It seems people have a hard time seeing aikido. And i think to really get it, you have to feel it. Still, if i may suggest in terms of understanding the art, it might help not to think like aikido was one thing – and everybody who practices is the same. More like musicians many instruments, styles etc. Not everybody plays the same music, even on the same instrument, or the same piece the same way.
Clearly many people are attracted to aikido and tai chi as well for the centering calmness and developmental aspects. Some never explore the martial. Others only the martial. There was a dojo i heard about when i was teaching in new zealand that went out to fight in the bars after training to see how well it worked. Not the way i think of the art, but to each his own. I’m guessing they focused primarily on the physical techniques and not on the inner aspects, but maybe they did i don’t know.
Anyway it’s quite a broad continuum. i think most aikidoka are not on either end but have varying degrees of interest in both aspects, though it seems aikido does attract the more harmonious types. As i’m guessing MMA and the arts focused on fighting are less likely to attract meditators. If all you want are martial skills there are shorter paths. However if you practice aikido with that bent it can be developed. And, in my understanding, no one ever defeated O Sensei.
Similarly, i think most folks have no understanding of what Aikido teaches. They just see the forms. They see the ‘waza’ (the techniques). They don’t see the ‘DO’ (the finer dimensions) of the art. Sadly this includes many who profess to teach the art. I don’t care what your interests are and hope you follow them. At the same time, i do feel a sadness for the students who don’t know about what could be learned and leave the art or only get a small (imho) part of what it offers.
I know a lot of people interested in fighting arts like to argue about who’s best and fighters are all about that, -‘who’s better’. And understandably, who wants to lose a fight. But i think aiki, though its techniques can be used that way exclusively, in the totality of the art is about making everyone better, and creating a world of harmony, while developing the strength, spirit, and skill to make that a possibility. I tend to assume, people are exploring the aspects that interest them. At least i hope they are.
O sensei said, ” Peaceful reconciliation means allowing everyone the completion of their bestowed mission.” (OK, who knows what he said but that’s how i’ve heard it translated.)
May your study bring you what you seek. My wish, we all support each other in that.
“Create a beautiful world!”