Mike, FWIW, when Dan talks about his accolades, he is speaking the reality of aiki, and not necessarily being arrogant nor is he putting down others. At least that's how I see it. Perhaps you should adjust the way you see him and then maybe you can start a "discussion" that you want to happen?
There many paths to power and they are not all the same. One important feature is you need teachers and "friends" that will actually help you learn, Those are relationships you have developed and the path was not completed....on your own...in order to learn.
I feel like quoting Chun from Remo Williams "Most intelligent people know this already"
Anyway, food for thought in these "who needs friends for budo" discussions!!
There are things to learn, things you will be shown, that really do not work in high pressure environment that goes past push hands. You may have power and think its going to work...until you meet certain people who have IP/aiki that was developed under stress testing in a more pressured environment. You might even find it is the same material that two people were working on, One knows the material, the other "knows" the material.
You might find and any two people wo really do have IP/aiki but are incapable of expressing it to the same degree.
As is typical in budo discussions the one will decry the merits of the other.
I like the myth of the Samurai and the monk:
The monk developed his dantian and power in breath training and meditation on a 3' platform. no regular person could push him over.
Up walks this certain Samurai who launches him off the platform, saying "You can develop your dantian sitting there safe from the world, I developed mind under stress and in movement."
It is a kept story, a budo lesson perhaps kept and passed down (real or not) to demonstrate exactly what is being discussed here.
I think most reasonable people can understand these things.
- There are people with aiki with little by way of any real connection and the aiki is done by way of technique and is but a mask.
- There are people with Aiki whos bodies have developed over time with various measures of I.P. to support it but are still lacking. They are "good enough" for most martial artists to be impressed.
- There are people with a deeper understanding of aiki than others but who still suffer from mediocre internal power but the former makes up for the lack of the later and they are impressive.
- There are people who have developed their skills only in practice within their own arts, this can bring serious developmental flaws they will never see.
Then there are people with internal power and an understanding of aiki who have resolved the dilemmas and the complexities involved in using it across the board in many different venues. Their mutually supported strengths make a well developed whole; the internal power matched with internal skills, that create aiki ...all expressed with an array of application and skill learned under stress.
It is unfortunate that there are those in the martial arts; internal or no, fool hardy enough to think that practicing alone and in push hands or kata prepares them
to go up against the former. They are the truly arrogant
ones. They do not know their place. They seek to have, what the others have earned, without the paying price. Their first step is to always try to intellectually reduce the value of those efforts. I have seen it in as simple an example as some Iai people who dare to think they were prepared for men who also train the sword, and then freestlying it in armor.
I suspect it's always been that way.
In any case, I think relationships and friendship...sustained realtionship...is in my mind a key componant to real devolpment and a complete martial artists; internal or no.