Most people who visited Iwama for training appreciated being pushed to their limits (but never over) because it was an act of kindness that sent them home stronger and with better technique than when they arrived. But there were a few who apparently got more than they expected, mistook kindness for brutality, and went away thinking that we were thugs and bullies.
We had a very different reputation in the town. For example, on one occasion a bunch of us were running up Mt. Atago and saw a car that went off the road and was stuck in a ditch. We picked up the car and put it back on the road. Needless to say the driver was very grateful. He even went to the dojo and thanked Saito-sensei for our help and left small gifts for us.
Was that the act of thugs? I think not. We were like that all the time and were very popular with the townspeople.