Re: Mixing Aikido with other martial arts
To David Sims,
What Christopher Li said! Wow..that was great!
Dennis Hooker can probably explain better than I as I am a lowly kyu guy in aikido! But to me, I have found aikido to be very complete in it's goals to transmit aikido and it's philosophy.
You have to keep your eye on the ball, so to speak. I really don't like sounding like one of those eastern philosophy guys that offer up koans or questions as an answer!
You are correct that if I were going to become the best at shooting, I would go to the best handgun school I could...not an Aikido dojo! So, it would seem the inverse logic would be "therefore, aikido cannot be complete as a martial art because it cannot be all things!".
Keeping your eye on the ball, look at it this way. In a good handgun school, what do you work on first? Learnng how to coordinate breathing, posture, and timing. You will spend hours in "kamae" an d "ma'ai" learning how to connect this things, bending from the knees with a straight back, breathing, spine alignment...connecting your arms with your hips and body!
Sound familiar? so, the principles of aikido are all there!
I didn't appreciate this really until I got heavily involved into some good military weapons training, and BJJ.
Aikido, minus the philosophical part, is simply a methodology for learning correct body mechanics and how they relate to various inputs. It is universal in nature and applies to all.
So at least in good schools with competent instructors, it is complete as it teaches universal "theory" that is 100% correct.
When you have instructors that claim to be doing aikido, but lack the experience to teach correctly, they will then bridge the gap with something else sometimes to answer that deficiency. THEN, you are in danger of teaching someone something that is NOT dynamically correct within the context of aikido, therefore, that is NOT aikido.
What I study, and why I study it, is that I teach soldiers that need the ability and skills to "bridge that gap". Aikido really cannot teach you to fight well or deal with the realities of many fights or situations. It is not designed too! If you are concerned with "effectiveness" then you have to do some "risk management/assessment" and come up with those things that improve your odds or help you "bridge the gap". It may be a non-lethal weapon such as mace, tazer, or a Lethal weapon such as a handgun. Empty hand you may study some other arts that have proven to have good methodologies for developing effective fighters rapidly, such as BJJ.
That said, what I believe Dennis Hooker is saying is this: Simply acknowledge the fact that this is the case, and don't call it aikido. Failure to understand this, IMO, shows a lack of understanding of the teacher concerning fighting, self defense, and combat in general. They are in a real danger of building there students a shaky base in both aikido and in whatever else they are "bridging the gap" with.
One thing I am always clear with the guys I teach is this. Approach every training time with an understanding your objective for training. I have had classes where we practiced walking in buddy teams down the road and covering down in "overwatch" from a distance. I have had classes where we back a guy into the corner and not let him out. I have had classes where we do kokyu tanden ho for the whole class (they hate it!). It is NOT aikido though!
Many people studying martial arts in the U.S, I believe (sorry if I insult anyone, that is not my intent), do not really understand why they are studying martial arts or aikido. I know it was the case for me when I started years ago. We all have certain expectations or desires, we are all guilty of projecting those desires and expectations on others and on our training. When we do that we come into conflict.
I think that happens alot in aikido.
Sorry for the rambling!