Amir Krause wrote:
How can anyone who has practiced even for a few years know if the change came from AIKIDO or from growing and gaining more experience?
Good point. Only two ways to compare:
1. compare yourself with other people over the same time period
2. compare the improvement during aikido training to a period prior to aikido training
There are assumptions in both, though we are also assuming that we are more empathetic rather than that we just increase the belief that we are more emphathetic.
Personally I think if you train in aikido (or any martial art) it is difficult not to reflect at some point on the ethics of conflict and different strategies of conflict resolution. Since the accepted 'culture' of aikido suggests less aggressive behaviour and more empathy, I think many people tend down this route rather than the converse (fight first, ask questions later) route.