Re: The Challenge of Not Competing
Zen folks have an expression, "do without doing." On some level, it's not different than Nike's "Just do it." Ideally, if you can maintain a state of equanimity, you will not be mentally / emotionally off-balanced---your "ki won't be drawn out." Finding and maintaining this state under stress both take practice.
Someone with a competitive mindset may be easily drawn into a competition. Someone who feels he must not compete can be held at bay with the mere suggestion that he would be competing to do otherwise. Someone who feels he must win can be drawn into a trap with the suggestion that victory is not yet his. Someone who is concerned with an adversary's feelings is easily manipulated and steered off his original course.
That said, the dojo is the place to work out those details. That means we struggle with techniques (competing with self), we sharpen each other's skills (perhaps competition with each other), and so forth, as we work toward the ideal practice.