James Wilson wrote:
Neither of which are a good advert for aikido.
Why does Aikido need to advertise? Are you having problems getting people into your dojo.. or are you just getting the "wrong" people? I've never been in an Aikido dojo that has had problems with membership. That must be discouraging.
James Wilson wrote:
Im talking about improvements we could make in aikido and the attitudes of those training in it...
While there are plenty of improvements and different things that I would like to see happen in the Aikido of myself and those around me, that is really all that I'm able to comment on, since the level of consistency is so low between individuals and dojos. This is the 6th Aikido dojo that I've "lived" at, and the comments that I would make about each are completely different, and typically of an individual nature.
In terms of broader problems in Aikido, for me its a question of what would I take out of Aikido to put these new things in.. and if they exist elsewhere, and are only latent in Aikido, can't you bring them into Aikido yourself?
In addition, talking about a problem doesn't typically fix it.
For a given problem at a given dojo, you pretty much have only these options:
--- Leave (either completely or partially)
--- Get the sensei (or seniors) to try and fix the problem through the bully pulpit, targeted instruction, or testing restrictions - can be dangerous if sensei doesn't approve
--- Exert peer pressure verbally or physically (with or without those of a like mind) - can be dangerous if sensei doesn't approve
--- Start training more exclusively with people who are going in what you think is the right direction - can be dangerous if sensei doesn't approve (which is really passive aggressive peer pressure)
--- Supplement your training elsewhere (within the art or without, with or without the other Aikidoka)
--- Open your own dojo to present yourself with the 2nd option, and further enable the 3rd and 4th (but also limit the 5th)
You've got 15 years of Aikido.. have you considered opening your own dojo (even at a local gym)? I'm sure that the new direction you want to take things would be very popular. In addition, the people who didn't like it could stay where they were. It would most likely be a net gain in practitioners, which is a win for all concerned.
Regarding the elderly in those other martial arts: its a nice surprise to see that that is still possible. I see stories of these older practitioners (such as Mifune, and the respective modern "founders" of the systems such as Kano, Funakoshi, etc.), but I wasn't sure how widespread and common that is in modern times because I don't train in those circles.. it is nice to know that it is more common than I thought.