Re: Poll: How important has experiencing other martial arts been for you in understanding aikido more deeply?
I started Goshin Jujutsu practice just after gaining my nidan rank.
This was very much a modern style with an emphasis on effectiveness in combat. Over the years it moved more and more towards the mixed martial arts way of practice encompassing boxing, grappling and vale tude.
For me it helped unlock the potential of my aikido. I could see where the 'exercises' could be taken to make them effective in a situation and answered so many of the 'what if question' that exist regarding the so called in-effectiveness of aikido strikes and techniques.
The result of this was that I could practice Aikido without continually trying to force the exercises into a martial mould and instead focus on the higher level practice of aikido principles and bases.
I'm not sure I could have made this breakthrough with aikido alone.