Re: Competition in Aikido
"My opinion is that I am strong enough with most of my basic waza that I can force them on many, many people. If my goal to win becomes 'make the technique work', then I'm bound to stay at my current level and just basically get stronger and stronger and maybe improve my timing a bit. But my goal of martial improvement requires me to let go of some of the things I've used in the past to be successful in getting the uke to the ground and try to be more and more effective *eventually* by having a lot more discipline about how I move my body with the uke. "
Competition is not about using all your stregnth. It's about doing your best Aikido. Surely you do not believe that Aikido does not work on an opponent who is simply stronger than you? Why do you believe that your muscling technique will work on an opponent who is far more skilled?
This slipperly slope is addressed by competition. You can learn what stregnth can and can't do - and you will learn when and when not to apply it.
If your goal is to make the technique work, you will quickly learn that muscle is only part of the solution. This step is very low on the ladder too. If everyone you practice with is cowed by muscle, perhaps you need new training partners.
And to me, this improvement of technique is only a part of the "competition" (a word I'm beginning to feel is subjective enough to subvert to any viewpoint) - the true value is the deeper understanding of my body, the bodies of others, and motion.
Limiting yourself to cooperative practice is like exploring a jungle by never leaving the trail. You will never know it intimately like that.