Re: Breaking the will of the ego.
Bjorn some people have been very critical. I hope you can accept the criticism without being defensive. That means without ego.
I have a problem with some of your language. Break? Subdue? Nothing natural about those words. And surrender comes after defeat.
If something is imposed on us from outside - from a teacher or from anywhere else - we are not freely giving up the ego.
And I hope you can find the irony here now that people have pointed it out. If you think you are a wonderful example to your students you might still have some work to do to throw away your own ego.
Actually reigi - dojo etiquette - is not to facilitate self-surrender (or perhaps it was in the Cobra Kai in the original Karate Kid). It is to show our true respect and thanks to the teacher and to each other. It is necessary in budo because the techniques can be dangerous and even lethal.
And I have no problem with people who don't think aikido is spiritual for them. But they can't tell me what it is to me or to anyone else. I hope my practice helps me to be a better person - to be unselfish and kind, for example. That is cutting away ego and that is spiritual and so I do agree with you about that.