Re: The Point of Aikido
Dear mr. Ledyard,
Thank you for writing this excellent article. It summarizes a lot of issues that have been troubling me for quite some time. I think that you are absolutely right in your assessment of the point of Aikido. It is to become a better person, not to be the best martial artist in the word.
The problem embedded within Aikido is however that it is a martial art, not just an art. The martial portion of it somehow seems to evoke competition. Wanting to win, wanting to be the best.
The founder himself was no stranger to this concept. It seems that in his younger years (and even when he was not that young any more) this was his ultimate goal. To beat them all. No matter how young, no matter how big. Even if the opponent was a summo wrestler. And apparently he could and did.
For a lot of people who start training, this is the allure of Aikido. To be able to learn all of Morihei Ueshiba's skills (preferably by training Aikido twice a week for two hours).
Maybe the most difficult part of Aikido, for anyone who starts Aikido with this idea in his or her mind, is to let this go and just practice. Practice hard, honestly, kind, to the best of your ability, without judging your training partner, without wanting to be better than anyone, just having fun and becoming a better person.