To your questions.
1. You are right. It's complex, messy and everyone has their own opinion. Hunt around here a bit. This is not an uncommon topic round these parts and while it might not be discussed directly, it's probably the most common undercurrent of threads we have. See Eric Sotnak's primer at
for more information.
2. Not many but there are some. Look up Tomiki Aikido for more information. Generally, Aikido is non-competitive. Well, we try to keep it that way.
3. It has been for me and I would have to imagine for everyone else around here.
[Edited by Erik on December 9, 2000 at 06:10pm]