Every morning thousands (if not millions) of people wakeup early in China and go to the park to practice tai chi. I doubt if after 10, 15, 20 years of such practice that can be considered a martial artist or properly defend themselves in a fight.
Tai Chi originated in Wu Mountain; the style was so powerful that tai chi chuan translates into Great Ultimate Boxing (in some definitions). The problem that arouse is as generations past and more branch schools were developed the martial aspects were removed from tai chi. The majority of people who practice tai chi today learn a style that is lacking in martial intent. There are a few styles (Wu and Chen Style) of tai chi around today that have preserved the martial aspect of the art. A matter of fact I was seriously considering studying under Master Ren an excellent instructor of Chen Style Tai Chi before deciding on aikido. The reason that so many people take tai chi lightly is that the vast majority of people studying tai chi study a form with little martial value.
What is to stop that from happening to aikido? Is it happening already?
Martial intent is not about being angry and wanting to kill everybody insight in order to prove that your kung fu is the best. It is like being a lion. A lion is a natural predator. It dominates all it surveys, and yet it does not go around boasting that it is a lion. It is at the top of its food chain (except for humans). It has claws, strong powerful muscles and jaws. It is aggressive without being angry, it kills without joy or remorse. It is a lion; it is a martial animal. My feeling is that many aikidoka think that it is wrong to be martial. That to be martial is to be violent and arrogant. There is nothing wrong with pride. There is nothing wrong with bleeding for your art. There is nothing wrong with trying to be the best.
Does the world still need martial artist? Is there a place for warriors and heroes in this world?