Other than, say, consistency and a critical-density of like-minded individuals, what factors would/could you attribute the success to?
Well, I think they got the general idea from hands-on, discussion, a feel for the logic, etc. Then too, it was an entire dojo, not just someone working by himself on something that the rest of the school was not doing. I also think (this is an opinion) that having access to the QiJin forum from which to read and glean ideas, ask questions if need be, etc., all helped. As more resources are available, it's easier than it was back in the days when I was frustratedly looking for information about something I *knew* was there (because I'd felt it), but about which no one seemed to know, etc.
One of the things I am looking for are (potent) specific drills that you would recommend?
It was really nice to read this review, btw. Nice to hear others can get it from a distance. With. Hard. work.
Well, bear in mind that although they worked on things from a distance, they had an idea from personal contact exactly *what* to look for. Doing drills without knowing exactly how to do them is usually not very productive, IMO.
Also bear in mind that this will still take some time for them to develop and condition and work things into their Aikido... it's a long process. What I was trying to indicate was that I was surprised to see good results. They focused a lot on a specific approach to training and they didn't "hop around" whimsically trying various rote exercises. I think that understanding the basics and then slowly, deliberately working upward from there is more important that doing the latest fad, going to all available workshops every month, etc. Just plain work on the basics.