It's an unpleasant subject, Jason, but I think it's important to hash out the economics of martial arts teaching in this day and age.
I was a commercial "teacher," charging fees from students, from 1979 until about 1999, when I stopped charging altogether--maybe 2001 or 2002. I opened the first yoseikan budo dojo in North America in 1984 and I have taught at multiple locations and in seminar format of various kinds, only to see the numbers collapse long before it becomes viable as a living. And Dan's prices are not far from what I've always based my calculations on, so I don't see how it comes out looking like he's even breaking even from it, much less profiting. The class sizes are tiny. Sure, he does lots of seminars and now is going around the world, but that's a lot of airfare and a lot of life time invested in each seminar. So you have to figure that into his "profit." I'm not saying Dan's a bad businessman, just that budo is not his livelihood business. He is a professional with a real business as his real life which allows him to pursue his other interests in depth. As I read Dan's fee and class schedules, he breaks even or loses money to share his unique knowledge and methods with people who can appreciate them and their relevance to aikido, and thereby enrich their lives with a new direction for intensive work.
From reading Chris' translations of O Sensei's materials, very importantly including the Floating Bridge of Heaven material, I believe that Dan's method is what O Sensei was doing. In fact, I'd say that modern aikido was a less esoteric though still awesome thing created to bring in large numbers of participants to finance the free and unimpeded life of Morihei Ueshiba in his esoteric and unmarketable interests.
Anyway, congrats on getting Dan on schedule for Atlanta next month. Sorry I couldn't give more support on that and that I won't be able to attend. I hope this takes hold among the serious IP guys in ATL and that some of our local folks can attend in February.
Oh you don't have to tell me. My comment wasn't directed at Dan, but at people who want to complain about someone else charging for their time. I've paid for plenty of Aikido seminars that cost the same and really only amount to about 4 hours of training time per day and no hands on time with "the man".
Sucks that you won't be able to make it. I was hoping we'd finally get to meet. The good thing about getting him down is that the hooks will be in and he'll have to come back, so there's always next time.
Now I just have to get him to reply with details...