Good points there, Chuck.
I don't think competition is a bad thing, even in aikido. I feel that competition with ego leads to the concepts of winning and losing, something that's probably not "right" in aikido. However, competition in it's purest sense will help both parties learn and grow in a cooperative manner.
(I have a quote here on my whiteboard at home that says, "Always make new mistakes." As long as I'm open to making mistakes, I feel like I'm open to fixing them, too...)