Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido
I believe that the concepts, principles, and execution of aikido is dependent upon a knowledge of basic fighting. O'Sensei (and many of his senior students) had significant experience in at least one other martial art before training aikido. Today, many aikido people do not have a pre-existing knowledge of basic fighting. I feel this element of "pre-training" is important to overall understanding of aikido. Can you learn aikido without knowing karate? Sure. But the knowledge of basic striking, kicking or blocking contributes to aikido training. I encourage serious students to learn basic skill sets to accelerate their aikido training, karate, judo, jujitsu, all provide good training in Japanese stylistic fighting.
That said, I differentiate cross-training from Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). To me, cross-training implies training multiple activities simultaneously. Mixed Martial Arts denotes mixing multiple activities together in one instance. I encourage cross-training to build a better understanding of aikido, but mixing arts promotes the bastardization of technique. Many people who train aikido do not understand the difference between aikido technique and bastardized aikido technique. This misunderstanding contributes to deficient technique and deficient technique contributes to poor aikido.
Sometimes we are so quick to take something, repackage it, and call it ours, and we forget to take enough time to figure out what the heck we repackaged. MMA is a great sport, and there are great athletes who are great fighters within that sport. Aikido is not MMA. Train aikido and learn aikido using other martial arts as the foundation of knowledge.