very interesting thus far!
I'm the original poster, so I thought it'd be time for me to chime in again. So far, good discussion! Thanks to all who have participated. This is indeed a hot topic, touching on matters that seem to be on many other peoples' minds as well.
My main concern is over the future of Aikido in America. As I mentioned in the beginning, I am curious as to who will "take over" Aikido once the Baby Boomer instructors/sensei retire and how it will change Aikido in light of the current "fad" in the martial arts community: the MMA?
Personally, I think that the overly-commercialized MMA fad will fall out of style in a few years, just as a previous poster noted. However, the so-called "challenge" of the MMA to Aikido will have further reaching consequences because previous martial arts fads didn't have the power of the internet to keep it alive.
To put it colloquially: Aikido doesn't suck. However, if enough people say Aikido sucks over and over again, it eventually becomes subliminal, a sort of knee-jerk reaction. Example: all politicians are crooks & liars. Although there are many politicians who are indeed crooks & liars, not all of them are. In fact, many are honest and hard-working. However, it is indeed engrained in our collective subconscious to naturally distrust public officials. Get my point?