Way of the Warrior
Since I was a participant in this segment as well as having been involved in several other filmings at ACLA, I thought I'd contribute my perspective.
First of all, yes it is a beautiful dojo. Probably this is one of the reasons these kind of shows want to film here. But beyond the look of the place, there is some serious training going on too.
If Sensei looked out of breath or was sweating, I wouldn't be suprised. Although the segment was only a few minutes in length in its final version, the filming lasted for a couple of hours at least! I know I was sweating. In fact, we sweat and breathe hard in every class. Don't most of the rest of you?
Also, his uke is 4th Dan (now 5th dan), and I can assure you that he gives 110% in his attacks all the time, not just for the cameras. He is fast, strong and very good. Sensei demands this of all us. There is no faking it. If it looks too easy for Sensei, think about what that really means. I was there, there was no theatrical enhancement. This is the way we train.
As for there being at least a dozen better instructors in So. Cal. I don't know, maybe. I find that statement pretty hard to accept. I've been training in the LA area for 15 years. I know there are some good instructors around, but.... I'm a teacher myself, I certainly wouldn't put myself in that category.
These kinds of programs are created for the general public's consumption. They almost always come out about the same. They're a form of entertainment. They certainly aren't meant to be a serious treatment of martial arts. The people who produce them and write the narrations have no knowledge of the subject. They serve up what they think will sell.
The Dojo participates as a service to help spread awareness of traditional Aikido training. People are stimulated by the programs to check out the art. So to that extent, they serve some positive function.