I read a lot of threads concerned with the fighting aspects of the art. Wether aikido is effective on the ground, against kicking, against a boxer, against a grappler.... etc. That it is originally a battle field art, whatever. There seems to be a lot of concern with the fighting effectiveness of the art.
If I wanted to train so that I could defeat an oponent I wouldn't train a 'do' or way, I would train something that is for fighting.
I see aikido as a vehicle, a method for personal or spiritual development of which there are many and aikido just happens to be one of.
When I train I try to keep this in mind, I am aspiring for something great, not to be the greatest warrior but to be a great man and aikido is a way I can learn to understand my body and its relationship to other bodies and universal energy.
Sometimes I get caught up in the fighting aspects but I try to keep away from this. There is no competition in aikido for a reason, and this is that. In my opinion from a young age we are geared towards competition, the whole education scheme emphasises competition between people and I dont think this is the ideal that Morihei Ueshiba intended when developing the art.
I apologise for the long post but I still have some more to say.
I have recently come to the conclusion that morals, ethics and values all exist with the assumption that there is something greater in the world, something to aspire to. So if you live a life in which you hold morals and life valuable then you admit in yourself there is something higher.... so why not strive for it? Why do anything half heartedly? If you dont believe there is something higher, morals should not make any sense to you and as such rules and boundaries dont make any sense.
Back to my original idea, aikido is still a self defense art and as such the martial value is important. But I think it is only of secondary importance and we need to not get caught up in it. When it all comes down to it, the majority of us would get our asses kicked by anyone who has studied a serious fighting art, and if that concerns you then train a fighting art. If not then take a little look at your motivations for training.
The moment I admit to myself that something higher does not exist, then that moment I may as well be dead because nothing will be of importance.
Thank you for the patience any of you had to bother finishing reading my post.
On a closing note, Im not sure if I have read or heard this quote anywhere before but it popped into my head last night.
If you train to defeat an enemy then ultimately the only person who will be defeated is yourself.