Past couple of posts I've been addressing the idea of total dedication to a Sensei and/or your primary core art form; this, in response to comments-blogs-email-etc. that in essence state that it's ok to "study-around". Some of the comments speak with the writer stating that "their Sensei encouraged them to do other ryu/style".
I have little issue with Aikido players doing just that. My issue is on what terms and when it becomes appropriate and whether or not it can constitute a betrayal of trust given you by your Sensei or simply indicates a lack of faith in your Sensei (I'm assuming here that your Sensei is fully competent and correctly trained and ranked to begin with and knows his stuff and is not an obvious what-ever).
Aikido is a very amorphous and shapeless martial art in the public eye. Considered a "gentle" martial art with a "defensive only" base principle it has become a mystical idea which would seem to remove it from the martial arts/Budo realm and place it into a Zen/Yoga/spiritual place on the continuum . That's OK if that's what you're looking for but it certainly begs the question of what is martial art.
Dedicating oneself to ONLY their Aikido ryu of choice and not "studying around" is not only correct Budo etiquette but is also a proper way to learn, internalize and fully integrate the principles before expanding into the study of other ideas.
I'm sitting at my desk wanting to boogie onward towards the casa where some cold nigori sake awaits my arrival but since this just came to me as another means by which to touch upon a "touchy" subject and further throw some ideas (read small amounts of lantern oil) on the topic, then consider this as another recommendation to stay with only your first ryu before moving on to the next; all in your effort to "merge all Aikido ideas into the original form".
Without having the charts in front of me, Tomiki Ryu Aikido has the following variations of kotegaeshi:
*Ichi Kata - 5
*Ni Kata - 2
*San Kata - 4
*Yon Kata - 3
*Go Kata - 3
*Roku Kata - 4
*Kodokan Goshin Jutsu - 3
*16 Double Releases - 1
*17 Attack Movements/Ju Nana Hon Kata - 2
This rough off the cuff count (please don't hold it against me if I left your favorite out as it's been a reeeaaalllly loooong Monday and I'm doing this from short-circuited memory) leads us to a total of 27 forms of kotegaeshi. For the record I am counting shihonage as a form of kotegaeshi (ushiro) since one of the great discussions of the last 40 or 50 years is whether shihonage is a take-down/backwards throw starting with a wrist lock or is actually a throw off a wrist lock into a floating waza. I in other words, does it go into the wrist lock section or should it go into the floating section.
Now let's complicate it so you can see what very senior Sensei (like 7 dan and up) look at when we wake up at 3 AM and lay there watching the fan go around in circles.
Each of the 27 forms of kotegaeshi pair off with an equal number of forms of kotehineri so the actual waza count is 54 and not only 27. This by the way fails to take into account the resistance of uke to either kotegaeshi or kotehineri resulting in ....... voila......wakigatamae. It also fails to take into account the possibility of using all the above to feed into kotemawashi.
Complicated huh? Well it's not after you learn the entire ryu and all the kata sets. In fact, it becomes pretty simple. Plus, this sounds like a lifetime of rich and deep study all by itself doesn't it?
So........if Tomiki Ryu has this many possible ways to look at a simple kotegaeshi then why go to Pooky Ryu or Mesquite Ryu to learn some version of kotegaeshi you saw at a demo or in a book? Why not learn every documented form of the waza that your ryu already contains and learn it WELL and learn it BEFORE moving onto someone's elses version(s). Who knows? Maybe the magic version you are curious about is already contained within your current ryu, making "studying around" not necessary.
So, after you've learned and have fully integrated all forms of that waza as presented by your Sensei ONLY THEN go look somewhere else for the magic mojo. By that time, having learned all your ryu has to offer you just might decide not to waste your time since you know "your versions" and discover that "their versions" are actually something you picked up years ago.
I'm deliberately being circumspect here and not naming some other style because it's the idea of the study that counts and not some political issue of my ryu/your ryu. I don't really give a flip ( .... ukemi .... bwahahaha .... small pun ... ) where you start or what style/Sensei you sign up with; just stay with it and don't jump around. It's not only bad Budo manners but it's also possible it can retard your overall progress by trying to understand too many differing ideas at once.
So think about it for a while and before you consider me close minded I never did say don't go have sake once in a while, I only said don't start "Sensei Jumping" because we do a martial arts with manners and consideration and Budo Reigei. We don't do YMCA socials.
L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX