To return Lost-san courtesy, I shall tell my story...
As like many middle-schoolers in my community, my father introduced me to my first martial art, Karate. This didn't last long, since I was only a kid.
I was pretty much a wimp all the way through junior high. Got bullied a lot, cried a lot. Even after I took Tae Kwon Do (WTF) classes for 2 years, I was still pretty much a loser all the way to 8th grade (our country's junior high ended on this grade).
High school, I went to VFMA, Wayne, Penn., USA. The only martial art I took was Fencing (western style). Here, I was introduced to Miyamoto Musashi, since the teacher is a fan of his.
After graduation, went backs home, did nothing for 6 months. I dislocated my right knee and tore my ligament doing a stupid stunt. This really hit me real hard, since I know, I am alreasdy crippled. After much pain and agony, I regained my confidence, thanks to my family and friends.
University, I went to RMIT, Melb., Vic., Australia. Here I was exposed to many martial arts, and I was exposed to many good teachers. At first I took Tai Chi, just the exercise though, not the martial art - got bored. Despite my knee, I took TKD again but this time it was ITF. Here I understood the importance of principles above techniques.
In Melbourne, I met quite a number of martial artists, a lot of them are good teachers. I was exposed to other arts like Pencak Silat (my home country's art, but never paid too much attention to it), Wing Chun, and some other type of Kung Fu. It was here also that I was first exposed to Aikido.
Again I dislocated my right knee during a free sparring in TKD class. This stopped me from taking TKD or hard hitting art again. A friend of mine introduced me to Aikido. He said this would solve my problem. I didn't get to see it yet, since I have to go back home because of my country's financial crisis.
I continued my study here in Indonesia, and I was lucky enough to have Aikido class in the university that I'm in. The instructor at that time was still quite a fresh shodan, but he was unlike any instructor that I've met in my country. He was polite, open minded, and always willing to help. Quite a role model. But back then, our techniques were still rough.
Even though we were still white belts back then, a friend of mine and I became our sensei's uke for his nidan test. The shihan that was testing was quite reluctant at first, but allowed it anyway. It was quite an experience. Our sensei became friend and teacher to the students. Maintaining mutual respect within class and out of class.
Years have passed, and as we learn together as a class, our knowledge grew. Keeping an open mind to everything possible. The rest is the present, and I believe by reading from my recent posts, the story will be revealed.
What I like about the teachings is that it studies principles not techniques, that's why I'm still in Aikido to this day.
There are many stories along the way, but that would just take up too much space.