I have to say that I get very tired of too many too "realistic" discussions about aikido as self defense et cetera. We all practice aikido a number of times a week, year after year. The meaning of aikido is what happens in keiko
, not what might happen in a bar brawl.
That said, what is the highest?
Awaking your center and making it grow, opening up the flow of
and extending it. A Japanese concept that comes to mind is misogi
To me, for some time now, the highest of
is healing. Both tori and uke are healed in the process. And healing, repeated several times weekly, brings it reward.
A friend of mine with a very profound knowledge of metaphysical traditions, once told me: If the supernatural is real, then it's simply natural. No mystery to it.
Some people nurture an attitude toward the 'yet to be proven', which is rooted in the demand that it should remain supernatural, magical, unreal. But magic, when learned, is not that magic at all.
Aikido is one way of learning this.
One can also say that aikido is an art. That is not lessening it in the least.
As for the self defense perspective, I believe that the ultimate aikido is to have an attitude, a state of mind, that makes it impossible for others even to think about attacking. To disappear as a target for aggression.
This is done by relaxing.
It's not easy.