Re: Cross Training
1. Cross-training is not bastardizing. If I were to talk about a professional baseball player who cross-trains, I do not think we would entertain the argument that that baseball player would soon be expressing aspects of the other sport in his baseball play. I think it's odd that at the mention of cross-training in aikido, the issue arises. We may be talking about two different issues...
2. I advocate a very self-oriented perspective in training. I appreciate those who train with a dependency on their partner, but it's not what I do. If I am doing what I am supposed to, my partner should have a hard time regardless of what they are trying to do.
One of the things I like about cross-training is that it gives you an unfiltered view into what you are doing. Maybe you don't know "o soto gari" and your partner throws you. Was that because you don't know the throw? Or, because maybe your body is not as prepared for action as you thought.
If we are being selfish... I want to find the most knowledgeable and experienced person on the mat from whom I can learn. I am not sure I would split hairs with whether (or not) I could "throw" her or she could "shut me down." Neither one of those outcomes precludes me from learning from that individual. I think some of this conversation bleeds into some of the unspoken rules we use in aikido to craft our roles and expectations.