Re: why do people look outside Aikido for IS?
Just went running in the blackforest hills, blazing yelow giving way to more subtle red and brown, a hint of autumn mist, thinking of your seasonal posts.
I do not mean to be brusque but people look outside because they cannot find everything they are looking for inside - now there are so many different reasons people do aikido that what exactly their reasons are will be very individiual. And aikido being such a varied discipline in the first place, there we go...
I am not angry; I do consider my practice "deficient" in the one sense that I strive for excellence in all ways that are open for me. In another sense, it is not deficient at all, it is just there.
There were some things about soft power that I always believed and was told were part of aikido, but those aspects which my teachers at the time had (and they did have some) they could or would not explain well. Dan and Mike cannot only explain, but also display broader, deeper and more nuanced skills in that area, that's why I find their work fascinating and do it in my own limited way. In a similar vein, I go to meditation retreats, and so on.
People in passionate search processes in their diciplines - as Janet points out - go through "crises" (in the original sense: urgent decisions...) all the time. I do. I consider it part if the creative process. There is not something ideal that needs to be fixed. Of course, I guess there are learning types who go through a lot of drama in their search for exellence, others who develop steadily and quietly, and others again of whom the drama gets the better and the excellence falls by the wayside. I disagree with the missionary streak of some IS posters, but hey, they love what they have found - I wish there was such passion in more aikidoka!
Its wonderful that you have found that you want to do. I believe there are lots of dojos like the one you have, where people are happy with what they do. I regularly train with people who would have a lot to say but think aikiweb is just too negative. I guess that's the internet. Also, disclosure about personal transformation is a very private thing that tends to sound tacky when put in writing, and is not for everybody's eyes anyway, so discussions about techniques and methods are a lot easier.
That you perceive "us" as lemmings I find highly amusing. I have met few networks of people that are as independent minded as people who go to Dan's course, and few teachers who are so open to being challenged in whatever way. I mean, lemmings dont go outside their dojos and organisations, risk the criticism of their teachers and students, and travel large distances to meet challenging teachers without really knowing what they are in for??
Finally, you have actually been on my list of dojos I would like to visit on a yet imaginary "New England Aikio trip" - I hope I will be welcome.