Hello to everyone at Aikiweb!
My name is William M. Reed, I go by Bill, and I am NOT the same William Reed that writes books on Aikido -- not yet, anyway.
I should have joined the list several years ago, but never really had anything worthwhile to say. Actually, I still don't, but I was trying to contact some former aikido friends through the list, and couldn't until I joined.
I have studied Aikido for more than 16 years, though the last several years have been pretty sporadic. Having two children and a wife at home has pushed my aikido to the bottom of priorities fro some time. Except for teaching the children's class at my dojo for the past 10 years or so, I've been mostly a once a week practicer (practitioner? -- whatever).
That all changed a few weeks ago when the senior instructor at my dojo told me it was about time that I get my Shodan test over with.
<cue flashback graphics and sound effects>
I had been coasting along pretty much below radar until two years ago at a seminar. Ikeda Sensei was at our dojo (Columbus Aikikai), and our sensei, Frank Hreha, began to study me. Hreha Sensei has been traveling for the last several years, since he retired from his full-time job. He hadn't been to the dojo in some time.
At a break he strolled over the look at the wall where the students' names and ranks are displayed. He looked back at me, and then at the wall. "Second kyu, Sensei," I offered. He frowned and shook his head, walking away.
"Oh great," I thought. "I'm going to get a reprimand for dragging my behind, instead of training more often."
Imagine my surprise the following day when he approached and said instead, "Congratulations."
"For what?" I asked.
"You're 1st kyu."
"Really?! Thank you, Sensei!"
<return to real time, present day>
Little did I know at the time that the promotion would put it into peoples' minds that I should now move on to being Shodan. So here I am less than a week away from my Shodan test, nervous in many ways, but knowing that really, it's all good. Worst case scenario: I fail and Ikeda Sensei tells me exactly what I need to fix before I test again.
So, send me some ki next Sunday, if you have any to spare.
I look forward to chatting with you all on the list!