I had a wry smile as I read your post, as with Joe I see many of the problems that affect Aikido today.....Today students want a dojo within walking distance of their home with times that fit in with their favourite TV programmes. In the 1950's the first visitors to the Hut Dojo which was the only Aikido Dojo in the UK - Ralph Reynolds and a couple of students would drive down from Birmingham every Sunday morning for a two hour practice - this was a time when there were no motorways and would have been a four hour drive each way..As assitant to Ken Williams Sensei I had to be at the dojo every night - I would get home from work and then run two miles to the dojo...Now I see students arrive just minutes before the class starts and do not seem surprised to find that someone else has put the mats down for them..
Changing values I guess.
When I first started Aikido and travelled the length and breadth of the U.K to train with Chiba Sensei I often slept on dojo floors, under hedges , in my car .Looking back it was grim, but
the effort was worth it.Too many people expect things to be put on a plate for them nowadays.No pain No gain is my mantra.Aikido
in the 70s was gruelling.Now some dojos are more like social clubs.For those who have been uchi deshi of Chiba Sensei at San Diego Aikikai [for example]each of these students know through their experiences what it takes to be a skilled aikidoka and a future leader of the aikido fraternity.Sacrifice of time, endurance , commitment, enthusiasm and will power.The students also need a Sensei/s who lead from the front, never asking any student to do anything that the sensei/s would not do,one who inspires people.
We as aikidoka have a duty to maintain and preserve our aikido lineage.Many aikidoka before us some sadly deceased spent their lives transmitting the art to the younger generation.
No one expects everyone to have this frame of mind , but without present day teachers understanding this mindset aikido will diminish and be diluted . As I see it this is a potential problem and needs addressing now.