My name is Allen Turner and I'm new to Aikido. I'm learning/training along with my wife and daughters here in Chicago with Hawk Durham. I've only been doing this since January but am enjoying it and the local community immensely. I discovered Aikiweb and have been lurking and reading and figured I should probably stand up and be counted for a second. So, a happy hello to you all.
As far as interests go I'm a bit interested in a little of everything, though most of my hobbies revolve around games and art. I'm a game designer by trade (if anyone has ever played a game called Stubbs the Zombie I'm one of the designers on on that). I'm a student of folklore and mythology and used to be a moderately active storyteller here in the Chicago area.
I'm not new to martial arts. In college I practiced Taijiquan (without any combat applications however). I've also dabbled in Escrima, kick boxing, and Capoeria (Abgola and Regionale). I never really got good enough with any of those to be much of a threat to anything but myself, but it was good exercise.
Big lifestyle changes due to health and work issues (I'm an extreme asthmatic and have been having ongoing breathing issues) distracted me from all of that for a about 6 years and I find myself drawn to Aikido mainly as a way of bringing wholebody health back into the life of myself and my family. My body has lost a lot of the stamina it used to have and I just can't do all that crazy "crush you/kill you" stuff any more.
I guess that's all I really have to say. I've got a billion questions but I think I'll be quiet for a while yet as I soak up more info.