George S. Ledyard wrote:
People have managed to get to Las Vegas by the millions for their vacations, gambling, and the showgirls... I suspect that folks who really wanted to do so for the training could have done so.
while i appreciate some of what you said in this post, the simple fact is that many people don't
get to las vegas. we can't afford it. my travel for the last several years has been completely dependent on being in a touring band, which itself leaves little room for anything other than traveling to and play shows.
the limit to my ability to travel is about 8-10 hours driving. i can't afford to fly. and i can't afford the time to ride the greyhound. i wouldn't even be able to afford to train regularly if it wasn't for the fact that my dojo fees are $40/month (which i sometimes can not afford... luckily, my sensei is very understanding).
so, aikido as an elitist enterprise also comes down to cost. those of us living on little better than minimum wage (or less) simply can not afford to travel in the ways you suggest. if something on the level of an aiki expo was coming close by, i would scrape and save for it. but it would have to be within my 8-10 hours, or even that would be to no avail.
yet i am very serious. i did the scraping and saving thing last year, and was able to spend nine weeks as an uchideshi. but even then i had to hold down a part-time construction job nearby in order to afford to eat. and still ended up owing the dojo i lived in money after i left! (another understanding sensei!)
so please understand that an inability to make it to las vegas or los angeles is not necessarily the result of a lack of (burning) desire, but a simple lack of funds. given the fundamental economic nature of the world we live in.