Mike Allen Intro
A good number of my friends in high school were into martial arts, TKD and Kempo mainly. Of course I had seen the movies and thought they were cool, but the things that I saw from my friends (with some light sparring/technique demo from them) and what they described to me never really sparked my interest. I went the sports way with hockey, X-country running and skiing and volleyball. Of course since my friends were involved in the MA community they knew a lot more than I did when it came to the arts, and my Kempo friend suggested (after a lengthy discussion) that I look into Aikido.
*Flash forward to college* One night I was having one of those chance conversations with an upperclassman in the band about martial arts and how I was hoping to get involved and find a dojo. As it turns out he practices Aikido not to far from campus and is willing to drive me whenever he goes to class. (Big score!) Unfortunately he was not a very regular participant in class and underclassmen on my campus were not allowed cars so my time in the dojo for those first few years was very spotty. All I remember from those few classes was being EXTREAMLY sore the next day after class and being totally blown away by our Sensei and the Sempai that I met.
College and I never got along very well, I was in a program I should not have been in and ended up failing and retaking more than a few classes. I actually should not have been in school at that point in my life, but that's a different story. I had to take some summer classes to make up classes that I had failed one semester and as luck would have it the dojo that I was a "member" of had moved to within walking distance from campus. I spent that entire summer in the dojo, at least one class a day for the full 3 months. I was more than hooked after that summer and have been a regular student since that time.
I can truly say that Aikido has been the stable point in my life. Going to class after a long day at work (or classes or a blow out with the gf) always lifts the load so I can go home and sleep well. The principles that are now ingrained in me after years of training help me daily with people at work (especially the drive in to work!) and everywhere else.
Our dojo is small, we do not advertise much (any?) but we are dedicated students. Right now we are in a state of flux; we do not have a place to call our own and are renting from a Goju-Ryu school, we are slowly growing as our senior students move to different places and establish their own school, and our Sensei is talking about moving (seriously this time) in the next few years time. With all of this going on we still come and train hard and enjoy ourselves and the growth that we are all going through. If you stopped in on one of our classes you would see tired (physically by the end of class), focused, and smiling faces, and we would not have it any other way!
That is my Aikido history in a nutshell. Looking forward to reading and posting.
May peace be with you all your days.