Re: Why do we do it?
An instructor of mine once told me - Aikido is the 1st line of defense, karate is the 2nd.
Saitome Sensei, not two weeks ago, told the summer camp attendees that Aikido is not just technique ( punctuating that with a dismissive wiggle of his wrist as if to dismiss the concept of 'technique' entirely - I got a kick out of that) but it is for the development of the person and how they live.
So that's what my teachers say.
What I say is a mixture of the two. A not-even-comprehensive list of what Aikido has given me:
1. The ability to do harm, and the possibility to *not* do harm. It is super, super, super easy to damage another person's body.
2. Body communication. I have a much heightened sense of how bodies work, and I have the ability to talk that through (both verbally and 'talking' it through physically) with other martial artists.
3. It has taught me to communicate ideas to rank beginners - body mechanics, this elusive concept of ki, the danger of knives, etc. It has made me a vastly better teacher and communicator in my day to day life.
4. It's brought me into contact with some truly amazing people.
5. It lowers my personal stress levels immensely
As far as the concepts of "convincing attack" and "not working" in a fight, I have one simple answer for both of those.
"I'm working on it."
If that's not a good enough answer for the asker ... that's not really my problem. I'm not developing them, I am developing me.