I don't really know what all of you were talking about, but I liked the qoute at the begining of the thread.
As I see it (and I'm not checking any typos ideas!), the sentence is very true for me.
I'm training for 2 years now, I'm not a tall girl not built too well etc. So I don't imagine myself to ever be the greatest fighter etc. I never started Aikido for that either. The techniques are great for the training, maybe after years of training I might be able to use them, if I ever needed to (hope not!), but Aikido has had it's influence on the way I think and behave.
And that's what I like about the qoute "...transform and elevate spirits...".
I know that since I started doing Aikido I have changed. I am much more relaxed, I tend to except people and ideas that are different from mine better than I did before.
And the one thing I think really changed is that I learned to settle arguements before they begun, or "fight" with speech, leaving the other person confused since they were building up for a high voiced arguement.
For example, I had a boss that felt he had to be "better" than me and make me aware of it all the time. He would never say he was wrong even if he was, nor apologize if he blamed someone else for his mistakes...
So whenever he would come to tell me I didn't do something right, that I didn't finish some project I would "blend in" and answer:
1. If I was really wrong, I'd agree, apologize and promise to make emmends immidiately. That used to leave him standing totaly confused after he had been building up how he would fight and argue with me from thinking I would not except his comments on my work.
2. If he was wrong since I didn't do something because he didn't give me all the information to work on or so, I would just "enter straight into his center" which means, I would just ask him back if he gave me the information, asked me at all to do the job etc. This would also leave him unbalanced because he was faced with the truth and would stuter to find an answer.
This is just big examples without all the concept of each case. It's not likle this always works, some people just can't feel good if they didn't run down someone else. But I've learned to deal with that too.
This is for me the other part that Aikido gives me. I'm able to stand on my own, express myself, in ways I never knew of before.
And I believe it happened because by training in Aikido, you train your mind and it learns to "flow" and "blend" also
There was this sentence that isn't exactly related to this, but I liked it:
"The tongue is the only edged weapon that grows keener (or sharpens) with constant use"
Anyway, that's my opinion.