Why is it relevant? I have a job. Aikido isn't it. Therefore, I am not a professional. Only a tiny minority of aikido practitioners could be said to be professionals, so why is that a relevant standard?
To answer the question, as well as address a similar point from Janet, I believe my comments are relevant because we need to identify what in life is important to us. Aikido rates #3 for me: 1. family, 2. career, 3. aikido. I devote the appropriate time, money and labor resources to each priority, but often that means I have less time, money, and effort available for aikido. However, I also realize that by placing aikido #3 on my list, becoming competent in aikido will be a harder struggle for me. When I was single, aikido was #2 and I did much more. Hopefully, I will win the lottery and be able to place aikido back in the #2 slot. Until then, I realize my situation and that motivates me to waste no #3 opportunities.
Competency in aikido should be
the standard. I do not believe that we should lower the standard of expectation because those who do not highly prioritize aikido still want to participate at some lesser level. I believe instead that we should prepare students to recognize the level of their participation will reflect their actual competency. Right now, I would argue than many of us do not properly prepare ourselves [or our students] have a life plan that clearly defines where aikido fits into our lives. Most of us do aikido, unless something else comes up... or we have dinner with our friends...or we need to work late... or watch that new movie... or stay in bed because we're sore. You're right Mary, most of us are definitely not professionals.