Re: training in the long haul
I was think about testing as a peak period... ASU is starting to spend more time getting yudansha candidates prepared for their exams.
As a point of inspiration for me, I enjoy seeing older students take ukemi. I want healthy, vibrant ukes of all ages and conditions training.
I think some of this discussion reflects upon our comitment to train. If an exercise program improves my strength, stamina and health in order to better train, then it is part of what I should be doing. We have had discussion before about whether an activity can be considered "aikido training" if it does not include kata exercise. I think we all have different limited commitments to aikido. I think there is a segment of the population that does not perceive conditioning or other athletic activity as part of their training, nor do they wish to participate in such an endeavor.
Going back to the original post, I think carving out the time and money to train to your level of commitment is vital to your continued participation in any activity. As an observation of responsibility, I would think that if we allocate some portion of our time and money to participating in aikido, why would we neglect the vehicle of training?