Ok so I've been following the comments on AJ.com in the aftermath of the Aikido Expo and it brought up another idea relating to this topic.
We've been addressing aspects of actual physical training so far that help aid the "culture of martial mediocrity" to exist and survive. But what about the non-physical, political, philosophical or other aspects of Aikido life that may propagate this sort of behaviour?
For example, many Aikido folks tend to pride themselves on keeping certain levels of "decency" and "goodwill" (some call it moral higher ground) towards one's fellow man, even when it is brutally obvious that the group or individual in question is in need of a good spanking to resolve something that is causing conflict
. Aikido is about finding the ideal solution, based on the problem, but oftentimes we stick to a "peaceful and harmonious" way of dealing with certain situations (iow our mind is fixated or fettered by this approach) even when it does not serve the purpose of actually resolving the situation. In other words we may sometimes act with kid gloves (evade/tenkan???) in situations where a firmer hand (irimi/atemi???) is required on a non-physical level.
This sort of behaviour also aids in supporting a culture of mediocrity, since Instructors who may be engaging in activities that weaken the martial (or other) foundations of the art or try to "create" or teach methods of operation that basically encourage a lack of secure understanding in Aiki principles (such as prematurely resorting to other, more force-based means of conflict resolution), are often given no more than a slap on the wrist (if so much) and are allowed to continue to disseminate these concepts by their superiors within their organisations or even leaders within the general Aikido community. This helps ensure that the understanding of Aiki principles remains mediocre in certain situations by allowing the idea of "abandoning Aiki principles at the first sign of resistance" to be propagated without being checked so as not to appear "disharmonious" or "unloving to one's fellow man".
If this is truly the case, then the erosion of the martial foundations of the art may be more institutionalized and embodied in our own perception of the philosophy than those who care about it may realize. There appears to be a strong culture of denial that provides fertile ground for this sort of behaviour and teaching to propagate imho.
Is it that we have in fact set things up already so that the martial foundations of the art will be one day degraded into nothingness by indirectly encouraging those who teach the art in a manner that lacks martial lustre and moreso encourage others to abandon the martial core of the art (physical and non-physical) for the sake of "healing the world" and "uniting mankind"? Imho the healing of mankind cannot be achieved through denial.
Or am I merely being delusional?"
Comments are welcome.