And to be clear again:
My point is that all of the qualifiers; to one degree or another implies that
1. Either they were weird driven men, who's strange personalities aided some sort of twisted focus in order to acquire their skills.
2. Or they were nice young chaps, who's purusit of these skills made them acquire weird and strange personalities.
No where, any where do we see mention that maybe these skills-provide neither of the above, and have also produced wonderful balanced people.
No where any where do we see mention of the people who have these skills to what ever degree, not fitting a profile of weird strange people, but rather are professional business people with familes and friends, who are warm and caring people.
I would be so bold to point out that no one..who actually has something approaching these skills, would agree with this idea that you must be crazy to attain them.
When reading your post Jon, it leaves one with the impression that ....of course they would have to be "not normal"...because, well, after all normal people don't have the skills!
I will stand on a prediction; Within ten years, lets review this thread. People are going to have to explain how thousands of normal people ended up with these skills-to one degree or another.
It is this work, the true nature of it...that has created budo giants for eons...and the vast majority of budo people simply didn't have access to it or refused to do the work. And that was all it was.
What do we call people who play chess in their spare time? Nerds. Play on a computer? Geeks. Play sports? Jocks. You don not have to be crazy to devote time to a hobby... But when that commitment falls under scrutiny by mainstream society...
Honestly, I am not considering the "what" of what comprised the time they dedicated to training. I am simply outlining the prioritization of time as to allow their training to dominate their life. And, as several of my friends point out my past time of getting thrown around, I must be crazy to do aikido. We tend to forget we already are out of the mainstream just by training in a martial art. Then add maybe more time on the mat than with your kids, maybe your job is teaching aikido, maybe you are single, or maybe you aren't single (ouch) - I would be served divorce papers. But people make these decisions. You don't gotta be crazy, but we sometimes forget that most people think exactly that when they judge our decisions.
Secondly, I am implying that proficiency is correlated to practice. Those who [correctly] practice more will tend to be more proficient than those who do not. I am not arguing the dissemination of any particular knowledge. Again, I am not trying to get into a quality because I think you can balance proficiency with time commitment.
However, I think wading into the "what" of what these guys were doing with there time would be very interesting. I also think a discussion about the realistic time table of disseminating aiki as it relates to understanding the necessary time commitment to become proficient would be interesting.
Thanks for allowing me to clarify.