Learning from other arts?
It seems to me lately that a lot of generalized statements about getting out and learning other arts is a solution to something. It's like the latest fad.
Quotes about O'Sensei and this one and that one....Phew.
Perspective is needed in my opinion.
Learning something from another field is normal not only in martial arts but in all walks of life. So why the emphasis?
It doesn't necessarily mean go and train in that one and this one will improve, no one in their right mind would believe that. That to me is usually a sign of a bad student.
When looking back over history I suggest you look from this viewpoint: A person usually goes to learn a specific principle or two that they could see could benefit their own art. A subtle difference but a major one.
Now when talking about a stellar figure like O'Sensei you have to differentiate even further. This man was on a path, a lifelong path, searching for something he believed he could find in martial arts and when he found it thus was borne Aikido.
A different level of character and purpose so using him as an example is not comparing like with like I'm afraid.
Note that thereafter it wasn't a matter of him going to other arts but more a matter of him developing his own and hundreds if not thousands coming to him, drawn like magnets to these new principles that he could demonstrate yet they couldn't understand. A new learning.
Now let's come to present time for all of you with any long term experience. How many people have come to your Aikido from other arts and what for?
In my experience going back to when I was a beginner I have seen many. I have seen a kung fu master who runs a school full time and very highly regarded come to learn one principle. I have seen taekwondo people do the same. Judoka, etc.
On the other hand I have seen some come to learn Aikido after giving up their other art and happily staying with it saying this is what they were always looking for.
But never have I met or seen a person who thought doing this would improve that.
The point overall therefore is that there are some on a general Martial arts or budo path that end up 4th dan in this and 6th dan in that. Then there are others who go elsewhere just to learn a principle they feel will assist their chosen one.
This rules out the view of mixing practices in order to improve as a bland statement.