I've said it before, but I really don't get the profit motive stuff. I know for a fact that Dan doesn't make much money on this stuff, doesn't run a commercial dojo, and doesn't make a living out of it.
Even if he did, so what? Morihei Ueshiba taught for money - Sokaku Takeda. Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, Gozo Shioda, Yoshimitsu Yamada, Mitsugi Saotome, Kazuo Chiba, Hiroshi Ikeda and all the rest taught/teach for money (and a lot more money than Dan ever makes), sold books/videos/t-shirts and whatever and nobody blinks an eye.
And what about the "secrets"?
However, I have met few aikido teachers, and few martial arts teachers in general who use nondisclosure agreements and who forbid basic recording of their seminars. I have agreed a few times to not share the good and useful stuff I've learned in a class, but I dont really fully buy the whole secret art that is too deadly for mere folks can cause demonic health problems song and dance when the agreement is viewed under the spotlight of protecting paid access to a product provided by few individuals. Precious patented and copyrighted proprietary product, or a true return to real aikido? I dont know. I'm just uneasy with the tone of some of the discussion. The responses have not fully eased my mind.
First of all, I don't think anybody has really spoken about "demonic health problems" (Lee Price mentioned something along those lines, but AFAIK he's never met Dan, and I don't know whose training he's referring to).
I've never signed a nondisclosure agreement.
Many places that I trained at in Japan prohibit basic recording of some or all of what they're doing. You can't even take video or still photos at Aikikai Hombu without special permission.
Morihei Ueshiba did not allow certain things to be filmed, or even seen publicly. Sokaku Takeda was the same.
Sagawa Dojo is the same to this day, as is the Kodokai.
The Ki Society only releases certain materials to their members.
Mitsugi Saotome did the same thing, when he first produced a two-sword video.
Hiroshi Ikeda only sells certain DVD's to people who have attended certain workshops.
Now, in Dan's case you'll have to ask him, but it's certainly not about proprietary information - one of the requirements that he imposed when he started teaching this stuff publicly was that people would not
hoard this stuff to themselves.
However, it is
very difficult to transmit in any detail over the internet without a common frame of reference.
If you've ever done any tech support over the phone you should know - how hard is it to explain logging into Facebook to your 80 year old Grandmother? And that's a simple technical sequence with discrete, easily describable physical steps.
The last time I tried something similar I had to ask for a screenshot - and they emailed a picture of their monitor taken with a digital camera (a true story!).
As for videos, they aren't much use, and often cause more trouble than they're worth (they don't seem to settly too many arguments around here, do they?). There are a lot of videos out - if watching them got you anywhere then people would already be able to do this stuff.
The acrimony? This stuff isn't new, it's been the subject of acrimonious discussions on the internet for at least 15 years. For most of that time people like Dan and Mike Sigman (if I can dare to mention them both in the same sentence!) were on the receiving end - a lot of that from me, I'm sorry to say.
Well, times have changed, it seems, and those two are no longer speaking alone when talking about this stuff (which should tell you quite a bit, I would think), but it's hard for many people to imagine that they don't really understand the things that they've been training in and teaching for twenty, thirty years and more, that there's much more work to do. That they weren't even close, in many ways.
It's hard for them to take the chance.
But I did...