Re: Mixing Aikido with other martial arts
Here's the deal for someone like Grant that is trying to gain quick and relevant skills. Nothing wrong with TMA, the methodology is simply too slow to focus in on the core skills you need to develop rapidly. This has been my experience.
Boxing skills are great, but in combat you aren't really going to box. If you can maintain this range in combat you can do other things typically. In a CQB environment typcially you move forward through your opponent rapidly or disengage rapidly to allow your buddy to engage or for you to employ another weapon etc.
We already have the "universal fight plan" built in. Most of us are born knowing how to strike and kick...maybe not as well as a trained martial artist...but still it is there.
So if you are looking to train rapidily you have to prioritize your skills. For soldiers, in empty hand, this typically involves from the Clinch, to the ground. We have found those are the areas in a empty hand CQB situation that are most relevant.
Next would be moving back out from the clinch to knife/striking range. For soldiers, this is a tough one to train rapidily. Knifes are fast! So again, we move back into the clinch range or we disenage to allow for your buddy to assist, or to grab a weapon, or put something between you and the enemy. Scenario based trainng really.
Then there is stick/bat range...again, you move into the clinch or you disengage, or you use your weapon as a striking object if it is malfunctioning. depends on the situation.
Aikido provides wonderful footwork and is among the best way to build some of this mid distance skills to evade and move...however, I would have to side with kali, escrima if I were going to train in a hurry to develop soldiers.
It is hard for us to accept sometimes, but it does not require a great deal of martial training, nor does it have to be complex and technical to teach a 80% solution to greatly enhance someones skills to respond appropriately in combat.
Now, if we start talking defense tactics and police skills that have a different set of rules of engagement and escalation of force criteria...that is a completely different topic and much of what I said above does not apply.
Neither does it apply if you want to have a breadth of skill and options available to you for purposes of budo, understanding, and want to explore areas of use of minimal force. All good stuff!