Re: Sport is the new Budo
In Thailand, Aikido is compulsory at the Police Academy and Army Officer School. All my teachers, current and previous teach or have taught there. The training is always similar to that at the dojo except that the military folks like to add a little more resistance. Many Police officers practice at my dojo and they can all vouch that they have used Aikido in many real life situations. Conflict for these people is a part of their job and life, they do not need competition to prove if the techniques work or not, they have to apply them in real life situations. I understand that some need to always measure themselves to someone else, and competition is probably a good way. But then Aikido by its nature does not lend itself well to competition since there are 2 opposite roles to be played, unlike Karate or Judo where both opponents have the same purpose. My own personal opinion is that Aikido is great as it is, if I wanted the sport aspect I would have remained in Judo. And by the way, I have a lot of bad memories of the 7 years I spent doing Judo. Being not very competitive (not able to fight for top positions in championships), my and other friends' position was quite awkward at the dojo because we could not perform as well as our champs. We were often used as Uke in order to help the competitive ones train for upcoming events. We were so to speak second class members. This is one of the main reasons I prefer the Aikido training environment.