Re: aikido and competition
I would say the competition part is about perfection of timing and physical form. These things lead you to perfecting spirital and other internal forms. There are aikido competitions, so someone must find some value in it.
A lot of people do not put any stock in perfecting physical form. It is a choice they make, and there is nothing wrong with it. My personal beleif is that you have to perfect the physical forms in order to better understand the mental underpinnings.
When I go to compettion, I am mostly competing against myself. I'm trying to do 'better' then I did last time. I'm trying to improve my game. Its about self improvement. Everyone else there is just a tool for my self improvement. Of course there is the thrill of the match and the adrenaline rush and all that goood stuff. But really I go because I like sparing against different people, and you learn the most from sparing with someone you have never met.