What got me started
I was an anit-Viet-Nam war protester in the 1960's. In 1972, a friend of mine gave me a book to read with the words "I think this might suit you". The book was Koichi Tohei's "Aikido In Daily Life". I read it in one night, then re-read it several times. Unfortunately I had to return that book to him.
Since I was living in the mountains outside of Yakima Washington, the only Aikido I could find was in Seattle, too far of a commute through the snow and ice of the Cascade Mountains.
In 1974, I moved back to southern California, and for the next two years I looked on and off for Aikido, but there was nothing available where I lived.
Then in early 1976 I was at a week-end seminar, when during opening self-introductions, a gentleman stood up and said, "My name is Ace Atkinson, I am a bureaucrat and I teach Aikido." During our next break, I made it a point to introduce myself to Ace and found out when his classes were and where. I started training within the month and have not stopped since.
Since Ace was the one who ultimately introduced me to Roderick Kobayashi, Sensei, and encouraged this 6'2", no longer gangly, but definitely just as clumsy, male's pursuit of Aikido, I will always give him credit as my first Sensei and only one of two people I have trained with who represent the best of Aikido.
Movies, schmovies, I went for the real thing and have not been disappointed. There has yet to be a martial arts movie which shows the real thing. Yes, I include all of Bruce Lee's films. Movies are only movies, the real thing is never found in the movies.