Just some thoughts
first a bit of background hopefully may provide an insight into what it is we do at the Kolesnikov School of mind and body development and Aikido school... Sensei Wasyl Kolesnikov (7th Dan) has over forty years experience in the practice of Aikido. He has created his own style of Aikido based on mind and body development, which focuses on energy and calmness, rather than physical strength.I have had the good fortune to be one of his students for a long time now, and through studying the art of Aikido have been able to apply the principles and knowledge of Sensei K to everyday life.
There is a lot of talk and skepticism both within and outside the Aikido community about which MA is the best and most effective, and which styles of Aikido do and do not work etc. However the answer to these questions and debating them seems largely pointless. Every art has good aspects and things it could improve on, also each art appeals to different people in different ways. If there was only one style of Aikido or one martial art I'm sure there would be a lot less people training around the world today.
When people look at O'Sensei's original ideas they are all interpreted in different ways, the result is the different styles and approaches. The point is that regardless of what style or even what kind of martial art people train in, we should all be supportive of each other even if we do not always understand or agree with a different approach than our own.
These thoughts came to me when debating religion and the very touchy topic of multiculturalism in Britain the other day. Now I am not a religious person as such, and to me what religion someone else follows is irrelevant, i may not believe the things they do. However i can respect the fact that a religion can provide a way of life for people to better themselves and focus their energy in a positive way. Surely that has to be more important that getting hung up on what kind of god people pray to or even debating whether or not their beliefs are factually accurate.
This got me thinking about the on going debates about the effectiveness of Aikido. Assuming by effectiveness people are referring to the "could you disarm/beat up/ "win" in a fight or combat" situation using Aikido. Whether the answer is yes or no (which it is nearly impossible to say due to an infinite number of situational possibilities,) for students in our system the answer shouldn't matter. Nor do i think it should matter to anyone who studies Aikido.
Sensei Kolesnikov said once that you may train in every martial art in existence for 30/40 or however many years, and have 1 fight and not win ( the idea being that nothing is certain no matter how hard you train.) Or even that you never fight! then what is the purpose of all that training (other than the physical benefits?)
To me the purpose of our Aikido training are all the benefits which Aikidokas gain outside of the "fight" situation, these are the things which we work on and develop at KSMBDA while maintaining an effective form of self defense through our Aikido.
I have trained in different forms of Aikido and also different martial arts and fighting arts, and the things which i appreciate most from my training with Sensei K i came to realize are the things which i can apply to my everyday life not just when i am sparring or when someone assaults you.
Everyone has their own approaches and their own motives for training in any MA. From an my Aikido point of view anything that promotes positive development in an individual is only a good thing. The beauty of Aikido is that where many arts may seek to obtain this development through competition, where the development of one comes at the expense of the "loser", we work in harmony with each other and eventually the whole universe to fill our lives with Ki.
Hope you enjoy my ponderings, peace and love to all
(Any further information to see what KSMDA is about visit www.universalaikido.com