Mike Taylor wrote:
Each of these folks had success with their art, and the woman even thwarted an attempted purse snatching.
What kind of sick-o would rob a person period, let alone a woman in a wheelchair? Aikido has a great utopian vision to eradicate society of such individuals, or rather, to eradicate each individudual of his/her darker nature. Aikido began with one man, O'Sensei. He had a couple handfuls of disciples. Now dojos can be found all throughout the "civilized" world. I believe the number of Aikidoka is increasing exponentially each year, and I truly believe that one day, probably not too long after my generation has passed away, Ueshiba O'Sensei's dream will come to fruition and it will be Aikido philosophy that will fill "the hearts and souls of them--they who will enlighten the world."
Sorry for getting WAY off topic, I just really wanted to get all that off my chest.
Only so much can be learned on the mat. Only so much can be learned from books. The summation of the two results in complete Aikido learning. Countless times during training, I've put my safety in the hands of total strangers. That gave me a raised general trust in people, without naivete or gullability. Also, back when I trained regularly, training always had an invigorating, cleansing (misogi) effect on my body. Especially in the beginning, walking up the stairs to the dojo, I often wanted to turn around, not looking forward to falling down and getting back up ten thousand times. But I knew that--wighout fail--I was going to feel great at the end of class. However, people like my quadriplegic uncle can learn much from studying Aikido philosophy alone. He can incorporate it into his life in his own way. He can find other means of misogi (perhaps one of his attendants giving him a simple shower even.) At any rate, I sincerely believe that Aikido will start showing up in high schools and even middle and lower schools. I think Aikido has the power.