The real challenge in Aikido is the feedback. The part where we want to know if we are doing the right thing or not. For a competitve sport, the feedback is simple and direct. you win, you’re good, you win some more, you’re the champ. you lose, work hard, you are not good.
It leaves out a lot of blanks to fill. between the winning and losing, what happens?
Competitively inclined folks has a certain fear of losing. I just read an article about a Singaporean footballer who trains very hard, and he is partly motivated by the fear of losing. All the source of his discipline, character (he has never been penalised by a red card in his 12 years career in Singapore football) and dedication to the sport stems from the fear of losing this competitive spirit.
Admittedly i have a competitive spirit in me too, i’m sure everyone has, it is a healthy thing to have. in Aikido, we also primarily challenge our self and endeavour to perform better. our partners are not there for us to defeat. neither are they are to defeat us. this is a stark contrast from a ‘sports’ inclined dojo. where our partners are sometimes our competitors, will you train sincerely and earnestly if you know your training buddy will potentially beat you for the gold?
This creates a guarded environment where we become even more blinded by the real enemy, our ego. Then it becomes a contest of egos, our training buddies instead of helping us better ourselves, they become our obstruction, as they apply their own secrets. We cannot breed sincerity, honesty and integrity if we hide and harbour certain ‘secret’ tournament winning moves from our own training buddies.
The true spirit of martial arts is victory over self. why would you wanna fight someone else, when we are our own worst enemies, and best of bosom buddies in the same body, at the same time?