Re: Competition in Aikido
Clearly my training mindset is completely at odds with the general mindset of those "enlightened" pasifists that post here. Maybe it is my location, afterall South Africa is pretty much a 3rd world craphole, rife with crime and newspapers filled with the kind of human misery that make responsible adults keep large dogs, firearms and lock their security gates and barred windows at night.
Maybe I stress the EFFECTIVITY issue too much but I cannot fathom someone staying their course in a chosen pursuit without a goal to work towards. Maybe your goal is to teach blind kids to help themselves, maybe your goal is personal fulfilment and self discovery, maybe you just want the next rank or to meet up with your dojo friends, whatever the case may be, to ME your concerns are a far and trailing secondary to my concerns.
"Survival of the fittest" has worked for our forefathers and theirs before them, strething thousands of years into the past, the fact that we hole ourselves up in "safe" cities does not remove the genetic conditioning that milions of years of evolution has instilled in us. There HAS to be a pecking order, competition is a SAFE, ORDERED way to establish this order and to anyone who has ever been injured by a partner in the throes of passive aggressive machismo I would wager that organised competition would be far preferable to that kind of abuse.
Throwing up some misinterpreted and misunderstood o-sensei philosophical chestnut about the evils of "competition" smacks of self delusion and excuse making. Until you have stood your ground against someone who is not "holding back", who is of equal skill and determination and who does not have your comfort and best interests at heart how would you ever know if the thing that you have been training for (sometimes for decades) is of ANY value? This kind of statement usually serves as a cue to those that like to jump in with "but it makes me fit and feel better about myself" or "but its a great way to meet girls and establish friendships" or "but it makes the beer taste better" - smart as you might think yourself for saying things like this, it still does not resolve or remove the basic issue:
You are training a MARTIAL ART, you are not going to a social club, you are not in a dance class and you are not at a gym. You are learning techniques that are at best RUMORED to once upon a time have "worked" within the context that you believe you are training for. The masters of old are not infallible and every celebrated act of martial ability that stories are still told of, is another instance where, by the reckoning of those "enlightened" individuals in this community, the masters themselves were going contrary to their own philosophical teachings. I guess that gleefully telling your young students of your times in Mongolia, chopping up bandits with a sword and how you cant just slice all the time because human fat coats a blade and you need a sword polisher at standby is perfectly acceptable as a demonstration of martial ability but testing yourself against another in a supervised competition is on par with selling your grandmother for drug money (philosophically speaking of course)
There is no easy way for me to find out if what I do has worth and without ordered competitions to at least give me some sort of abstract feedback on my progress I am tempted to do ugly things to mean people and very possibly endanger myself and very probably, with a longshot and a lot of luck maybe endanger them. To me, and this is my opinion so you dont have to agree with it or even read it, people who train without this concern for real world applicability are merely going through the motions, pissing on serious martial traditions that we should be grateful for being let in on and are probably better off joining a commune to live out their pasifist, meat free lives away from the rigors and terror of the real world.
I hope I have offended enough people that they might reconsider their stance on some of the topics I have touched upon. If you do find yourself in a rage over what I have written, please dont take the easy way out and dismiss me as a troll, seriously think about it. If you can honestly say that the MARTIAL aspect of Aikido is not something you are interested in then power to you and may you train happily for a long time. If however the MARTIAL aspect holds any value to you, do what is at the core of Aikido's effectivity and dont get angry (resist) but adapt your training and thinking (flow).