Just joined in this discussion
Martial artist and Aikidoka... Hmmm...
Now you got me thinking... both implies that I do it for a living... I don't make money out of either of them.
I have life outside of Aikido but I have accepted Aikido as a part of my daily life. Sometimes I do use the word Aikidoka loosely, just as someone that practices Aikido, but I can't call myself a true Aikidoka.
Everytime I go to an Aikido practice, I don't see it as just practice, I see it as a class where I learn new lessons. I would rather say that I am a "student of martial arts" specifically a "student of Aikido", and I will forever be a student that will never actually graduates no matter what dan grade I am in.
I don't think there any longer that many true bujutsuka/budoka anymore in the world today. For we live in a relatively more peaceful world where learning the martial arts are no longer seen as a necessity (did I spell this correctly?).
P.S. to Dagore-san:
I believe the martial values of Tai Chi have either been long gone or been kept secret by certain masters. Only the excercises survived for health purposes. When it first concepted, I do believe Tai Chi is a martial art.
As for how many people that learn Aikido to fight? It is sad to say, in my country, people that learn martial arts, most learn it for the fighting/combat values. People do get out there and fight, and what happens? Their frustration gets in the way, and it's not Aikido anymore, it looks more like freestyle wrestling (not even JuJutsu let alone Aiki-JuJutsu).
But what I am proud of, those who takes it for self defense values, have been pretty successful. There is a lot of confessionals from those who have delt with pick pockets, muggers, street thugs that's just looking for a fight, and even knife wielding angry mobs (this particular one is my sensei's personal experience).