Any of the people mentioned who did other arts and also did Aikido, they didn't compare to the skill of O'Sensei and they all came after O'Sensei and they learned Aikido from O'Senesi and stayed with Aikido. They didn't stop doing Aikido. I don't know why that is often over looked. They thought Aikido was vaild.
jennifer paige smith wrote:
I would argue that they didn't bring aikido to new heights with those things. Those things brought them to aikido, and they were allowed to train with O-Sensei because of their dedication as students. Those arts were part of their influences and offered another avenue to elaborate on a dimension of aiki. Aikido is 'bigger' in an essence, because it brought those skills to new heights.
It also can be said that none of the students of the founder reached his level, doesn't matter if they were experienced martial artists before meeting him, or if they crosstrained or if they trained aikido only so your point is a bit moot.
Of course all of them thought aikido was valid, but aikido's validity was no obstacle for them to step outside aikido's box, both technically and philosophical-spiritually.
BTW, about quoting Tomiki Sensei:
"Through our training we forge our spirits (kokoro) and bodies, and so doing we concern ourselves with being useful in more peaceful pursuits. This is the modern way of thinking, and it is so precisely because it is not warlike."
Then he worked for "putting the eyes back in the dragon" and developed a shiai/randori method for aikido.