When is a martial art not a martial art?
When it’s Aikido!
Contest sports contain little, if any truly martial skill that would be useful in a battlefield. Their brawling methods exist to keep people entertained. And injured.
And yet, nearly all these, once formed part of a comprehensive survival toolkit either for the killing fields or for day to day survival as hunter gathering societies, many with unruly neighbours.
In today’s world we are not warring farmers and no longer grow up working from an early age. Our “work” usual consists of lots of sitting down and inordinate efforts spent to avoid real work, of the sweaty muscular kind. The most wear and tear we now get is RSI from wielding a mouse and keyboard as we become blind.
The stresses of today are different and perhaps more damaging than those of natural people.
In adapting our lifestyles to much softer than those of our ancestors it can’t be expected that we could even begin to approach the athletic levels of those who move daily to survive.
Adaptations in Aikido continue. Many revolve around minimising stress to RSI riddled wrists, arms, shoulder, necks and backs damaged and weakened by office work.
But people still train. Why? Other skills are enhanced by the simulation of survival practices which nevertheless do increase physical fitness to some measure, but also unlock hitherto unexplored attributes of ourselves, artistic talents and other forms of intelligence not usually explored. These would be stifled in competitive sports who’ve lost the plot around any form of reality.
Notwithstanding that Aikido is a Budo adapted to today, nevertheless, we must always train to the best of our ability, as if real and preparing for real battle. The myriad other attributes and skills that are then vivified and enhance all your other skills then make this worthwhile.
Most of today’s soft people will not approach anywhere near the physical ability that of the ancient ones.
There can be a gain in the Aikido approach to training, particularly in seeking another way than brute strength and conflict to get results.