hi Mary to answer your question about my experience
i have been involved in the maritial arts for 18 year
I hold black belts in both ITF taekwondo and Aikido
I studied both Taekwondo and aikido in 3 different countries
I have laso studiedchinese internal martial arts and Krav maga in that time
I originally come from a small city in which the was a community of serious martial artists, so no matter what art you studued we would meet and chat about various martial a topics and attend seminars byvisiting masters of other schools.
Where i live now this doesn't happen so much which makes me pine for the old days
anyway, thats for another thread