I have to disagree with some of the opinions that have been shared here. I would like to say that we spend alot of time defending ourselves from a wide variety of "ground work" or grappling style attacks in our dojo and most of them are very painful and very effective.
It was also said that we generally defend ourselves against poor attacks. I'd also like to say that most of the Aikidoka I know have all studied Karate,Judo and Kendo in school. So the attacks are very professional annd very real.
We also learn that every chance to fight should be thought of as really a chance to practice. However competition is discouraged not because of fighting or money, but because of ego. The competition to be the best. Everybody wants to be the best right? I know I want to be, but my ego, unfortunately is pretty big. Hopefully someday I will be rid of it because sometimes its a pretty discouraging factor, especially when I see these guys fighting eachother on T.V. and I'm pretty sure I could take em out real quick right?
I think that it would be better for our way of life, that we as Aikidoka are striving to live by, to stay away from these competitions and pay them no attention at all.