Alan M. Rodriguez wrote:
I'm all about being a better person...however...why the frig are you going to pay (insert amount of dojo tuition here) to become a better person...when you can just go to church?
Because I feel that MY path to being a better person is in the dojo, not in a church.
What's my focus on the mat? Martial effectiveness.
WHY do I walk onto the mat? To "become a better person".
I don't think those are incompatible principles. The first gives me a set of tools, the second helps me find the wisdom to know how, why and when to use those tools.
Alan, not to single you out, but my understanding of your post is that you primarily train so as to be better able to "defend yourself, your family, and your country". You value being able to defend those people and principles, and therefore you are making yourself a "better person" by training to be able to do so (and I am inclined to agree).
I applaud your efforts to become a "better person" through Aikido training. Most of us are trying to do the same.