Re: Who's missing out? (On "Promotion and advertising" rhetoric)
Three posts I drafted and deleted in response to this thread... Its like the gravity of the sun pulling me in...
First, promotion is the avenue by which to position your product and place it within the market. If anything, I would say, we, as consumers of aikido instruction are not vocal enough about providing feedback to fellow practitioners about their "product". I have read many threads here that opine if an instructor is "abusive", far fewer opine about instruction that lacks function, form, or clarity.
For example: "I like the Charlotte dojo. Phi is funny, but man he can't teach his way out of a paper bag. Oh, and he doesn't know a thing about aiki... kiai on the other hand. whew." (disclaimer: Phi is a nice guy and a great instructor and I am using him because I know him personally).
Second, grouping is a tactic of promotion. Are you cool? You are if you have an iPhone. Are you unique? Sure, if you buy these girlfriend jeans from the Gap. When someone points out something I am not doing, but they feel it has value, I will consider it. I am missing out, but that is something in my training that I am not doing. The consideration I must give is whether the thing is valuable to me. I hope aiki bunnies play bongo drums and flit ribbons all day long. Those things are missing from my training... and they will always be missing from my training because I do not value them. I did not say they have no value, only no value to me or the aikido I teach. It is no more appropriate for me to lament the bongo-drum-playing-ribbon-flitting aikido than it is for me to lament the internal-strength-power aikido. Some one believes there is value in each.
To tie these points together, I believe we have an obligation to identify and correctly place aikido dojo, instructors and students with the community. This isn't even an argument if we are talking about bad instructors or bad dojos. This is only an argument because we are overly polite and sensitive to aikido people who are nice.
As a final personal note, I was disappointed with the spirit of the initial post. Like many voices, I found this thread to be passive-aggressive and generally condescending. I was conflicted between hoping Jun would kill this thread and hoping some one could salvage its remains. I think it is fair to say that no one likes to be criticized, but when we do it in a spirit of aid and empathy it makes us stronger and better. I hope I will never turn down good advice from those I respect, even if my feelings (or ego) get a little bruised.