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I find it amusing that people who practice Aikido are expected to perform at what would, in other activities, be elite levels. Aikido practitioners are expected, by the "hardcore martial artists" to be able fight off any type of street attack, defeat mixed martial artists, and generally be as "bad-ass" as Ueshiba Kaiso was in his "pre-war" phase. Conversely, the "spiritual types" expect people in Aikido to have more patience and pacifistic temperament than Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King combined.. any use of say "atemi" or "kime" is looked upon with horror and disdain.
In effect by expecting people in Aikido to always come up to the standard of Ueshiba Kaiso (either "bad-ass" or "saint", take your pick), we are being asked to be as good in our AIkido as say, Pele is in football, or Roger Federer in tennis, or Tiger Woods in golf (yeah, I just had to get that in, didn't I), or Manny Pacquiao in boxing (gotta be nationalistic!).
Yet, we don't expect everyone in football, tennis, golf or boxing to be a Pele, Federer, Woods or Pacquiao... so why is so much demanded of people practicing Aikido?
Of course, I recognise the need for an "elite" in Aikido.. they will pass on the high standard to the next generation.. but does everybody have to be in the "elite"? (that would be an oxymoron). And do we have to denigrate the "non-elites" by saying they practice "Aikido-lite"?
"Do you play tennis?"
"Yes, I do!"
"Are you as good as Federer or Venus Williams?"
"Then you're not playing tennis, you're playing 'Tennis-Lite!'"
Does that sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me?
My mantra now is "Don't worry about other people's Aikido.. worry about your own"...