Craig Hocker wrote:
Who does not know there are other martial arts besides aikido ?
I see you're from Houston, you don't have an idea what's going on in poorer countries like Hungary.
People here are too poor to regularly get to seminars of even European high-grade sensei not to mention Japanese ones. Very few people get to learn Aikido with a proper sensei for a longer period. Result is, what most students here have is second-(third-, fourth-...) hand knowledge. Shodans/nidans form clubs and teach people. To hide their own incompetence, they don't encourage people attending other trainings. There are of course exceptions as always.
It is also a question of money. If you have your own students, you have a place to practise because 20 people can hire a hall easier than 2. if you have students, they pay for the trainings so you can go to seminars to foreign countries and/or invite teachers. The price of development for these guys is to keep their students in ignorance as long as they can. Many students have no idea what Aikido (or any other martial art) is like but they think their 'art' is the best, the only good one. I heard one guy exclaim he did 'jitsu' which is THE original Japanese martial art.
Oh and I saw trainings where the teacher actually teaches both the tori and uke what to do as if it was a dance. I'd prefer to make these beginners attend other classes, because people are patient with beginners and not so hard on them. What if these guys get higher grades and attend a seminar? What happens to them if their pair makes a move that was not taught in their 'dance'? I can tell you: I saw that happen too, the guy very nearly broke his spine.
As for the internet, there's a bit of difference between reading about let's say Yoshinkan Aikido and training with Gozo Shioda. (I know he's dead but that was the first name I remembered :-) ).
I think any club/art/style where beginners are hurt isn't worth considering. Whatever style it is, they have beginners and probably their own methods of teaching them as well which doesn't necessarily include hurting them.