I was talking to a friend from my old Karate dojo about returning to Aikido. He has seen a number of public demos from a few dojos and had talked to some aikidoka. He is an excellent karate man with more that 20 years of training. He asked me a question that he says he has asked others in aikido and never gotten an answer that he thought made sense. He asked me:
"If you guys know that aikido does not work in a fight and in training do not really give your partner a convincing attack and then just roll or fall down, why do you do it?"
I gave him a standard answer that included the idea that each person may give a different reason for doing it. I said that some aiki techniques do work very well in a self defence situation and other techniques are practiced to teach a concept such as blending or avoiding etc. and that ukemi itself was an excellent defence.
He replied "that's not good enough, why bother with it?'
I had no further answer except to tell him "you just have to do it to understand". I never spent time asking myself why, I just did it. Perhaps I should have a better answer.
If you were asked this question how would you answer it?
Thats too bad. During the oral examination of our tests we are almost always grilled about reasons for training in aikido. Particularly for dan ranks, simple once-sentence answers are not acceptable as Sensei tends to try and really make us think this through.