Thank you, Ledyard Sensei; this is an important insight in the learning process. To play the devil's advocate, I wonder, though, whether we can assume that change is always good, at any time, for anybody.
an established teacher decides to work on something new, investigate osme different aspects of the art and their students leave. Everyone was tooling along quite happily when they knew what was expected and where they were headed and then suddenly, their teacher has shifted his focus.
Did the students know why
the focus was changed? Did the teacher change the direction because he
wanted to learn something new, or because he wanted his students to learn something new, or both? Were the students ready to shift the focus to other aspects? All of them? Did they learn all (or enough) of the "old" things to have at least a good chance of understanding the "new" things?
Everyone's an individual. Everyone learns differently, at different speeds, in different order. So while a completely individual one-on-one instruction is not possible almost in any art, neither can we expect all students to follow in synch with the teacher.
Another thing: immense trust is implied in the relationship teacher-student. How can the student really know that the teacher has his (student's) best interest at heart? (And whose
best interest are we even talking about, if there are multiple students, each an individual?) Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own learning; each of us has to choose whether to follow or not what is offered by the teacher. But you've already said it, Ledyard Sensei:
If people make a conscious choice to do what they have always been doing, then great. But if this resistance to change is unconscious, then it needs to be examined.
My point is that maybe some of that resistance to change - even if it's unconscious - is justified. Maybe not all students are ready for a particular change when the teacher wants to introduce it, and they are aware of it, although only on a sub-conscious level.