Competition in Aikido

CLShodokan Sensei’s view on Competition;

The word ‘Competition’ is an insufficient way to explain what happens when two individuals/ groups meet in a Shodokan Aikido tournament.

Most of the time, these groups have trained using the same syllabus and under the same senior instructors. There is also an understanding of etiquette, respect and common skills being honed, implicit in our training. This is usually lost to the onlooker.

As a tutor I use many tools to evaluate my teaching and students learning. Demonstration, being the major tool.

Kata (wiki) is a tool which informs both the student and myself that the knowledge has been absorbed, internalized (mastered) to an extent! Doing something once is Ok, doing the skill when necessary and under pressure is true mastery.

Kata by its nature cannot teach us everything, as there is usually a designated winner and a loser in kata practice. How difficult is it to train a student to react ‘proactively’ in a tense situation, where there is risk. How do I train someone to maintain mental focus under pressure?

Randori (wiki) is my method, as designated by the Shodokan Aikido syllabus, I could use other methods, but Aikido is what has brought people to me.

With students who have a basic understanding through kata practice, what’s next; a true test of application, demonstrating that they have mastered the skills they have been learning. We translate that description to the word ‘Competition’, insufficient as stated above.