OK, I've got to give Mercurial a try. In order to import the files from my local working copy (will try hg convert later) I needed to prune out my local copy.
Yes, you can use SVN export as well. But I wanted to try to delete all the files within a directory structure. Here's how to use "find" and "rm" together to remove specific directories in a directory structure:
find . -name '.svn' -type d -print0 | xargs -0 rm -rf
the "find" part of this argument will find all files in and under the current directory named ".svn" that are directories and print them out as a list. those results are piped to xargs to turn into an argument list for rm. the "r" option works through the tree recursively and the "f" option forces removal. This is necessary in order to remove folders that have files in them.