I have read your comments and I can see that this topic is starting to give a few opinionated views about benefits of competitions and non-competitions etc, but personally I agree with Andy's initial post and I don't think he meant it in the wrong way about those who believe in competitions. I think his view is shared when we understand the concept of Aikido being a discipline and not a sport, where we do not take competition into account. Now if anyone likes competitions then it is a choice I respect too and I can see why some people feel the need to participate into competitions and that is fine. At the end of the day we are all individuals and this topic can never be truly resolved by choosing which one is ultimately the best. The choice is within our preferences. Personally, again I am not discriminating competitions, but there is a point that is worth mentioning: when competitions are involved, often there will be forbidden techniques in the competition purely because it is too dangerous and then we could end up doing training putting aside these powerful techniques only to use the ones that are allowed in the competition and to me that is a danger of not training the martial arts as a whole with its full spectrum of techniques it offers. I have seen 'the wrong side' where they teach to hit the fastest but this technique may not bring an opponent down, i.e. someone could punch me first but if my second punch is a knock out? Do I still lose? This can be argued for a long time and personally the competition aspect brings a winner today only... Anyway I can see why people bring this whole debate over again and again.
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