On another point, I am wondering however if the few screaming voices we hear in online forums regarding a general lack of knowledge in Aikido is truly representative of the feeling towards training in the real world at large. From people I have met and trained with, it seems like the online "reality" may be illusory. It would be good to know what percent of training Aikidoka actually engage in online forums and from what countries. The issue may not be as endemic as some may tend to believe. Or alternatively I may just be lucky to be around Aikidoka who have less issues with their martial skills.
Also, Gordon Biddy wrote,
"There doesn't seem to be any crisis brewing in Aikido dojos or organization(s) in Japan. People train, learn, pass it on as they have done for a very long time and with a lot less debate..."
I think this is the point everyone is missing. Of my 80 students, I have not been able to find anyone else reading Aikiweb, even among my black belts and senior students (and to be frank, with the kind of talk we have had here, I won't recommend it to them because I am in favor of Aikido, not against it). I have also never heard any of these online forums or any issue mentioned here in any dojo I have ever been a part of. Our practitioners are like those in Japan. They come to class, they train, they have a good time, they are soaked from head to toe with sweat, they talk about the techniques after and continue to try and get more info, and they go home and bring their friends the next time.
Interestingly enough, I have a couple of former (I hope?) gang kids. The high school they are from is so bad, that the city of Houston almost shut it down recently. When I asked them, they are aware of MMA and they like to watch it but they laugh at it because of the rules and they don't seem to think it's realistic (go figure?). One of my guys was in so much trouble, that he spent two years in a detention center next to the Huntsville State pen. He says the way they (TV MMA) fight is contrary to the hundreds of fights he has seen in the streets. He is from a really bad neighborhood too. We once had a man from our dojo take him home and he feared getting out of there alive. When I took this kid home, I saw houses the gangs had burned down in revenge attacks. This kid has used Aikido in the streets and in his last fight, he knocked out the kid that was attacking him with iriminage. He is a senior in high school and has been in Aikido for 3 years.
I mention this to say that everything that is posited as real online doesn't correspond to our reality here. I am not saying what is posted is wrong. I am saying I haven't seen the same concerns or experiences here and no one I have here seems to care about the online disputes. They don't even read them.