Some more thoughts...
Good parents judge character all the time, as do schoolteachers, school boards, managers, policemen, military personnel, judges, juries, parole boards, and countless others. Many of these people make decisions or write evaluations/recommendations that have life-altering consequences for the individual concerned. In fact, we all make these judgments when we choose our friends and spouse.
Regarding technical skills:
When I look at a man who is 74 years old and takes up Aikido, I don't expect that his technical abilities are likely to be equal to those of an athletic, young person's (though I am always optimistic). This is especially true if he has physical limitations. I do think he can and should be graded on abilities other than just technical ability. If he markedly improves his balance and coordination, improves his fitness level, develops better awareness and faster reflexes, and thereby improves his overall quality of life, I think he should be recognized for it. This is the case even if his ability to execute throws and pins is not equal to what I would expect of a younger, more athletic person. This is especially true if this individual shows real effort and commitment, and in doing so, is seen as an inspiration by the younger folks. Interestingly, I have found that the younger folks are often the ones who feel most strongly that this older gentleman deserves to be promoted.
Regarding benefits of Aikido other than technical ability:
These include (but are not limited to): Improved fitness, balance, agility, coordination, explosiveness, faster reflexes, improved awareness, better control over one's temper, respect for others (regardless of their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation), respect for authority, improved ability to cooperate with others, improved ability to relax, improved ability to react under pressure, improved ability to pay attention to detail, improved self-discipline, and improved self-respect, improved self-confidence, etc..
I am sure there are many others. James.
Last edited by James Finley : 08-05-2004 at 03:55 AM.