Ian Dodkins wrote:
I'd love to hear views from those who said it wasn't important. I think the self-defence aspect sets the structure and the goal to which the aiki concepts are honed. Without keeping self defence (or at least combat) in mind I think the aikido could 'degenerate' into a wide range of movement which involves blending, but which has no other use.
I answered (IIRC) "not very important", meaning strictly in my own practice, because that's the reality I live in. Before I came across aikido I didn't feel that I needed to learn "self-defence", it wasn't the reason why I started and it's also not the reason why I continue training. So not very important in my own practice.
Now if you'd ask me do I want my aikido to be "effective" I'd answer yes and then we'd get into a lovely debate about what "effective" means.
I mean something like - there's a connection between me and uke and what I do leads to the conclusion I want, that is, uke falls, and not to the conclusion uke wants- that I fall.
And I'd like my training partners to react in a more or less "natural" way, not like a pre-programmed "uke". But training for some self-defence scenario isn't very interesting to me.