The passing of time has changed the culture. Everyone wants to know how to get them in the door and to keep them there. I say this doesn't matter. I can't imagine O'Sensei or any other instructor begging students to come in or to stay. Advertising is fine but we should be caterers.
I should also say I do like some of the information that has been provided in this thread as well.
I get what you are saying Lyle, but even if I serve the finest cuisine in the world from the secrecy of my attic...I guarantee I'll be eating alone..
No one I know is begging, but I know a lot of people that are proud of Aikido...its good right or we wouldn't be doing it?
So whats the problem in letting people know where you are and doing ones best to create a great learning environment for them? If O'sensei wanted his art kept secret...well why teach anyone at all?
Maybe a thread needed for that if people are interested ? (Won't be started by me though).
Of course there is a technical cap in place ...which is the instructor. In my case ME. My ability to teach/do isn't affected by the paraphanalia really (although I personally, being extrovert, prefer a more buoyant dojo)...but its not made worse either.
Only real difference for me is the numbers.
Sure some people abuse this...they can milk the students with excessive grading fees, restrictions on training elsewhere ...I'm sure in many ways.
Any neither does any of the dojos I know and respect.
A successful dojo does not equal McDojo....no more than a small dojo with a few seniors and no beginners training just together equals co operative untested training among friends.
Sorry - hope this doesn't sound like a lecture...a small reply just seems to grow...I guess I find the growth of a small group into a large group fascinating, particularly in the way it can be driven by a small teams energy and enthusiasm.