Is it a Business or a Way?
In some of the previous commentary it sounds like folks are liable to get stuck in the mindset/lifestyle of feeding the machine. I imagine that many students frequently wonder if they aren't spending way too much on their Ďaikido-habit' for the value they are getting -- if the aikido school makes it too obvious that the student is just a dues paying commodity, then the student may eventually decide, "...it's far cheaper and more convenient to join a health club, plus they don't expect you to sweep the floors." For some, a time may come when they wonder if they aren't just massaging their own ego for a piece of paper and a colored belt. Everyone takes up a martial art for their own reasons, as to the survival of aikido, O Sensei didn't seem too concerned about the details of succession, or the politics. He seemed more interested in the continuation of the transmission of budo. Does it take a big dues-paying machine to accomplish that? Sure, aikido may be more accessible to the masses, like McDonalds. I am reminded of Eddie Murphy's skit of fellow students crowing that they had McDonalds hamburgers, while he brought funky homemade hamburgers with pieces of green pepper sticking out of them, and his ego felt bad. But when he grew up, he realized that his homemade hamburger, cooked with love by his caring mother, was really best.