Camilla Kieliger wrote:
And granted, the insistence on aikido being non-competitive is a great benefit - it is much more roomy. But for this to really have an influence, the dojo has to actually be non-competitive...
My aikido is very competitive. I do not mean Tomiki competition or testing martial effectiveness, which we do occasionally. But while one of my schizophrenic ego always wants to fight power with power (plus some angle tricks), the other one really wants to "feel, where the power goes", as Saotome always says.
Unfortunately it is not a one-way development. While getting alittle bit stronger by training, some techniques work "the old way" and then ego one wins again, until I get a stronger partner, or Pablo, my sensei, intervenes. That's why I am only yonkyu after 18 month
This competition changes me - not only in aikido. In real life I am starting to enhance my sensibility to feel where the power/intent goes and how to act adequately. I am still a beginner. But at least aikido opened my eyes to recongnise that there is a gap. My karate experience - "step aside and punch; break the board if necessary and possible. If it is not you have to train harder" - workedsomehow but was not really satisfying.
The other change is confidence. But this is not a posititive one way, either. It is so easy being non-violent, as long as you do not feel confident in your martial abilities, or if the choice is "leave it or kill'em". While improving my abilities to fight without hurting, I had the wish to do something. Nothing really happened yet, luckily, but I had situations where I felt like Dobson in the tram (don't have the link to this story) and I wished that the would have come the old Japanese man, who could perform this great verbal and psychological tenkan.
Any way there is still a long road to go.