Good question. There are some absolutely HUGE martial arts franchises out there, sometimes with hordes of students. Perhaps their teaching quality is good, but then again Macdonalds is all over the world but the main thing that has made them flourish is their business nouse, not the quality of their food.
We on the other hand are a boutique dojo with classes with about 6 – 10 people on the mat at any one time. We do not accept just anyone with a wallet, but make sure that our students truly want what we offer. This guarantees that we have classes full of people who know and encourage each other and treat each other with respect. They all really enjoy Aikido practice and learning how to use its principles for real results in their lives.
Furthermore, we have several senior students with whom you can train and they will be very calm and patient as they help you perfect your technique and hone your mind & body. Geisner Sensei oversees the training and works his way around the class, helping people at all levels of expertise with direct, personal instruction and feedback. You will even get to train with him every lesson and he is very friendly and open to discussions at the end of class. At some big franchises you’ll be lucky as a beginner if your instructor knows your name or even cares.