Re: Poll: How strong of an existence will aikido have in a hundred years?
I'm about to get real esoteric here...
In 100 hundred years the "form" of Aikido will not be the same as it is today. The "form" it is today isn't even what was practiced by O'Sensei. His son and the Aikikai Hombu Dojo specifically deleted many things O'sensei taught, then codified and structured the teachings so as to spread it to the masses.
Many of O'Sensei's direct students couldn't (and still cant') reconcile their ideas of what Aikido is with each other. Some were more talented than others, some had different takes on what they wanted to get out of it, some spent very little actual time learning from the founder before going out and and teaching, etc etc. If you even do a cursory examination of the forums on this website alone, you can see the differences in ideas and conceptions about what Aikido is right now. There is no one consistent description or agreement on what it is or how it should be taught. Aikido has, and will continue to morph and change with each time, culture, and geography that it exists in; much like Buddhism has been incorporated and adapted by each culture and time it entered into. Branches will continue to form, change, and dissolve. We are only one generation removed from the founder at this point, and look at the variations already present in both the outward physical forms taught (and learned) and the intellectual philosophies underlying and informing the physical.
There is a lot of bemoaning "mcdojos" and "sokeships" that are happening in the world (well, at least on this website's forum) and the "selling" of rank and embellishment of abilities and understanding (BTW, it isn't just offshoot organizations that do this, much the same thing happens from within main branches...there have been plenty of examples of Shihan in the Aikikai giving ranks for reasons other than ability, understanding, or time served) The thing is though, you will always have charlatans and impostors making money off of something that becomes popular or is intrinsically essential to man's existence...the "soiling of something that is pure". Jorge's use of the music industry as an example is a good one, but for a different reason than he intended I think. Yes, there are untalented, uneducated and lazy "artists" working in the music industry. They do proliferate popular crap as "music", and make millions. However, this has not stopped real artists from still creating sublime pieces of music; works that will stand for the ages and pass down to new generations the essence of what music is...while the "popular crap" will simply fade away. Music cannot be stopped or so diluted as to become uncreated,....neither can philosophies, ideas, or religion...neither can Aikido. These things are expression of man's "spirit" or "divine-cognition", if you will, a continual unfolding of his understanding of the principles of nature.
Morihei Ueshiba did not create Aikido, he only gave it a name and some system of understanding it. The essence of what Aikido is, is not the outward form of what is taught. It is something that has to be handed down kinesthetically and then intuitively grasped...not everyone will be able to (or more accurately want to) grasp it...some will only grasp portions while others may understand it in its entirety. Some may grasp it but not be able to pass it on. Other exceptional individuals will rediscover it "completely on their own". But as a whole, across a broad spectrum of direct teacher to student relationships, it will continue to be passed on and understood by successive generations.
I believe Aikido to be another part of mankind's understanding of the evolutionary unfolding of "universal consciousness" (or God, or Dao, or whatever name you want to give it). It is not only the intellectual understanding by man of something greater than man (that is what you call philosophy and religion) it is a way to actually realize this "something greater" through integrating of "self" with "other" (both the immediate "other", meaning other people, and the "universal other") The actual integration is the definition of what Aikido is, I think. The WAY in which this integration happens is the real essence and definition of Aiki, and this cannot be learned through outward form only. It must be kinesthetically felt, understood, and continually practiced. This is what will continue for 100 years (and more). This is what the legacy of Aikido is. It cannot simply be put into words or shown, it must be felt.
So how strong will Aikido's existence be? Very strong I think, but I don't think strength only means popularity or number of practitioners of a particular form. Aikido will integrate into the human consciousness as a whole, much like religions, philosophies, scientific knowledge, and art. Once "created" (or more accurately "discovered") it can't be undone.