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Mike started Aikido with Bill Lee (Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, Rod Kobayashi Shihan), in Austin, Texas, in the 1970s. After moving to Seattle, Mike studied in the mid-1980s with Andy Dale at his Phinney Ridge dojo. He resumed Aikido practice shortly after Dale founded the Xin Qi Shen dojo in the late 1990s, and received his shodan in 2000 from Andy Dale and John Kanetomi. Andy Dale awarded Mike his nidan in 2006, his sandan in 2008 and his yondan in 2014.
“Before I started Aikido, my Karate instructor said that practicing Aikido would make me less jerky. I'm still working on that.” — Mike Ullmann