Re: The Challenge of Not Competing
Kevin, don't worry about hurting my feelings. I'm a freethinker that doesn't consider this type of exchange worth having unless my beliefs are being challenged at least a little.
At any rate, nothing you wrote really surprised me. I have had some of my more interesting training periods doing jiyu waza with people who had some judo background. Managing techniques with someone that is that hard to throw without "fighting" with them is a great mental, as well as physical, challenge.
It's not that I think that training competitively creates bad people. But I do think it creates a dualistic mindset that I am trying to avoid. Also, the right level of aggressiveness I am aiming for is zero (haven't really achieved that yet, but have had little glimpses and I would say my sensei is one of the more relaxed unaggressive people I know). On a separate note, I definitely think that it is completely at odds with what aikido is about. I agree with the idea that aikido is not about fighting and that it is about not fighting. I therefore find it difficult to imagine how you can do aikido while sportfighting.
Personnally I think that the biggest "problem" with the absence of competition in aikido is not so much the "illusions" or lack of authenticity this can allow. It is more that it allows people to be lazy in their training.
BTW, the competitve arts and sports have to work on their PR if they want to convince me. I see the macho nonsense that accompanies all broadcasted sportfighting and the tears and crushing dissapointment of those that are merely second best in the world at their activity and I see things I want to stay clear of alltogether. (Note that I have experienced, observed and heard of a lot of bad behavior in the world of non competitive aikido, so you don't really need to remind me of it).