Eszter Tanacs wrote:
I think people cannot be early enough to learn that there are other styles and other martial arts out there as well. Maybe at first it is confusing but at least they learn there is no such thing as 'best', only 'good'. Tolerance is very important. I've seen so many people who never left their dojo, acquired some grade and thought they were the best in the whole world while never even being close to real teachers.
Also, if you realize there are loads of styles, you can choose one that fits you...
Who does not know there are other martial arts besides aikido ?
Maybe 10 years ago or more I could believe one could not be aware there was was more than one style of aikido before starting at some school, I certainly did not when I started, but nowadays all one has to do is Google "aikido". The lists starts with aikidofaq.com, aikiweb.com, aikidoonline.com, etc.... Not shopping around these days if you have multiple choices is just being lazy.
Tolerance and humility are both the effect of the quality of instruction in the student's home dojo and the student's receptiveness to such. You shouldn't have to leave your dojo for that. Especially not as a beginner.
and it's beginners we are talking about, not someone in the mid to upper kyu ranks. When I was sankyu, I attended an Iwama Ryu seminar with Saito Sensei. I enjoyed it a great deal, but it did not change my mind about the correctness of the path I was already on. This was before aikiweb.com or aikidofaq.com or many of the videos you can find out there now. My Sensei went to the seminar also and that is probably why I went since I was not at all confident about my technique at that point. Going to that seminar helped my confidence and value more what I was learning at my home dojo. So that was a good thing for me to experience after a couple of years of training 4 times a week.
As a teacher, my experience has been that many beginners especially those that have never done any other martial art to a significant extent can be really hurt by being thrown in to cross-style situations. The confusion can erode their confidence in learning aikido at all. Physical injury is highly possible given the differences in ukemi (what little they know at this point), my own experience in cross-styles training and Ellis Amdur's essays would really give me pause in suggesting to a beginner that it's a good thing or important for their training at that point to attend other style seminars or dojos.