Face to face changes the dynamic.... if you get past the handshake it is hard not to be more respectful of what is happening and what is said...you listen. Over the internet there is no handshake. With Mike I have felt the shoulder strike and been pushed around some. Mike is what he sez he is and nice guy on top of that.
With Dan I have gone back and read what he has written in lists and forums...back some years. What I have seen with the tone of his writing is an opening up and a sharing (to some degree) of what he knows. Maybe you just have to put the pieces together yourself. It seems to me that Dan has stepped up more than he may have been willing to do a few years ago. If I didn't live on the left coast I would try to drop by and meet him.
It seems that you can learn a lot from just grabbing someone wrist...go grab a wrist.
That change you spoke of was all due to Ellis Amdur, a few Mojito's and him reminding me that there were serious, and sincere people out there looking-much like I was 20 years ago when I first felt this stuff gave me a change of heart.
My "stepping-up" is perhaps an unfair term. I have an eimoroku-many from here have seen it and signed it. Since I started having people sign in-it has over 250 names in it. So I have been "stepping up" for a very long time. This doesn't include judo, mma, bjj, Bagau, Taiji, and Xing-I people I have played with either. Stepping-up is not an appropriate term. Perhaps you mean finally showing people from the net.
Don't worry about a hand shake. I've welcomed people of all types to try things in a much more serious venue from Taiji grandmasters, Aikido 6 th dans, BJJers to Navy boxers, stick fighting to knives. Its a bit of a different spin on internals and what they can deliver than wrist grabs.
I agree about the debate...ending in person. It's why I wrote:
That upon meeting, for some strange reason all the trouble and the self-confidence in what people thought they knew and were willing to debate-goes right out the window and the exchange becomes respectful and friendly and the work can begin. No more debate.
It's why I also encourage people to go feel anyone and everyone claiming to know this stuff. Get around and feel. Both the depth, and the ability to test these people and their students brings a fresh look to the subject. You need to figure out how you can best train and learn for your own progess.
Come on up if you'd like. Ya might enjoy my shoulder "bump" as well.