Re: why do people outside Aikido for IS?
Mary, I don't think searching for excellence is a crisis. There are in aikido as in painting, cooking, all firms of human endeavor, different types of people:
There are people who find a the right teacher for them and never feel an urge to explore outside that home dojo - they love to dig in deeper and deeper within the teaching that nourishes them. There are people who find the right teacher for them, but still have a drive to explore the related tangents that they become aware of, some of which may meaningfully inform what they do at home, some of which may be blind alleys, some may just be pleasant diversions.
I started training in 1996 and as soon as I joined aikido-L the predecessor to Aikiweb I wanted to explore! So many different people doing so many things under the umbrella of aikido! It's like when I first went to studio art school: how could I know I wanted to do printmaking if I didn't also try drawing, painting and sculpture?
What I found is that there are many different definitions of what cobstitutes Good Aikido depending on ones goals, priorities, personality type, etc. I also found that whether one is using Tohei's ki exercises or Yoshinkan's curriculum or whatever other model or "form" there is no guarantee that the individual teacher is able to do it or to transmit it. So when somebody tells me they are using a particular methodology (as in we do Ki exercises) it is helpful insofar as if we meet I know what training paradigm to expect but not insofar as whether we are defining or using terms Jo mean the same somatic experience.
Why don't people visit you? Well, why should we unless we happen to be passing thru? Have you ever come out to public seminars to play with others? That's how people meet and find likeminded friends. So when I travel there are people who I try to visit along the way because we've played together and I know I will learn and have fun if I visit. So if I were ever in your neck of the woods, Mary, I'd be happy to visit just as I've done so many dojos around this country over the years.
there are not that many people Ive met who can actually DO consistently the devastatingly soft but irresistible stuff I consider real aikido. I will continue to happily explore those fields wherever they grow as long as I can just as I continue to explore in art and other areas of my life. It's who and how I am.