Greetings from Jeremy McMillan, 7th Kyu AWA Kiku Matsu Dojo
I've finally sustained a long enough consistent training regimen to test for rank, so I'm happy to announce my training has officially begun in earnest. I'm training at Kiku Matsu Dojo in Chicago under Sensei Sato of the AWA in the Toyoda style of Aikido.
I was first introduced to Aikido by Sensei Sato when he taught at the AAA Tenshinkan Dojo more than 5 years ago, at the suggestion of a colleague who had also trained under Toyoda Shihan for a number of years at Tenshinkan. I had six or seven classes, once a week, but struggled to make classes because I often had to work late.
Later I tried again, this time at Shinjinkan Dojo under Sensei Moore and occasionally Sensei Miller, but demands of my job periodically torpedoed my training availability, so again I was unable to really commit. This hurt because training, especially at Shinjinkai, was such a positive, energizing experience.
My solution was to look for a new apartment closer to Shinjinkai, but the housing boom was depleting rental stocks from condo conversions, so I gave up for a couple of years until my daughter was born, and my family needed to move again.
The neighborhood around Shinjinkai was still inaccessible, so I decided to just go to Lincoln Square, where the stroller count on the street was/is very high to be amongst a community of new parents. I didn't even know that Sensei Sato had opened up Kiku Matsu just 2.5 blocks from my new home as the seat of the new AWA. I tried to make some classes, but demands of fatherhood had to take priority until my daughter, just this year, stopped napping and developed some attention span and the ability to play independently for hours.
So now I'm on the mat ~3 hours most weeks, and it's great!