Imagine, if you would, this type of interrogation from your waitress the next time you go to a restaurant. By 'weeding out the rif raf", they can better cater only to those people who know already what they want.
While Aikido isn't for everyone - remember that not everyone takes away the same 'lesson' from aikido. Not everyone is looking for martial eficiency - or philosophy - or self awareness - but should be given the chance to make that decision for themselves. I don't envy this model - it's horrible. It's commercial and militant.
I thought the 'message" of aikido was universal harmony of all people, not a "members only" sign.
I understand it's just an analogy, but there can be a lot said for pointing out that a dojo is not like a restaurant, and even more for pointing out that a dojo is not for folks that want to treat it like a restaurant.
Universal harmony may be a tenet of Aikido training, but the underlying point of training is that one has room for improvement, which suggests that one is not already capable of things like universal harmony "as is," which means one must strive to become other than he/she currently is, which means training by definition is about not being for everyone.
In the end, training IS about transformation. Transformation by any means implies a dropping off, a chipping away, a purification, etc. What one is after, as I understand it, is commitment: the seed and sapling of all achievement in Budo (all transformation through Budo). If you are capable of commitment, the questions are as obvious as their answers. If you are not sure of your commitment, the questions become foggy, as do the answers. If you are without any commitment, the questions will undoubtedly rub one the wrong way. In which case, one knows he/she is not at the right dojo for them; as the dojo knows this or that deshi is not the right student for the dojo.
It is not a trick. It's almost of Law of Nature: Like attracts Like.