Re: Mixing Aikido with other martial arts
I just want to clarify a few things I guess I didn't' communicate properly.
1) My karate example. I was trying to get across the point that you do not have to master every art you cross train in. You can cross train to simply add the idea or concept of arts. Yes you will not master bjj by training it 2 times a month. However you will understand what it means to be on your back and basic ideas and concepts that will allow you to defend yourself against take-downs and possibly stand back up. Of course you will suck at bjj, but thats ok because you are only using it to try to keep the fight standing so you can punch a guy in the face. To make an example about aikido I would say you could study boxing to better understand punching and thus allowing you to work with different kinds of punches and better apply your aikido though using more atemi or learning to defend against much better strikers then you may meet in your aikido class.
2) When I was referring to your friend and lack of bjj skill. I was trying to make two points. The first was that if it is true that some people are just no good at somethings, then they should cross train to find out what they are good at. Rather then waste their time at something they will never gain any skill at. However my second point was that I don't believe this to be true. I believe that with dedication, you can be good at anything. The point I was trying to make is that if it is true that you can be just no good at something, then it is even more important to cross train and find out what you are good at.
3) My point about 3 months of a martial art to be successful at self defense. I will defend this by saying it is true. I will tell you why. Your first night in any 'sport' martial art (judo,boxing, kick-boxing, bjj, etc) you will be sparing. What this means is you will develop timing and technique against a resisting partner from day one. You will be used to how other people (both noob and advanced alike) move and attack you. In the case of striking arts you will learn how to take a punch as well. This means you will learn quickly how to attack and defend. Much faster then arts that do not train in this manner. This means that when faced with an attacker on the street, you will be able to employ these skills much sooner then people who don't train in these sport arts. By good enough I do not mean you will go win a national level judo competition, or are ready to compete in boxing. But I simply mean you will be able to use your skills in a fight with success. With less then 3 months of judo I could throw around my friends in sparing, I could throw around karate guys, wrestlers, other noob judo guys like me, etc. All in fully resistant sparing. This means if a guy on the street trys to engage me, I can throw him just the same as in class (providing he was wearing a nice thick jacket of course ). In fact after i spent just a short time in judo, I found that people with no ground fighting training felt sluggish, weak, and slow. And they made bad decisions about how to move and I could submit them at will. The same goes for my striking training. After a few months of sparing and training in boxing/mauy thai. I found that sparing with new people, and even my friends who used to train that they felt slow and sluggish and telegraphed all their techniques. This is a good sign for being able to defend myself. After a year of aikido, I never got this feeling. After 5+ years of TKD point sparing, I never got this feeling.
My bjj instructor brings in experts in striking and mma pros to work with us and build our striking game. Does training with a former pro boxer make give us good boxing skills? Not really, but it does improve our overall striking ability which helps us win more MMA fights. I feel this directly relates to improvements in self defense.
Will you eventually gain self defense skills and this feeling that I am talking about? I have no doubt you can gain these skills in any martial art given enough time. But if you are worried about self defense, look at months not years. You might need to defend yourself tomorrow, and have no need to defend yourself when your 65.
4) Finally, I do agree with you that schools that claim to teach multiple arts are usually full of it. Just because you train in something does not make you qualified to teach it. I would not want one guy to teach me judo, bjj, karate, aikido, and wing tsun. At the same time, you do need someone who can help you learn to blend your striking, clinch/throw, and ground game together. I learn judo at a judo club, bjj with a focus on MMA at my bjj club. And then my bjj instructor brings in experts to help us build our striking game. Then he uses his exp to help us blend it all back into our game.
I believe that sport and self defense training should be broke into delivery systems. These systems should be trained in all arts.
That way you can have
I don't think it really matters if you are doing bjj techniques or aikido techniques if you are working towards the internal ideas of aikido, you are still doing aikido. I do feel that if you are training a 'martial art' that you are assuming to need the skills to defend yourself (why else would you want martial skills?). If that is the case, you need to have all your bases covered. Unfortunately, its not normally possible to have all your bases covered in most modern day dojos.