The tree didn't fall; I hear Greg holding it up
I find it interesting that people attach morality (and whatever else) to Aikido.
It comes up in different threads. For instance, in one extreme, there's the thread discussing the fall of an aikido icon involved with a minor, which went on for 15 or so pages. Efforts to quash that thread were met with a storm of resistance. Then there is this thread. What if the aikido student or teacher is a drinker, smoker, womanizer, ...? No traction---except for the occasional (and possibly insightful) "What does this have to do with aikido?"
I find this irony interesting too.
Because, Joe, in that other thread the concern of some of ours had little to do with the fella being an "icon". There aren't many out there I hold in all that much esteem. The issue was a very real one of sexual abuse of minors. Something which is a concern to many of us. It has little to do with the guy's experience or rank -- it has to do with some of us a) hoping it wasn't true but b) trying to learn what we can from mistakes that have been made that allow those things to happen.
I would have the same reaction to someone posting a thread about a murder in a dojo. Or a rape in a dojo. Or theft. Those are things that are germaine for discussion. And it wouldn't matter to me if it was Aikido, my local chess club, or the local group of guys I know who collect Japanese swords. Those sorts of things are quite different from whether someone drinks or smokes too much.
That said I do agree that the whole equating of morality with Aikido tends to much things up horribly. I don't come to aikido to find morality. I expect the same level of moral behavior no matter where I go. Aikido, chess club, token kai, ...
So to be completely clear -- I don't see how drinking or smoking (or any of the other "vices" listed) have much of anything to do with Aikido to the extent that they don't affect ability to perform. However, I do think whether someone is sexually abusing children and how to prevent it in the future is a bit more important as a topic of discussion.