Justin MacEachern wrote:
Aikido is only as good as the person who is training. <snip> What is it that makes a person go through the training to shodan and not develop the passion and commitment.
I totally agree with you. In my (relatively short) time doing Aikido, I have often seen unranked students with greater committment than ranked students and Mudansha with greater skills than Yudansha. It really does depend upon the person: sometimes it comes down to natural talent but more often than not, it is their goals, level of determination, and persistence that keeps them improving.
As Ledyard Sensei once wrote in a very good article on these forums, there are some Aikidoka who are casual hobbyists, some whose only aspriation is to reach Shodan and start their own school and others who wish to attain a level of excellence in the art far beyond the average. Each carries with it a differing level of committment.