I had my first Ki Aikido class the other day while on a business trip.The teacher was much less experience in aikido than myself and only sees his aikido teacher rarely (due to geographical isolation). But I found myself impressed with the ability to show and demonstrate aspects of relaxation and extension that are key to all good aikido using the basic ki exercises he had learned. These are things I often have trouble communicating with beginners.
On the martial aspect of things. This particular instructor is a senior black belt in an independent modern jiu jitsu (their spelling) dojo and has quite a bit of experience in more aggressive fighting takes on the martial arts. Personally, I wouldn't want to pick a fight with him, or many of his students (most of which also come from the jiu jitsu group).
Honestly. I find all the politics and style comparisons detrimental to aikido. If we all trained together a bit more and used such occasions to exchange notes rather than worry about who's instructor was stronger and perpetuating splits and arguments between earlier generations, we would all benefit.
PS - Dan, for a guy that spends quite a bit of time trashing the videos of others, I'm starting to find your failure to show anything of your own practice on these boards cowardly.
Jonathan, overall a very good post, some good points in the beginning - however, your last paragraph is in extremely bad taste, and IMO, comes across as immature and very unprofessional.
There are many reasons why Dan, and others, do not do videos - some of these reasons have been expressed before, but are mostly ignored by the 'MTV' generation - sorry, but that is just not the style of some of us that came before that generation.
IMO, videos do not teach and really are only good as marketing demos, especially when dealing with the internal stuff - and contrary to some opinions, we are not marketing anything because we are not making any money off of anything. If you want to know what we are about, come see us - my door is always open and I do not charge any fees - hell, I even travel at no fee for those that have a sincere interest in getting together, just ask my new friends down in Maryland about that!
Bottom line is to respect the reasons of those that do not do videos nor pictures, and do not expect them to have the same opinion of those type of things just because you do.