Re: Keep in mind that everybody is trying their best
David Lowery wrote a great book on the expectations of training in a Japanese martial art, the book is In the Dojo. In the book, Mr. Lowery paints a realistic picture of understanding how a healthy dojo operates and what are the expectations of a student within the dojo.
I find it very hard to do anything after a full day, let alone give it my best in every aikido class. I do try to train to the fullest extent of what I have as often as I can; it is not my best all the time, nor can I do it every day. I believe that one [of the many] factors which separate an enthusiast, a hobbyist, an amateur and a professional is the expectation of performance. For example, the expectation for professionals is to perform at a high rate of skill for a greater period of time. To claim a professional set of expectations (to perform at a high skill level for an extended period of time) for most in aikido would not be a true claim.
As a general statement of encouragement, I appreciate the comment. I believe we should try to perform at our best when we train and we should train as often as we can. However, the truth is most of us train when we feel like it and we do not train consistently enough for a prolonged period of time.
I think we need to make a clear distinction between an actual claim that we train at our best all of the time and a general statement of encouragement to promote a friendly environment in which to train. There is a lot of bad aikido because of our over-encouraging praise.