Thanks for the responses. I do believe that the competitive aspect is a little too prevalent in BJJ. I don't really study bjj for self defense anymore than a kendoist trains to fight people in the streets with a sword. I do it kind of for the same reason a person would practice everyday on a violin. I also box on occasion but do jiu jitsu much more. I did one mma fight that I won, but have noticed that more and more people involved in that sport nowadays neglect true technique and are especially lacking in the spiritual side if the martial arts. To a lot of them it's just about fighting and winning trophies. I've won medals and trophies in jiu jitsu tournaments and have one from my MMA fight, but have realized that I originally got into martial arts for the long haul. The main reason that I train is because I feel that I'm an artist first and find that through the movements of any particular fighting style a certain expression of myself is portrayed every day in practice as well as in competition. I might not have invented the movements but they are still my own as I grow and learn more and more about myself everyday.
Sounds like you got a head start on seeing what the "real" competition in martial arts is: that of self-development, discovering self-awareness & the spiritual realization that all living beings are interconnected. It begins with the strengthening of the body & the perfection of martial technique, which then becomes the forging of mind & spirit into purity of heart & will. You move from being a fighter to becoming a warrior. Fighters live for the moment and for the glory of victory; warriors see the "big picture" and realize their smallness in the universe and in the outcome of events...warriors only fight if they have no other choice. Mythology & folklore from all cultures tell this same tale. It's no different here in the 21st century.
What upsets so many MMA folks about Aikido is that Aikido begins with the spiritual and works backwards towards the physical...a concept that many can't (or won't) grasp, something I'm sure you observed time and again. In Aikido, competition & fighting with others ultimately become meaningless because it is with ourselves (i.e. ego, selfishness, sinfulness...however it fits into your philosophical/spiritual/religious outlook) that we really content against. That's what Master Ueshiba, whom we call O'Sensei, discovered in his martial arts journey.
Are fighting skills important? Maybe & sometimes. However, warriors never fight...they defend. Big difference.