“Aikido is non-competitive. That’s easy to say. The practice is not about defeating an opponent, but about both participants being victorious by finding a truly peaceful solution and growing as human beings in the process. That, too, is easy to say.
Still, there’s a lot of competing going on in aikido. Numerous aikido students hurry along the way in an effort to surpass their fellow trainees, in skills as well as grades, eager to take a teaching role when working with whatever partner, reluctant to learn as equals.
But it doesn’t stop at the individual level. It happens that dojos compete as well, to attract more students from the streets, maybe even hoping to lure some over from the other dojos. And the rings on the water widen. Groups of dojos, connected by little more than a common organization or by their definition of a style of aikido, might also show the hostility of a porcupine towards other groups or the outside aikido world as a whole, insisting that none is closer to the truth.”
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