How many people here [obviously who might be reading this] regularly "play aikido?" Not "practice" aikido.
My wife told me to cut it out in public.
I do get what you saying though. There is the trap of Aikido in the dojo but not out here. It's kind of missing the point imo. It is the actual practice that's important. Like playing music. Jamming is awesome but if you have a regular group, you start to know the same songs and the opportunity to get deeper in to the music and take it interesting places opens up. The waza are the songs we all know, playing around within the structure of the waza is the fun part imo. You don't graduate from art. You learn the techniques and then you play with them. It carries into the other parts of your life and you see the world through that lens.
I can't recall any social gathering of Aikido practitioners that someone
wasn't grabbed by the wrist. It's a shared interest, it's going to come up.