Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?
To jump into the conversation.
For me, once I "found" BJJ and MMA and realized my failures/inadequacies in Aikido. I had to re-evaluate the relative value of my training. It really tore me apart and at first had me looking to abandon aikido all together as a lost cause as I felt like it had really let me done.
However, once I got through the chaos and confusion stage and then started to understand the structure, particularly of BJJ I began to have a better appreciation for the structure, the body and it's relationship to another. I found that I progressed faster than others in BJJ, apparently this came from my training in Aikido. So not a total loss or waste of time!
Upon critical observation over time, I realized that as a basic waza, Aikido, IMO had some inefficiencies. As Jon stated above, the early practitioners of aikido had training of many years and varied experiences before studying aikido. BJJ and MMA provided a proving ground that allowed me to expand my experiences and rapidly gain experience in ways that the relatively rigid/static/controlled experiences I had in aikido would not. BJJ's waza in particular offered a good structure to understand some fundamentals that I simply could not grasp in Aikido.
So, what was left in aikido that made it worthwhile. For me it was the aiki. So, I reached the conclusion that the only reason the methodology was of value over other forms of waza was about the transmission of aiki.
that being the case, I wanted to find the most efficient way possible to learn aiki. Unfortunately, I think that much of what we actually study is a combination of some aiki and some waza that actually does not lend itself well to either aiki or just good darn solid jiu jitsu. thus it becomes an inefficient delivery process for both.
I personally think there is something to be said for having a solid base or foundation in a good combative jiu jitsu system such as Kano Judo or what its closest lineage is now known as BJJ. It gives you a good foundation to build on. After you have that, I think that a very distilled aiki practice with methods designed to teach aiki is appropriate.
Is it different from aikido or is it a dilution of the practice to focus strictly on aiki development and not waza? I think not. I think that if you come to the table with a sound foundation in waza, you don't need to teach this side by side with aiki. You simply do waza as an applied practice of aiki, and spend you aiki practice on simply developing aiki.
I don't think there is anything wrong with that and frankly is really what it is all about. Anything else is simply a waza of some sort and YMMV depending on what you are trying to do with it.