That was not my experience with Mike or Dan. And if you recall I wasn't all that friendly with Mike. But to give them both their props, they both spent a whole lot of time asking if there were people in aikido who had the skills they were so interested in. To my knowledge, Mike is not teaching anything other than workshops - there is no agenda to build up a student base that I can see. As for Dan, I know him to be actively trying to avoid more students coming in so he can focus on the utility of the skills (which is a lot more interesting than focusing on the building/establishing of them) so I'm pretty sure there is no agenda to get people to go through him either. From where I am standing it appears that Dan is trying to teach aikido teachers so that aikido students can learn those skills within their own art.
I'm sure there are OTHER aspects to O-Sensei's vision of aikido other than just aiki - no one was ever suggesting otherwise. I would imagine those aspects to cover more of the "do" part, while the "aiki" seems to apply a bit more to what Dan and Mike have been trying to help us out with.
Well as far as making friends here on AikiWeb, I would say that Mike and Dan are there own worst enemies. Now I say that with two caveats, the first being they have been here a long time now, and like annoying siblings, we have come to love them and can't really imagine what life would be like without them. Second, I am no better at making friends than they... although I am sure most would say that over the years we have, as a collective group of sometimes irreverent and needy children, gotten much better at it as time goes on.
Otherwise, if you check the record, I have always advocated people go and check out what it is that Dan and Mike are doing. I am a true believer that whatever it is they are sharing is good for everyone to get to feel with their own two hands. It is nice to see them come out from the shadows and mystery that DRAJ and CMA are most often shrouded in. Regardless of whether Dan, Mike or I are right, wrong, or partially right and wrong about our opinions, people may adopt methods to better learn quality movement. Hopefully that will translate into developing meaningful skills for them and any future students that come along their way.
Things have developed nicely over the past few years. I am sure they will continue to do so. My hope is that as Dan, Mike, Akuzawa Sensei and others help shed the misconceptions about what it is they are doing by sharing with martial artists from around the globe that they may come across the right group of Aikidoka who will help them shed their own misconceptions about something being missing from the art of Aikido, itself.
I am sometimes referred to as a "naysayer" but again, if you check the record, I was politely saying something was missing back in the early 1990's. I tried to elucidate that with the interviews and articles that I conducted and published and distributed out just as Stanly did with his Aiki-News. People really weren't that receptive to the obvious statements that some very senior people were making at the time. In some ways, perhaps today's "climate change" will warm things up enough that after the pursuit for body skills winds down and Aikidoka come back to the "What is missing from Aikido" question, they may rediscover those articles, re-read them and come to their own conclusions about what is really missing from their then current practice. I am passionate that things not get lost, too. However, when it comes to preserving O-Sensei's Aikido, I have a more complete picture to share than merely the transmission of body skills.
Best in training to you and all...