Thanks for that. It is exactly what I needed to start another thread.
I can't honestly answer that question at the moment. I chose aikido for my career. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't practice at least for self-defense.
But, i'd LIKE for it not be all about fighting. I just feel like getting to that point in my training is years, if not decades, away.
You are so not alone James.
I'm sure the majority start because they want self defence more than anything.
In time this can change...confidence in the ability to defend oneself and also how to conduct oneself to avoid fighting , as well as greater life experience means that goals can change.
I dont believe Aikido to be the most effective one v one fighting art there is, for starters the modern training in MMA gives those that are fit enough and strong enough...and maybe young enough...advantages over equivalents in Aikido in many but not all areas. Of course there are other arts too..not discounting Muay Thai etc...just not where I'm thinking.
For me aikido contains enough - I love the practice and most of the people and have (almost) outgrown the urge to fight.
The problem I see is the time factor...by the time Aikido has changed long term goals most students have already given up because the perceive that Aikido does not meet their initial goals of self defence as well as more visual striking arts for example.
As an aside - The saddest thing is many give up Aikido because they think it is not effective and then do nothing at all because other arts are too demanding.
Sure - Other arts can make you a better fighter in a shorter time, but what about the next 20 years? What do you really want - what will hold your interest and keep you looking ?
On an earlier thread I've seen Don Magee comment about matching goals to the chosen Art.(or words to that effect). a very good point to me.
Train in something that makes you want to train.
Give Aikido long enough to grasp what it has to offer - If your goals can still be matched by aikido then terrific.
If not then maybe do something else.
But dont try to re-invent Aikido, bringing in extra striking based on perceived short comings when you have barely scratched its surface. ( a point - not an accusation)