Graham, while I agree that we should be at one with our own martial way and not allow ourselves to be overcome by anxiety or develop some paralytical inferiority complex; how do other's way becoming of no consequence to us work out in a real conflict? How can we be one with the fact that others have a different way while they're attacking us and using a different set of techniques and skillsets, which we are unfamiliar with? How does Aikido answer this question?
On our way to confidence we learn to see the principles at work and as such things get more and more simple. We learn to not only know and use the principles of our art but at the same time view and respect the principles of the opponent. This is after all Aikido and the the aim is harmony.
So you can see that is or can be quite a long path.
Then, if we stick to our path some strange things happen. It becomes more and more irrelevant as to what the other does. It's not a matter of disregarding what they do but actually seeing clearly what they are doing and so knowing what to do. Thus you are at one with what to do and what they are doing both.
I have numerous examples in reality of such. Plus numerous examples where it didn't matter what they were doing so that just meant confidence in my principles was enough.
I related a story here not long ago about a guy who wanted to 'box' me after class as that was his forte. I applied the principles of ma-ai and blending to the point that I was like a mirror or shadow. I moved and did as he was doing in the same rhythm. It was fun but he stopped and said that it wasn't fair because I wasn't trying to hit him.
For me I was having fun but I was not actually being drawn into his game. With this he concluded if I did I would lose. I agreed. This in turn left him also confused. He then said that if he full blast attacked me boxing wise then I would lose then. He asked me what I would do. I said 'I don't know but all I do know is I would do Aikido not boxing. He put it to the test and got his surprise.
In that situation what he did I respected 100% yet didn't enter that world, that fight, and merely welcomed him into mine.
I have said before unlike many that thinking you have to learn all kinds of other arts to improve your own is not the truth. In fact I say it's backwards. I would say you have to fully learn your own in order to understand and respect the others. Too many in my opinion move because they are having a rough time and think the grass is greener elsewhere. Thus they fail to overcome their next barrier which is right there where they are.
Even as a youngster I used to go follow someone I knew who did kung fu in competitions against various other styles. In the main I was disappointed because when the bell rang the two opponents seemed to me to lose the discipline of their own art and go at it like two fighters from some art I had never seen. Yes I would prefer to see a praying mantis person do praying mantis not some mixed martial something.
The principles of Aikido say no matter what if you apply them you can bring about harmony and peace. Thus to me Aikido answers the question. Thus Aikido merely waits for us to do it.