So... reviving the dead. I think that my initial suspicions were on the money.
The gym with the obese instructor was a real dive. When it was time for class to start, the instructor hadn't even put on his gi, and he just told the kids to go warm up, while he talked on his cell phone. Eventually, he got around to putting on a gi and walking his butt over to the matt.
Now he was awfully understanding and cool with the kids. But the class was more like supervised play time than actual instrution, and it showed... none of the kids seemed to really know much. None of the kids seemed to take it seriously, either... it almost seemed like their parents had dropped them off there as a day-care.
Going to the second gym... I get there 15 minutes early. Kids are already there, and are warming up and practicing on their own. And doing some pretty cool stuff. Oh, and they have three instructors for the class, and break the kids into groups based on age and skill.
I guess, at least in this case, that big, gnarly cauliflower ears are a better sign of a good dojo than an enormous gut.