Re: The Challenge of Not Competing
There seems to be an obsession with the idea of "not competing" in aikido circles, that I think goes beyond what Ueshiba had in mind.
Competition is not an evil thing. I was brought up in a culture where it was (and is) considered character building to play competitive sport. I would argue that team sports offer opportunities for aspects of character improvement that are totally absent in martial arts practice.
It is true that weaknesses in some people's characters will be exposed - bullying or cheating for example - but equally it can test how you react under pressure and whether you have a bit of guts and determination.
It is also true that some professional sports people do not readily display those aspects of behaviour that we would perhaps like. But I have worked with several that have been some of the most positive people I've ever met, and that do exemplify the best that competition can bring out in a person.
Obsession over the word is counterproductive, IMO. Get out there and test yourself.