I just went ahead and took a class in the local Judo school.
I have no Judo experience. I have studied Aikido for 4 years.
It was a 2 hour class.
First we started with warmups which involved jogging around the mat, jogging around the mat backwards, sliding around the mat sideways, front rolls, backward rolls, that wheel thing that I cannot do, some stretches, 10 "Judo-pushups", a forward and backward "bridge" and other crap.
There was also a sort of a "punching sausagebag" which was put in the middle of the room vertically and we had to jump and roll over it. I did pretty well, asides from slightly tipping it in flight and knocking it over.
Then we had to crawl, then crawl while sitting and using the back part of the feet, and then crawl backwards sitting while using the uh... basically... butt movement.
Then there was the technique portion, where we practiced some takedown, then seionage (not shihonage!) and then how to do seionage when the first takedown fails.
Apparently in Judo resistance is encouraged and so I gave resistance, probably too much, just having Aikido posture and shifting weight/stepping away/turning knees when I felt disbalanced, and pretty much stopping the other guy's technique.
So I easened up on it a bit because I didn't want to be the analog of Aikido's "bad uke". The rules are fuzzy to me at this point.
I kept trying to do iriminage instead of grabbing the guy's collar behind his neck and I always kept letting go of my grab after the throw, which is wrong in Judo.
I was also not close enough initially.
In Judo you really feel the consequences of a sloppy technique. REALLY.
After techniques there was the randori session which I stayed out of.
Some guys were a tad too young and teenage-y angsty for my taste(had the whole "ya lookin' at me ? ill give you evil eye" syndrome going), and I was not sure my ukemi could handle their possible lack of emotional self-control.
Some guy explicitly explained to me the differences between martial art and a sport art, and that people really aren't rewarded for breaking wrists in sport competitions.
After the class was over, I came up to a guy who looked relatively sane and calm, and asked him to do a light randori session with me, if possible minus the super high falls.
I managed to throw him using seionage, to my surprise.
Then another guy who came in late and wasn't sweating much, decided to spar with me. I was already out of breath.
Initially I locked him into a sankyo, and I could've locked him down but I didn't want to risk breaking his wrist as he didn't know the ukemi.
Soon enough I just stopped trying because I was really tired, and just was mostly on the defensive as he kept using the same hip throw to land me on the floor.
I was too tired to figure out how to stop it.
The instructor, a former Judo champion from Soviet Union (where I migrated from too, coincidentally), seemed initially like a big contrast to a typical Aikido Sensei.
At the end of the children's class (before the class I attended) when he was making kids spar, he was yelling things like "You're disappointing me ! Don't laugh, fight ! Don't just stand there ! Don't let him just throw you ! Why are you crying ? Cry later, fight now !" etc etc.
But during the adult class I saw that he was a man with powerful technique but not the typical "Cobra Kai evil master".
He has self control and he is kind, just not so kind when students are slacking off.
At the end of my after-class sparring with that newly-appeared guy, I finally got slammed into the ground too fast and my tired reflexes didn't cushion the fall, so I got my air knocked out of me.
Even my voice changed a little for a minute...
The prior times I've been thrown by this guy, however, Aikido breakfalls have served me better than I anticipated.
The mats in the dojo are also harder than mats in my Aikido dojo.
At the end of class the instructor demonstrated to me that he also knows Aikido techniques. He has great respect for Aikido, and his opinion is that it is a fast and deadly art.
"On the street, I would not use Judo. I would use Aikido." he said, and then did an intense version of one of those Aikido "float uke up and throw" throws.
He also demonstrated katate tori kokyunage, katatetori ikkyo, etc, all very energetic and lightning fast.
He said, that Aikido needs Judo to work, basically. Aikido is the highest level art and it cannot work without Judo.
He's a good guy.
Now I'm sitting here with slightly shaky hands, bruised fingers and some bruises on my legs which will probably only show up tomorrow.
I really don't know what am I supposed to do here.
I went to try Judo to experience the feeling of real competition and I got it.
But in our Aikido class we have some ex-Judo people who got fed up with it.
I can sort of see how some things about Judo dojo can start eating at them after a while - probably a higher injury rate and in general non-peaceful, competitive atmosphere having to do something with it.
On the other hand Judo will allow me to learn things that are simple, proven to work, and effective.
Ugly, but effective against a single opponent.
This instructor guy has JuJitsu/Aikido/Tai Chi skills which are backed up practically by his competitive Judo skills. If he can make Tai Chi work against Mike Tyson, I wouldn't be surprised.
Blah. So that's that.
I have a feeling that I may need Judo to have strong Aikido.
On the other hand, I have a feeling that my recent jiyu-waza sessions in Aikido have been improving, and I've been really getting into the whole flowing thing.
Studying Judo at this point will not confuse me in technique and footwork but it MAY confuse my mind and prevent the "Aiki" mindset needed for Aikido techniques. Blah.
I would be really curious to hear what someone like Peter Rehse or someone else who crosstrains in Judo has to say about this... to help me clear my mind.