Bill Danosky wrote:
So I respectfully submit that to particular segments of students, the classroom experience, including the voice, appearance, style and personal magnetism of the instructor are MORE important than the content of the class or the effectiveness of the techniques. This is probably the source of a lot of the differences we're discussing, IMHO.
I absolutely agree. It's what I meant when I said that dojo's are like "filters" and gradually become dominated with the sorts of people who are most attracted to what they perceive is going on (while people interested in solid martial arts tend to flow through and go elsewhere). Tai Chi and Aikido got a huge boost from the New Age crowds, wannabelieves, "spiritual" seekers, etc., and there's a huge base of that sort (worse in Tai Chi, though). Things are gradually changing, but the legitimate question is whether Aikido and Taiji would have succeeded in the West had it not been for the influx of the New Age people. I think not, but that's just a personal opinion.