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My Aikido training began a VERY short time ago, on May 12th, 2005. Myself and four other new students gathered together at Tenshinkan Dojo in Chicago, Illinois to begin a journey into a world none of us knew very much about.
I came to Aikido for many reasons.
I've been studying Japanese language and culture since the beginning of 2004. On a whim I began to look for a place to study Japanese, and was very lucky to find the Japanese Culture Center (which is build around the AAA Tenshinkan Dojo) in Chicago. I knew very little about the place, but the classes were the right price and I signed up at once.
The very first time I visited to pay my fee, there were people in curious clothes throwing each other around on the mats. Upon my next visit, I realized, to my horror, that I would have to cross through the mat area to get to the basement where the language classes were held. It was intimidating to say the least, but I quickly picked up from watching others that you needed to bow before you entered the mats.
During our language classes in the basement, we could hear people shouting and landing with various thuds and thumps. Still ignorant to what was actually happening on the mats, I learned how to introduce myself and count in Japanese, with the din of Aikido in the background.
Fast-forward one year and I was a private student of the language teacher, able to read all kana, a few kanji, and speak like a six year old. By then I knew a lot about the Japanese