(This is my brief observation during my time practicing Aikido)
Up till now I have experienced the highs and lows of training, the hardships and successes that come before and after grading, and the people that arrive and leave the dojo. I've enjoyed my training but I never thought I would be one of the people who would leave. There has been doubt in the back of my mind that manifested 1 year ago, that always made me question why. Why practice with no resistance, why practice with no competition, why does everyone go on about how competition only serves to boost the ego? (Do NOT answer these questions, I do not care for the answers - I've "heard it all before" - if you answer these questions I will take that as a sign that you are an illiterate and your incompetence will be forgiven.)
It was doubt that caused an internal battle within myself. In my own opinion (and from my experiences), Aikido seems to need to be believed/have faith entrusted into it for the results to show themselves. There lies the base for all my doubts. I have never been one to have faith. I consider myself to be a very logical person, relying on fact and results. I always wanted to be able to test the skills I was learning, I tested the techniques outside the dojo however the results weren't good. Inside the dojo everything seemed to work, however when I asked the Uke to add resistance I was met with the same failure. This only increased my doubts.
This continued on for quite a while, the result never changed. I felt like I was wasting my time. For those that say - "don't worry about such a thing and just practice for the sake of practice". Let me answer it this way: Deep down, when you know something isn't right and it just makes you uncomfortable that you cannot continue with what you're doing. Practice was becoming uncomfortable, ignoring the problem was difficult because it felt like I was being jabbed in the head with a needle every time.
I find it difficult to practice because the dojo practices quite different to how I prefer to practice. To which someone would say "just change dojos". I have tried other places, but the same issue is there before I have even arrived. (I have no issue with the people/instructors at any dojo, they are all wonderful people who do their best to pass on their knowledge to their students.) To be honest, it is hard to put into words what this problem is without it being misinterpreted. It just felt like what I was being told didn't fit with what I knew.
All I can say now is that after much thought and discussion with my family and with myself, I have decided to cease my Aikido practice and start training in a different martial art that I feel better suits me. Be eager to learn and practice, fight in competitions and let it mold my character.
Thanks and train hard.
So sorry that you posted this anonymously. It would have been nice to know that we could connect the dots in the future as your perspectives will likely change as you train at new dojo(s) in new art(s). In particular, I'm quite curious what you think (in retrospect) you've taken with you from Aikido into pursuit of other arts after you've had a chance to reflect on that.
I've had the benefit of training with Jonathan Knipping who's teaching Aikido at Enso Aikido and Kiku Matsu Dojo, and learning Karate at the dojo Enso shares. He claims that learning striking/linear/attack powered arts radically alters and improves one's Aikido. I have been very curious about trying some Yichuan, but I wonder if its suppleness isn't different enough to force me out of mental complacencies/ruts I might be developing in Aikido.
All that said, after having spent so much time on the mat doing Aikido, if it has effectively taught you anything (good or bad), has it not somewhat rewired your brain and the way you move? After a long time, is its effect even conscious any more? "Goodbye Aikido" seems like a very difficult thing to do. O Sensei was a student of several arts/teachers and Aikido is a distillation of those (and Omotokyo/Onisaburo Deguchi). Defending the intellectual distinctions between all of these things is confusing and fruitless. Hello Aikido; Goodbye Aikido--just keep going! Thanks for sharing your feelings, and I hope you'll feel so inclined in the future.