Larry Camejo wrote:
However, as I have seen many times, as soon as the going gets tough the folks who cross train will want to switch to Judo or some other method to put their partner down instead of sticking to the Aiki principles so that they can enhance their Aikido training, understanding and skill level. It is a challenge for them not to resort to old habits and other systems, but that is the point of Aikido training, to find ways of applying and understanding Aiki in different situations.
I'm not sure about most peoples intentions, but I learn martial arts to be able to fight if need be. I try to see what techniques will work for my body size and strength, and don't focus to much on things I don't think will work.
After about 6 years of study in aikido, I felt there were situations that I didn't know how to deal with. For instance, what if your pulled backwards off balance with a rear choke, and the attacker isn't in motion and you are caught completely by surprise? What if your sitting in a chair and grabbed from behind?
I didn't train for those type of situations in aikido. A friend of mine opened his own school, so I decided to try something new for a while. I took up Miyama Ryu Jiu-jitsu, and that filled in all of the questions that I couldn't answer with aikido. It focused on a lot of grabs and holds that were static and ended with some really combative locks and controls. The founder of that style (Antonio Perera) studied with O'sensei, and studies Judo at the Kodokan, so his approach was very Aiki and it changed the way I looked at my aikido training. It also opened me up to blending judo aikido karate together into one art.
If this means doing a judo throw, or a jiu-jitsu arm lock, or an elbow strike, because that's what I'm given, then that's what I'll use.
I was blessed with having some great instructors. Karl Geis is a high level Judoka as well as an Aikidoka. Nelson Andujar not only does Jiu-Jitsu, but also holds a 6th dan in the USAF. Both of these men had a larger martial art experience to draw from which In my opinion is what makes them so good.
In my opinion, I think that the Miyama Ryu Jiu-jitsu I learned has more in common with the Tomiki Aikido I learned than it does with the Aikikai style of Aikido. The Aikikai style I was exposed to seemed very alien to me and unnatural. This isn't putting it down in any way, but it didn't have the similar linear approach or focus.
After a few years, I found the time to go back and study aikido again, and I saw things that I didn't see or realize before. The Koryu Katas were easier, and my focus was different.
I can only say that I cherish my martial arts experiences and was lucky enough to find the perfect instructors at the perfect time. The principles of Aiki were present in both arts, and I don't feel like there's anything missing anymore.
So Larry, I think it comes down to the way it's presented, and the instructor presenting it, and not a shortcoming with the art itself.