I live in San Francisco, California, in the United States and I train at East Bay Aikido
in nearby Oakland with Tom Gambell Sensei. It's a wonderful community of Aikido-ka and Gambell Sensei is an extraordinary teacher: come visit if you're in our part of the world.
I started playing with Aikido over a quarter century ago (I love saying that) alternating school years at a college Aikido club with summers in New York City at the Aikikai. However, my first real training and my first real sensei was at the Baltimore ASU affiliate with Charlie Page Sensei. He gave me a strong foundation, strong enough that some of it was still in my body when I came back to Aikido after 12 years off the mat. Thank-you Charlie Page Sensei!
I never have understood how I let that 12 years off the mat slip by but I've been back for more than 5 years now and I'm completely addicted. I found a wonderful dojo and a wonderful sensei and I love many kinds of training including focused concentration on one technique, jiu waza and other free styles, weapons, especially jo, playing with my favorite partners, playing with folks I've never met before at seminars, training for testing, training when testing is the last thing on my mind, learning from beginners, being tossed around by my sempai, etc., etc. In short, I've got the bug bad: I love to train and I love Aikido. Also, Aikido has been of enormous help to me in my life off the mat, and during a recent very stressful time I found that it also went the other way - when I learned to resolve things better off the mat, my Aikido also grew.
I've lurked on AikiWeb in the past, making good use of the dojo search when travelling, browsing forums, reading articles, and occasionally voting. It's really a fabulous resource and my hat is off with much appreciation to Jun and everyone else who makes it happen. So why finally sign up now? Had to add my aiki-puns to the pun thread in the humor forum!
OK, I do do a couple of other things besides Aikido.
In addition to playing on the mat, I like to play in my art studio (you can see some of my work at http://studiojuliakay.com
). I very recently made my first ever aikido-themed art but it's not online yet so please check back soon.
I've also become very interested in the Alexander Technique
, a method of learning to use your body with more ease whose general philosophical precepts and physical techniques have alot in common with those of Aikido (don't muscle, don't endgain, don't "do" the technique, yes be calm, yes have poise etc.). I'm looking forward to seeing how these two arts work together as I learn more. FM Alexander, the founder of the Alexander Technique, lived at pretty much the same time as O'Sensei but in Australia and England. Interesting to think about all that was happening in the world around then.
Well, really, I think that's quite enough about me - see you online or on the mat,