Back in the late 1950,s and early 60,s I was a gymnast. When I left school there was only one jim club and that was at my school so I looked for other forms of physical activity to fill my evenings. Week ends were not a problem teenage parties camping climbing and potholing all took care of that time.
My mother served on part time in a caffe whare a lot of very hard youths would hang out for her own protection someone where she start judo classes. Judo was the only martial art known to the general public in those days this she did.
I needed a new activity since I had used gymnastics for my Queens Scout I had to do something different for my Duke of Edinbourgh gold so I joined the judo club then moved on to free stile wrestling
By the age of 19 I had achieved Queens Scout D-of-E gold a Dan Grading gained in competition and was enjoing freestyle wrestling. This only lasted another year or so then night school came in the need to pass yet more exams and a change of apprenticeship meant I had to knuckle down for a while. I still kept up my weekend activities and was on call out for the cave rescue and fell rescue teems in my area. In the mid to late 60,s the Judo club closed I looked around but there was nothing else that took my interest I visited a competition one weekend and saw a judo instucter from france who we named the frog-eyed-jap this would not be acceptable language to day but was a compliment when it was coined. Some friends tryed to get a club going to practice this new stile of open wrestling but they never got it of the ground. I learnt years later the guy that so impressed us died in a car crash in france.
So life went on and I eventually got the obligatory wife morgage and 1.7 children and a situation with a very shy sister in law who needed to be more able to cope with life looking round there was now a plethora of stiles of boxing and wrestling to choose from one of them stood out it was the style I had seen demonstated at a Judo competition years earlier and was called AIkido looking for a suitable instucter for my sister in law and found Mat Tennent sensei teaching and enroled with my sister-in-law with him that was in 1982 and i trained with him until I was in hospital for open hart surgery I now run my own dojo it is independent.
I have made meny friends in Aikido Mats students now live all over the world and I have met people like Kolashnikov , Baxter, Blick and White. all good instructers in there own styles. We should selebrate our Aikido and realise every one has something to learn and something to teach.