James Wilson wrote:
Your thoughts on the differences between sport and budo and why its better to be one than the other please.
I agree with much of what you said in your first post.
I think the major differences between Sport and Budo have more to do with popular opinion
of what defines "Sport" and what defines "Budo" than anything else. In Scott Allbright's book - Aikido and Randori there is a section where he analyzes the definition of sport (especailly in an Olympic context) and compares it to Budo and like Tomiki did back in the day, he shows where the 2 are quite congruent in their ultimate goals.
This however has nothing to do with how many people perceive sport (I'd even place Ueshiba M. in this category when Tomiki first approached him with the concept). The perception of the large egos of sport heroes which are fed by doting fans, the fixation on winning even if it means exploiting holes in the rules and cheating, focus on winning instead of honestly trying ones best, unsportsmanlike behaviour, although not intended or encouraged in the core definition of Sport are popular effects that most people identify with. I think this is part of why some make the distinction between Sport and Budo. When people hear the word "Sport" they automatically create mental associations with the word. The same goes for "Budo", but in this case many people in the west don't have an image to associate this with so it is up to the Budoka to clarify things and create a proper image. On the other hand one can aim to "redefine" sport to the layperson, focusing on its intent (and how that relates to Budo) instead of what is often seen as its most popular expression.
Partly due to the reason above, as a Shodokan instructor I am quite clear to indicate that there are competitive (directly sport/competition-oriented) aspects of what we do and traditional Budo (traditional Japanese martial way) aspects of what we do. This is my choice since in my environment, training for competition is at the very best a secondary desire of students (if at all) when viewed against the primary need for a strong core of self defence skills and building a warrior mindset. For me the Shodokan instruction method meets both goals quite well, the only difference being that those who do not want to train for sport are not allowed to be hampered by the shiai ruleset in randori. This allows for quite interesting and taxing resistance randori training which is tailored more towards the building of a warrior spirit.
The only area athat I have issue with in your post is this:
In 15 years ive learned that many aikido techniques would be virtually impossible against someone with even a reasonable appreciation of how to keep his balance.But with the right training in a sporting environment (tanto randori) against a competitive opponent, one can quickly streamline their repertoire to the most effective techniques.
I agree in essence to what you say here, but wrt tanto randori from a shiai only perspective there is a major problem with students developing muscle memory that works with untelegraphed, multiple angle knife attacks. I believe our tanto randori/shiai format is highly effective in dealing with a straight stab with resistance (this has even been proven to work "on the street" here with a couple of my clubmates), but in the tanto randori context one should train in dealing with all 9 angles of knife attack if planning to have an understanding from a self-defence perspective.
I am not sure how things are practiced outside and I know in the book Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge there are exercises that allow for practicing against 3 basic knife angles, which I think is important if one is attempting to be have effective waza outside the shiai-type tanto randori format. The same applies to Toshu randori imho.
Just my 5 cents.