All in all, I think having to maintain a balanced mental/physical state under pressure, puts you in the zone, a place that people inherently understand is beyond the norm. Being able to flush the cares of the world and go there...by choice...is truly one of lifes pleasures. it is definitely not unique to Aikido practice...
Hi Dan -
My father was a self taught woodworker that I spent several years working for part time while I was in high school. He never studied a martial art but judging by the quality of his work and his demeanor in the shop I can look back now and say he displayed a very high level degree of mind/body coordination.
At work he was definitely in the zone, never hurried or harried, he moved from task to task with quiet grace and the unnerving calmness typically displayed by a master craftsman.
While I didn't stay with it long enough to approach his skill at working wood, I have found that same state on the mat when I train. It is, I think, what I value most about my study. The point is, I guess, that the full spectrum of Aikido training paradigms provide a wide cross section of people with the tools and opportunity to achieve that same state of being and students will gravitate to where the training provides them with what they are looking for.