my early days
Once again, the Seagal movies helped another American find his way into the dojo 8). Also, I was quite bored and really wanted to partake in some kind of group activity. But, before I joined the Aikido Club at my college, I did a little research. The page entitled "What is Aikido" on the Aikido Club's home page was fabulous. I thought to myself, if people really do have this array of attitudes and philosophies in the college I attend, I'm a gonna find 'em!!!! Lo and behold, the next class wasn't going to be for a few days as indicated on the club's schedule. I did some internet searches, and found this little gem of a website (aikiweb).
I read some of the posts like the spiritual, language, and training ones. Nothing captivated me more than the sections on the Founder's teachings. After reading just a few of those, I realized this is not just a sport or martial art, this the way FOR ME, the path I was born to walk. I can remember hoping there would be others in the dojo who felt this way, and not just a bunch of "Nico" (Seagal Sensei's character in one of his movies) wannabes looking to kick some ass in a bar fight.
As it turned out, many of the sempai (everyone but me and a friend who began on the same day) truly had a passion for teaching. Tobin Sempai would never let me do shihonage w/ one hand, no matter how many times I told him of the picture I'd seen of O'Sensei throwing uke one-handed 8). Donald Sempai would quickly metamorphasize into a brick wall if I didn't direct the energy properly. If I screwed up the technique, throwing him was not a challenge, it was an absolute impossibility 8). One Sempai there was several years younger than I, and, after about a month of struggling with mae ukemi, ushiro ukemi, shikko, and even the "static" warm-ups, I finally threw up my ego and asked him if he'd show me the skilz. In about 20 minutes I could do it all, and my confidence was to hit a new plateau thanks to Roberto Sempai 8).
Ok I'm lulling myself to sleep, so the least I can do is spare you all another 3 paragraphs. ONEGAISHIMASU!!!.