George S. Ledyard
The Ueshiba family was quite well off. Several attempts were made to set Morihei Ueshiba up in some sort of business but it is clear that he had absolutely no interest. The family was rich enough to subsidize him in his efforts.
If you look at these guys, and then put that together with who they were teaching, you realize that it must have been near impossible to be poor or even working class and have the time to train the way these folks did nor would it have been easy to find a teacher who would take you on as a student unless you had means. Notice how many folks they taught were in a professional context i.e. police or military where the agency paid the expense.
Anyway, it explains why so many of the folks we know about from recent history seem to have come from well off backgrounds... who else had the time and money to train like a fanatic once the samurai were abolished as a class and all those folks were unemployed. Even in arts like judo and kendo, look at how many top guys came out of police dojos... Even a number of koryu were kept alive within that context.
Interesting that you say that. I had Imaizumi Sensei and his wife at Mayda and I's house for the weekend (a couple of weeks ago) and we were talking about how certain people able to study as they did. Imaizumi Sensei explained that the first son had the family obligation to follow in a family's tradition and that this expectation was difficult to get out of. The subsequent boys, like Imaizumi Sensei, were allowed to follow other paths. Imaizumi Sensei's family helped to support him when he quit his job and became a full-time Aikidoka at the Hombu Dojo. Your family had to have money to subsidize such ventures for sons other than the first born son.