Re: Everyone gets an 'A'
Graham, thank you for your excellent post. It is heartening, especially against a background of so many people being negative and critical of each other's views.
I came to Aikido from the equestrian arts, where the English folks think the Western folks are hicks, and the trail riders think the dressage folks are snobs, and everyone thinks everyone else is misguided, stupid, or downright evil. (With many, many exceptions, of course! Perhaps the majority, but you hear from the most vocal ones.)
A friend told me once that "horsepeople are great at circling the wagons... and then shooting inward."
What it has led to is decreasing popularity of riding and horsekeeping, closed trails, and a vilified impression in the public's mind that horsepeople are "the other" and "not real people, like us." It's been really desctructive, and has cost a lot of people the opportunity to participate in something they could enjoy their whole lives.
Imagine instead the difference a unified, positive, supportive community could make to the future of the art. Any art.