I was a very capable and proven fighter when I chose to pursue this. And when I did- I kept failing at it...for years. Yet I was willing to invest in that failure-to the point of friends mocking me- to reach a deeper level.
This thread could use a little hope!
Dan, would you agree that what you went through was much harsher on the ego than what some bumbling but sincere young seeker would have to go through now? For instance, all those aikiweb folks who you have helped guide are having a much nicer time, right? In other words, there are now (as opposed to what you went through) some supportive environments that allow this kind of body skill to be learned in a way that involves "help" (ie some cooperative aspects)? Like training in your barn as opposed to doing your solo work and then showing up at a judo or MMA or BJJ place and just trying to go at it with strangers or even "friends" who are mocking your new direction.
Just saying, all of us who want to do this are going to feel the "I suck" feeling, it's inevitable, but it seems that it doesn't have to sting quite as much as it could.
And without these conversations, seminars, offers to help, we as a community would not have that, so thanks to all you guys who are sharing.