Re: Dojo in southern Indiana?
Prior to moving to Lafayette, I was one of the senior students and founding members of the Hibi Shoshin Dojo, Aikido of Evansville, under William Kulhanek Sensei. The closing of the dojo was a great frustration and loss for all of us. It wasn't so much that the business side of things "tanked", but that there wasn't much of a business side to begin with; we did what we could to cover rent and utilities, and Kulhanek Sensei devoted a large portion of his personal assets to the running and maintenance of the dojo over the years, but, in the end, it was impossible to keep the dojo open.
I can assure you that Kulhanek Sensei has not lost his desire to teach as a result of the dojo's closure, and his motives for teaching were never profit-oriented; various times, I have discussed with him the possibility of re-opening the Hibi Shoshin Dojo, and, as of our most recent conversation, he would very much like to get back on the mat and begin teaching again. However, we decided to post-pone the opening of another proper stand-alone dojo until we could be assured of its financial stability and sustainability regardless of student enrollment and economic conditions.
However, having said that, I think it would be fantastic to see a revival of the school in any incarnation, even if it doesn't have its own building, and I like your idea of the student body pitching in to rent room and mat space somewhere for a few classes a week. When we first started training in Evansville, we rented mat space several nights a week in Morris Dynamics, the judo dojo, and such an arrangement might be possible again. I'm almost certain Bill would be willing to teach again if he knew there were interested students and we helped arrange for training space.
Do you know others in the area who would be interested in regular local aikido training? I still find myself in Evansville on a fairly regular basis; perhaps we could arrange a meeting between Kulhanek Sensei, you, and myself in order to discuss training possibilities and the possibility of re-opening the dojo?
In the mean-time, I don't at all think it's a bad or disrespectful idea for you to try contacting Kulhanek Sensei; I expect he would very much welcome and enjoy the correspondence. I'm not sure what contact information you would have for him, and I haven't looked to see if he has any updated contact information online, but if you have trouble contacting him, I should be able to put you in touch.
I'm very glad and excited to hear there is still interest in Aikido in the Evansville area! I'm sorry if this is longer or more rambling than you wanted in a reply, but I wanted to give you some of the background of our current situation.
Have a good day,