ranges will make you a more complete martial artist and all around better fighter, with or without weapons!
Learn from different arts, just as you would learn from different cultures and ways of thinking! You enjoy different foods, books, movies, hobbies, vacation spots etc, so learn to see the worth in other martial arts as well! Bruce Lee once said, "Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own" He took from 26 different systems in creating the "Original Jeet Kune Do", some of it was actual technique, some of it was just theory and principle, but all played a part in the overall developement! He later said that he wished that he would have never even named his art because of the way people fuss over labels. Its just a name, not a set way of doing anything, but an individual expression! Its not a Chinese way, its not a Japanese or Korean way, its not a Thai, Indonesian, or Philipino way, its having "no way" as way, so you are able to fit in with all ways, ideas, and systems!
I believe that if more people could possibly move towards this way of being, then we might be able to get a closer look at what the principles of Aikido seem to speak of in the first place.
BTW, it has been said many times that BJJ is Aikido on the ground