Re: How To Be An Amateur
I really like that you're wrestling with these issues.
Being a professional is more than just an accumulation of hours in an activity. Many people spend more than six hours a day watching television, but they are not professional TV watchers.
Some parents are able to spend more than six hours with their kids every day, but whether we view parenting as a profession will often be wrapped inside certain financial arrangements and considerations.
Once there were only three vocations that could be considered professions. Now pretty much anyone can be considered a professional if they make their living doing something.
Sadly, this may mean that skill is a secondary consideration to the simple fact of income. A person can run a commercial McDojo very unprofessionally, yet that is their profession. By the same token, an all-volunteer dojo could run an extremely professional dojo committed to service and excellence. Yet volunteers are not professionals (except of course, that professionals can volunteer their services).
The teaching and promoting of aikido is intrinsically connected with economic realities. Solutions are many and varied, from patronage, non-profit, for-profit, private home study, and so on. Somebody somewhere is paying for facilities and utilities, individually or collectively.
As with sports and arts, most who participate are not professionals, no matter their skill, dedication, or time. Those whose primary income is derived from the activity, are.
Aikido people can, theoretically, make a living through teaching, writing, filming, consulting, counseling, advising, etc. Right now this is often very difficult, and seldom lucrative. But I believe our art will be more mature when there is better infrastructure available to those who would like to pursue aikido as a livelihood. In my opinion, both aikido and the world at large will be better for it.
Naturally there will also be the same problems that plague professional sports and arts. Yet I think all our lives would be diminished if there were not people who were rewarded for their full time devotion and commitment to these things that we value.