Hi there, I am Gerald, and am happy to join this forum. I started practising aikido in 1982 in London, under sensei Ken Williams, one of the pioneers of British Aikido. I ran a club in Streatham, and taught aikido for the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA). Not long after being graded 3rd dan in 1993, I left the UK and effectively stopped aikido, until this year.
How the scene has changed! Now people from all the different strains of aikido mix and mingle on the Internet, exchanging views and opinions! You can watch videos of teachers from around the world. It looks like aikido is getting a bad rap for not being "real" enough. There is fear that aikido is no longer relevant for the young generations.
In the 25 years I haven't practised aikido, I have gone through a lot of life, and had time to integrate my teacher's words, and those hours upon hours of practice. The mind and body do not forget. Since I have restarted my practice, memories keep flooding into my consciousness - the various techniques, the principles, the spiritual teachings that no longer seem important in a materialistic world.
It was not easy starting again at 60. The body railed, encumbered by excess weight gained over the years. The bones and muscles ached for days after each practice. Initially, I was exhausted after a few rolls, which felt awkward and painful. After six months practice, I am finally feeling more fit and able.
Anyway, I am back, and fascinated by, and grateful for, the contributions on this site. I have launched a website, do have a look: www.mindbodyaikido.com