As a bookish and not terribly physical kid, the idea of using someone else’s force against them to defeat an attack sounded amazing. I remember begging my parents to let me attend classes, but was told, “No, if you do martial arts, you’ll try to use it and get into fights.…” Martial arts would have to wait for me.
Toward the end of my freshman year of college, my girlfriend (now my wife) was hit by a car and thrown through an intersection, breaking her leg. As she recovered, she reflected on the jujutsu she’d done as a kid. She felt the ukemi (falling practice) she learned helped prevent further injury. As part of her physical and emotional recovery, she decided to look into jujutsu again. “No!” I said, “You should do Aikido! They have awesome pants!” She’d never heard of Aikido, but a few days later she saw a poster for an Aikido class, and she took it as a sign. I followed her a few months later. That was 1994, and in 1998, I was promoted to shodan (first degree black belt).
In early 1999, I was inspired to study in a dedicated sword school, and I researched the historical arts that gave rise to Aikido (judo, jujutsu, and aikijujutsu). Eventually, that training led me to groups that specifically studied the bodywork behind many martial arts (often referred to as “Internal Power”). Not long after that, I began training and teaching at Two Cranes Aikido, and, in 2002 I was promoted to Nidan (second degree black belt). I earned full teacher certifications in 2011, and in 2018 I was promoted to Senior Instructor of Icho Ryu Aiki-budo, which focuses on self-defense.