Nice way to start the VOE; here's my VOLOE take on it.
(VOLOE? Voice Of Lack Of Experience. LOL)
I've stated in prior posts my belief that any martial art is not fighting in itself, but a skill to use in conflict situations. Thus, the following analogy:
I have a toolbox. I've had it ever since I was a little kid and had to stand up to a bully. The first tool I bought to put into the toolbox was a hammer - judo. I practiced using that hammer until I could use it without hitting my thumb, but then I left it in the bottom of the box, never to be used again.
Later, I bought another tool - a screwdriver (Karate). I liked using it a lot more than the hammer, so I worked with it a lot more. I got quite good at it, albeit good for an amateur. No matter how good I got at using a screwdriver, however, one could hardly call me an experienced tool-user.
As I grew and matured, I acquired more tools to put in the toolbox - files and gauges, pliers and punches. Tricks and techniques, skills and knowledge from a hundred different sources. After I joined the Army, I painted my toolbox dark green and began to take real pride in it. I liked to show off my tools to others. I often bragged about how great my collection was, until I met one man with a single tool in his box - an axe, with which he'd practiced for decades.
After that encounter (which evolved into lessons on axemanship - to this day Sergeant Carl Dunnings (ret.) and I are good friends), I sat down and went through my toolbox, examining each piece critically, deciding what was useful and what I could throw away. I wound up tossing everything but my screwdriver, axe, hammer and wrench. (I'd particularly learned how silly those little 5-in-1 tools are - useless for the real jobsite.) I began studying how to use them, not by themselves, but together. I learned how to integrate my tools into a single, flexible, effective machine. I have learned, and grown in my tool-use until I can consider myself a skilled, effective tool user.
Recently, I bought a new tool - a set of Vise-Grips (Aikido). I'm totally ham-handed at its use, but, due to my knowledge at tool-use in general, I'm picking it up quickly, or so, at least, I hope.
At present, my knowledge of vise-grips is small, although due to my knowledge of tools in general, what small skills I have I can use, picking up the axe or hammer when necessary or using it to fill in the gaps. As I progress in vise-grip use, I'll be able to use it to replace my other tools, bit by bit. There may come a day where I'll use vise-grips exclusively, but the other tools will still be there, in the bottom of my toolbox (which is still green, by the way. lol)
That's how I look at Aikido, but then, no-one ever accused me of sanity.