Originally posted by Richard Harnack
I have very few hard and fast rules in my dojo, however, two that I do have are:
1) No "horseplay"
2) No practicing of any other fighting styles on the mats before, during or after class.
While I do not have anything against other self-defense styles, we are an Aikido Dojo strictly, thus Tai Chi, Muay Thai, Kenpo, etc. have no place on our mats except by way of demonstration by qualified competent instructors in those arts.
We have the same horseplay rule in our dojo. (It's written on the wall, heh) However, I would encourage you to relax/change the second rule.
I studied kenpo before the soft style of Kodenkan Jujitsu I do. Practicing and mixing kenpo in with Jujitsu allowed me to learn more quickly. I could appreciate the same principles of balance, smoothness, breathing, circular movement etc. when I practiced Jujitsu. I felt this need to practice to find where the energy was different and where it was the same. I am seeing now, how one technique in one art flows to a technique in the other art. Training in Jujitsu has made my kenpo better because I learn the same principles from a different point of view. Also, other people in the dojo benefit from seeing things in a kenpo way and questioning how Jujitsu would respond to it or just feeling subtle differences at times.
People that have experience in other arts need to find a way to tie it into the new art they practice. Guiding this process can be a challenge but I think ignoring the need is a mistake. Especially, going from a very hard style to a very soft style or vice versa is difficult and if I was told not to practice my art when I saw pieces of it all around me, then it would drive me nuts. I mean, an art becomes a part of you...I can't walk down the street without checking my balance and my centering now.
I can understand your wanting to keep the mat environment controlled and safe. But why restrict students from doing it all together? I mean, as long as it is safe and not contact sparring and such?
I guess I can't expect to change your mind but if you understand why I personally needed to find a dojo that was open to other styles of martial arts then that's the important thing. All martials arts are not the same but sometimes you forget which "style" you are doing and that's a good feeling.