Well, what function did Steven Seagal fill? People saw what he was doing in the movies, and most of them got the wrong idea about it. Of those, some were attracted to this wrong idea, and came to aikido dojos looking for the wrong thing. Of those, most left pretty quickly (often without starting), some stayed long enough to be a pain in the ass, and a few stayed long enough to get the crap out of their heads and become students worth having.
Question 1: am I wrong about any of that?
Question 2: if I'm right about that, how would a movie martial artist be a better avenue than any other for attracting a large quantity of poor-quality prospects?
Excellent points, Mary.
But add that when such people get to a dojo, they seldom find any of Seagal's vigor or ability in the class or the teacher. Fortunately, they also don't find the violence and a lot of Seagal's negative bearing, but nice ineptitude is not really better, either.
No, we don't need another Seagal. Maybe we do need a good movie made about some real aikido life, but it would probably be too boring to pay for itself. Unfortunately, movies need violence to sell and that's not what aikido needs.
I think it's really just a fact that aikido is not a product to be sold and therefore not a business to attempt as a livelihood. And I say this having operated my own dojo in the past--the first Yoseikan Budo dojo in North America. It went out of business decades ago and, though I later taught at the Yoseikan Hombu in Japan, I quit charging money for my lessons over ten years ago.
To my knowledge, most successful aikido teachers have a pretty lucrative day job and they train wholeheartedly. Most common teachers don't train very wholeheartedly and don't give a good example of aikido even if it is their only job.