Man that latter one is the rub - I keep wanting to take more time to go play with the MMA and BJJ crews, but then life happens and then I find some other bad habit in my body I wanna get rid of and then I find some other cool nuance I wanna spend more time conditioning to rewire the body . . . the biggest challenge in mixing it up has been finding the nice balance of a pace where I can just let the body take care of itself rather than getting amped up and reverting to old habits.
Anyways, sounds like you guys are having fun. Awesome
I haven't been out to play recently- I've been too busy and also working on a non-fighting injury. I still spar with visitors and what not, but other than the occasional visitor -who has good fight experience-the "martial artists" all pale in comparison. They really have no clue what can really happen to them, and its hard to tell them that, so you just spar with them and it tends to shut them up right quick.
Like me you got the fight experience first, then found internals. So, If I may be so bold-I think you're doing the smart thing. You have enough fight experience to know what works-or at least has the potential to work. That is a huge plus over most traditional guys who are only guessing or following another clueless coach. I think stopping to work on it solo, then in gradual paired pressure, then going out to test it a few times, then back to work is a very good way to build.
Later, you might want to take it on the road with other internal guys. See if you can get hands on with master class ICMA guys. who like to play. Some will entertain it in a limited fashion; LCD, He jin bao, Lou de xiu, etc, You might find it interesting on several levels.
Good luck in your training