Re: aikido vs jiu-jitsu
Paul: Thank you! Mr. Harris promoted at the beginning of December, right after my birthday, which was a nice counterbalance to turning the big three oh. Pretty intense exam, as well. Mr. Harris reminded me why they call him "BOA", in way I've never felt before!
I think Larry is spot on with his post: You don't have to be a master or dan grade or at any particular "marker" in your training to achieve functionality. Play your game. Operate in your zone, and don't judge your response if it spills out differently than dojo training. All of these arts specialize in particular ranges, they need not be adversarial, and I feel they should be looked upon as complimentary, possibly even synergistic.
Rob: Indeed, we're on the same page, and it's certainly possible for an experienced grappler (which I consider Aikidoka to be) to stop a shot in the early phases. I can and have been frozen out of shooting in on people, esp. if they have a wrestling background, in a pure grappling match.
Years ago, I was one of the first to say "BJJ is Aikido on the ground," and still believe it to be more true than not. My opinion, and perhaps that's a reflection of my interpretation of the art. Several people have commented that my groundwork is different, more "aiki" for lack of a better term. It's a very personalized art, and individual traits and tendencies are often observably manifested in movement.
My BJJ instructor, Roy Harris, goes out to the East Coast several times a year for seminars. One of his grappling instructors, Chris Drechsler-Martell, is located in Middletown, CT. I don't know if that's in your vicinity, but it would be worth checking out a seminar next time he's over there. I guarantee you'll feel center to center contact, in a very controlled and instructive manner.
Excellent additions to the discussion, everyone.