Re: Knees and Shoulders - avoiding damage
Ibb, you are a very practical person, and you are right for about 99% of the dojos when you say that it is not monks and enlightenment, but don't forget that Aikido was part of a required regiment of training for a sect of Shinto (which O'Sensie was a part of). It does have some religious implications, and it is still active in some parts of the world (although mostly Japan).
Dusko, I have trained in Aikido for a year and a half and been on a track and field team for 3 years (high school). In my time with track and field I saw 12 people get injured, but in my aikido training, I have only seen 2. All physical activity can cause injury. I am told wet floors cause 2 billion dollars in medical bills a year (although I doubt that statistic).
I also think everyone has a misconception of kick boxing. I have a friend who is a boxer, he is not a mean or sadistic person who wants to hurt people. He just likes to compete. The art of boxing, like any other type of art, can be used to hurt or benifit people depending on how you use it. A cartoonist could delight children or use his talents to hurt people's feelings. The intent is what matters, not the art itself. That is what seperates Aikido from Aikijujutsu, Judo, or BJJ in my opinion. Aikido was made "as a gift to my human brothers" (O'sensei), so we specifically take out some of the more vicious aspects that were originally in the precursor arts of Aikido (such as eye gouging, strikes to genitals, finger, arm, and leg breaking techniques, and lethal techniques) of it so our oponate does not get harmed. We do not intend to hurt others.