10,000,000 people doing Aikido? where does that number come from ?
Since no one decided to answer my question and provide any reference for this number, I did a little research on my own.
Looking at the websites of the major Aikido organizations (ASU, AAA, AWA, Kokikai, Takemasu, Yoshinkan, Yuishinkai, Ki Society) for affiliated dojo lists, I found that there are approximately a total of 801 dojos within these organizations worldwide. I then went to the Aikikai World Federation and looked at two of the larger organizations in there and found that the USAF has 201 dojos and CAF has 67 - this give us a hard fact of 1069 dojos. The Aikido World Federation had another 65 organizations listed, so I gave them a generous estimate of 100 dojos each as an average for the rest of the organization - now we have a very generous number of 8,638 Aikido dojos worldwide within the major Aikido organizations. Of course, we all know there are independents out there as well, so continuing with a generous trend, I gave the same number of 8,638 for the independents; this gives a very generous estimate of about 25,914 Aikido dojos worldwide. Let's round that up to 26,000 for simplicity sake.
OK, we have 26,000 dojos, and still following a generous path, let's estimate we have an average of 25 members per dojo (actually, IMO, I think it is closer to 10 to 15) but I am trying to be as fair as possible here. Doing the math, this only gives us 650,000 Aikido students worldwide - no where close to the 10,000,000 that was thrown out here in this thread. IMO, I think it is really closer to 350,000, give or take a few thousand.
And just for some quantification and qualification of the other number thrown out in the same post, of those 1000 students of Dan's, not all are Aikido students - there are folks from Daitoryu, Koryu, Karate, and various Chinese arts as well. I would at best estimate that only 50 percent are strictly Aikido with another 20 percent that do Aikido and other MAs. As to the quality of all those 1000 students, at least 95 percent have 20 plus yeas experience in the MAs and their ranks range from mid level yudansha up to 7th dan; these people are considered within the top 1% of their arts and do not casually follow anyone or do anything that does not have substance and can improve their skills at their high levels. It just amazes me that relative newbies in the art can summarily dismiss what these people are doing simply because they don't understand what is going on and it appears to be counter to what they have picked up in their limited experiences.
IMO, you need to embrace the unknown if you want to be in a position to grow and learn; any other approach will just not lead to anything of any substantial accomplishment.