There seems to be a crisis on some people's path that they they are trying to fix. Its seems like some people having been training for a long time and have not grown strong. That must be disconcerting and discouraging. Maybe it is what causes the level of nastiness that seems to rise up on these threads. Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something? Are you feeling cheated?
When the spiritual part of Aikido is missed, could it be that the internal part is missed also. Maybe there is more connection than you have been led to believe.
Every one of these threads turns into a discussion about Dan (no disrespect intended just an observation). I hear that Dan understands internal strength and can convey it. I am sure he can.
Does that make it okay for you (not you, Dan, others that speak for you) to disparage others' ways? With great strength comes great responsibility. Internal practice could cause internal inspection and responsibility for one's own thoughts and process.
Maybe as individuals you all think that you are expressing yourselves. But to me it comes across on here as lemmings repeating doctrine.
One of the reasons I am not interested in what Dan has to offer is because of how some people that train with him talk to others on here. Why would anyone want that? Real internal strength helps us think for ourselves. It helps us develop compassion and appreciation of diversity.
Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.
Our Path involves Ki development, Aikido waza and internal responsibility. We talk about it all the time on here. Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come. And then on here we are told we don't know what we are talking about. Only Mike and Dan have the "goods". How could anyone possibly know because none has come to our dojo to find out.
I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.
Lee brings up some very good and interesting points. First, I would just like to say that even though it may appear some of us are talking for Dan at times, that is really not the case - we are speaking for ourselves, and since we train with Dan, we generally have a like mind on the issues of IS so it appears we are saying the same thing. I also would like to say that for the most part, I do not think we disparage other ways (at least I try not to) but we do try to explain our points of view in a strong way sometimes, and some of us may not be as tactful as we could be at times doing that
However, we all mean well and try to avoid confrontation when possible - but sometimes when pushed, we will push back - after all, we are martial artist you know, and we will defend when attack
I know that can get ugly at times, and believe me, I do not like it as much as you and try to avoid it when I can, unfortunately, you can get sucked into it though.
Anyway, with that said, back to your questions. As Lee said, it is great that you have identified your path and are satisfied with the vehicle you have chosen to travel down that path - most people truly envy you because they are not that fortunate and are still looking for that special thing that will do the same for them.
Our backgrounds are very similar (Tohei) and I have had some private PMs with Ron on a couple topics and I am with him on his views and approach to most things. However, the thing that got me still looking was that I kept running across folks that said they had IS but really did not have anything special, so I kept looking. Started Daitoryu with Howard Popkins and some more things started to click with IS than I ever experienced in any Aikido dojo - and then I hooked up with Dan where even more things opened up. Sorry, I don't want this appear as a Dan commercial, but it is hard to talk about IS today and not mentioned him.
Now here is the part that I think will surprise a lot people - Dan's training is NOT all about the hard rock strong physical stuff that it appears to come across as - it is soft and mostly mental. And this is where I think the connection comes in that can relate to your internal training. Most folks think Dan does not believe in ki and does not teach it - WRONG! He just does not talk much about it in open forums because of the obvious potential to get out of hand
IMO, this is where his stuff has a true advantage to those that have a strong belief in ki and a coordinated mind and body - it gives you a head start in leaning more about how to use your control of ki to do more with your body, which will facilitate enhancement of any body movement within or outside of martial arts. Tohei's stuff provides a good foundation to build on but there is much more that can be added to that, and that is where Dan and others like him can come in.
As to why folks don't seek out you and Ron for your IS? Well, IMO, most folks look at you as just another Ki Society shop, and unfortunately, the Ki groups have gotten a bad reputation over the years, some deserve it and some don't. FWIW, I always recommend someone going to a Ki Society dojo to get started with mind and body coordination (which is the absolutely first step to IS) if they can not get to a Dan or Howard Popkin seminar - of course I tell them to make sure it is connected with an old well established Ki organization like the NJ Ki group or the VA Ki group - or if they want, they can come see me for a start
(commercial disclaimer: I do NOT charge for training
Well, I hope I did not insult in any manner and that you may find what I had to say useful. I truly wish both you Ron continued success in your endeavors.