I have been reading the thread for some time now, so I thought, now you should know, who is the guy writing all the BS.
Born in 1961 i started martial ats with 15 as Karateka. I did parctice Karate for 6 years, ending up with a 2nd Kyu and some ranks in semi-kontact Karate. Nothing special, but I am proud of.
The biggest problem that I faced, was being participant in the German Youth Championship, fighting against one guy, that was just much better - the new champion in the 68 kg class, and another one I couldn't reach, because of his enourmous length. I knew I would loose, but I wanted to loose upright, i.e. at least have a few points. And I tried to get them Anwhere, anyhow. And my punches and kicks became more and more uncontrolled. Iknew someone could have been hurt, but I took this into account, not in a real fight, but in a tournament and just for my ego.
That was the beginning of the end of my Karate career.
In 1988 I saw an advertisement about an Aikido starter class. I just tried and was fascinated.
When I moved to Trier a little bit later, I looked for Aikido and found it in the local police sports club - and they were proud of being the only department without any single police officer as member, as a proof how peaceful it was. I did train there for a couple of years, but without graduation, as in that time graduations in Aikikai Germany could have only be taken by Asai Sensei on seminars, which was too complicated for me. I just liked my "Japanes Dancing Course". I stopped when the training schedule did not match any longer my professional time schedule.
After moving into the Frankfurt (am Main) area (all Germany), I found a dojo that is quite easy to reach from my office in end of 2003.
They just started Aikido as complementary training to Judo and Karate with a Sensei having learned in Uruguay, Washington D.C (Saotome), and Japan.
So our style is quite similar to A.S.U. as I was told. It looks a little bit more martial to me than what I was used to in Asai related dojos, but one reason are those strong Judoka, who tend to be not very co-operative.
At the time being, in spite of about 17 years experience in Aikido I am holding the 4th kyu (out of 6).
That was a preety long essay though.