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I'm still writing it but this is what I have so far, eventually it'll get philosophical
I've said elsewhere that studying Aikido, or any martial art, purely for self-defence or to acquire fighting skills is a bit pointless. It's akin to walking around with a life jacket on in the off chance there's a flood because it's so rare to be physically threatened. If anything Aikido has prevented more fights than it's won because it's given people what I'm about to talk about here; put simply Aikido is the gateway to a powerful way of handling life.
Often people, myself included, decide that we need to study a martial art to feel safe, we like the idea that we can develop skills that will keep us safe from the dangers we feel we are potentially facing. For a human being to keep training for this reason is really quite difficult; they need a real sense of paranoia, an actual genuine fear that they could be attacked despite the reality that they never are attacked.
The rest of us, often uncomfortably, come to the realisation that in training to fight we're training for an event that probably won't happen. It's not easy acknowledging that your amazing fighting skills have no purpose because there is no-one to fight when you may have spent years, decades even, developing them. Often martial artists will solve this apparent problem by seeking someone to fight, they'll climb into the ring to beat someone up to justify learning how to fight, and often in the name of "realistic training" that they're sure they'll need when, eventually, they're attacked. Curiously none of this "realistic training" ever seems to involve knives and multiple attackers, because this would involve running away, which negates the need to learn fighting skills and returns the martial artist to the original problem of not having any reason to learn how to fight!
This is actually the opposite of Aikido because it flies in the face of the reality of the situation.