I started practicing martial art in Newport, Gwent in the UK in 1964. We (the club) had the upstairs of a large but derelict house the floor-boards of which we regularly polished with our feet! I was quite young, and the whole thing was probably just another thing I was 'trying out'. I wanted to be able to fight competently, not learn an art - I just wanted 'the secrets'. But, I felt welcome, liked the togetherness of the group, and ended up practicing 3-4 times a week for 3 hours a time.
I practiced karate under Master Harada (Shotokai) who has a special relationship withing the karate family tree with Master Funakoshi and Master Egami. Harada, while it's a long time since we met, has been a special influence in all aspects of my life, though he will not know it. I still think about lessons from 30 years ago, and sometimes I get answers and ideas. It would have been easier to have just learned to fight!
After a few years, I wandered in and out of practice of karate - the club changed, people changed, things just weren't the same. I wandered into Aikido through friends who knew my pedigree, but we practiced together based on a similar philosophy. So, while I did not practice Aikido at the Hut, I did practice it at the Wire Works in Newport under Master Ken Williams!
My private practice took me to the early eighty's while I worked a lot over seas, and then I let it lapse. Now I am over weight, unfit, and trying to achieve some level of fitness via my old knowledge of karate and aikido, mainly from kata, learning Bo and jo, and dieting. I think.
I'm back in touch with my old teachers who are with Master Harada and Master Williams, so I have a program in place to shake off my complacency - I am practicing again - very gently - and losing weight. When ready, I will go on some courses in the UK and USA.