I get where you are coming from bunkai is definitely there, However. (you knew the however was coming)
At some point, you must practice against real takedown attempts, as you did with your judo and BJJ buddies.
As you know, you probably found you did better than you thought you'd do with your aikido training just doing the things you learned in aikido.
I think this has been what many of us that have cross trained and synthesized between BJJ and aikido.
Thanks for sharing that with me..made me think!
I think we are saying the same thing....???
I believe that it is very good for us to practice "Cross train". I do it because I want to know where Bjj is coming from. I have no desire to rank in it, but I want to be able to understand it.
But my point was "And I think you got it" is that sometimes a lot of aikidoka become "Aiki Robots" able to execute a technique but not really understanding the technique.
As students we should IMO look beyond how to do a technique in class and question every technique.... And then at some point in time put it into action.
This is one of the few things that I admire about the Gracie's, they were willing to test their theories. "I don't agree with how they did it" But that's my $.01
And yes by the way "I did do a lot better than I thought" And even learned something about myself, which enables me to focus on my weakness in training. Case in point. When I was completely relaxed and let my technique work....they worked. When I tried to force technique I could not pull them off...at all.
As always thanks for your time