Re: Poll: How important is actively applying the "principles" of aikido "off the mat" in your everyday life?
Two scientific conferences in a row I was invited "to attend the conference" and only found out when I arrived "Oh, and please give a talk, too." I received several compliments on my ability to give improvised scientific talks on very short notice.
I told this story to the head of the dojo I visited during the second conference, and he said, "Well, of course. If you can stand calmly while my big student here tries to slug you, giving a talk should be no problem." I think he's right; I was surprised how calm I was about the whole thing. I didn't even give in to the temptation to practice sankyo on the conference organizers....
This is certainly not what I had in mind when I took up aikido, but it's been useful.