Bring up the word competition among aikidoka and the typical response is that Osensei disapproved of competition and that is pretty much the final word on the matter. It is a broad brush concept which seems accepted on all levels regarding competition. There are many good things about competition so let’s discuss the matter deeper instead of dismissing all of it.
What just happened?! That experience on the mat when you execute an attack, then nage adeptly steps to avoid it, and blends perfectly to redirect you with such light pressure that you don’t even feel it – you end up on the ground wondering what on earth happened. It is such a wonderful thing I cannot help but smile and even laugh every time it happens. It is the ivory tower perfection that aikidodoka seek, and it is truly marvelous.
Atemi is a strike meant to compromise an attacker's balance. Many aikidodoka (aikido practitioners) are uncomfortable with striking, some remarkably so.
There seem to be two primary sources for hesitance to use atemi, at least that I have noticed first hand:
1) They believe strikes are meant to cause pain and injury, which is contrary to the principles of aikido as laid down by the founder of aikido.
2) Mature and civilized people have respect for others and are not violent people. They equate striking with savagery and are actively resistant to indulge in it.
Attitude and mindset are crucial to everything you do and have a direct influence over the results you attain. O'sensei said "Always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner." This is very practical advice. Let's look at the benefits of taking on training in this way.
Here is something for all martial artists, not just aikidoka, to consider. The martial arts world consists of three primary realms, where practitioners of each specialize in certain aspects of hand to hand combat. Why consider this? In the larger sense, to increase your understanding and perspective. In a more personal sense, to give you a reason to set aside your scorn for those from other realms.
Aikido schools and instructors, indeed most martial arts, are often asked: do you teach the "traditional" version of your art? This is a tricky question to answer, because traditional means different things to people.