Someone posted to my wall regarding my competitive victories that, “competition is only a measure of a man, but cooperation is the true measure of a human being,” implying that athletic achievements are merely ego.
As a representative of the USA national team across several sports, I can say that the top players in the world across all sports live up to the Latin root of the word “competition” - which is “con” and “petire” or “to seek together excellence.”
Most people who don’t compete lack an understanding of the true nature of it, which is, that if I improve and share with you my best self, and you with me, then we grow together and stronger. Competition IS cooperation, though in the cut-throat world of immorality and ignorance, it is misperceived and misapplied as domination over another, rather than successful growth WITH another. I give my best, so that others can grow. Reciprocally, I expect your best, so that I may as well, in kind.
Martial art, for me, and not for everyone, regards the development of my character through incremental pressure. Pressure speaks to what you REALLY believe, rather than what you theorize. A crisis will strip away all theories and leave your character naked and raw. From that exposed truth, martial art gives you the opportunity to build character virtue: the ability to remain calm, clear, appropriate, proportionate, reasonable, if not magnanimous.
Competition is our cooperative effort to create that ring of pressure, to remove all of the lies and self-deceptions, all of the theories and unquestioned beliefs, and share our best with each other, so that we have the opportunity to grow into better human beings.