One of the great things about the Indy Aikikai is the amazing people who practice. I am going to be spotlighting some of our members over time so you can learn more about them.
Did you know you can practice aikido at the age of 61 and take your first black belt test when you are 70? Nine years and 60 pounds later we’ll see Frank Moman earn his black belt this June!
I had the pleasure of visiting Frank in his beautiful office at Ivy Tech where he is the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. He has beautiful drawings from his hometown in Kentucky, including the “hospital house” in which he was born. Notable too, is a cement block with a gold placard. Turns out this was one of Frank’s tools he used to train people while he served in the U.S. Army. If people wanted an extra challenge while swimming he’d throw them this cement block!
Frank came to aikido when another dojo member, TJ McGovern, informed Frank about the art by sharing Richard Heckler’s book, In Search of the Warrior Spirit. It is the story of Heckler teaching aikido to Green Berets. Having spent 27 years in the army, this was a strong selling point to Frank.
Since then, Frank has been on the mat consistently for 9 years. He finds that aikido practice complements a couple of short stints with Judo and Karate very early in his life.
Frank likes aikido for the physical challenge as well as the community of people in the dojo. Frank reminded me how I smacked him once – got his attention, but didn’t deter him! He also enjoys the ethical aspect of the art that restrains the intent to kill.
I love hearing about other people’s training insights. Frank shared with me that he uses an imaginary box when he is practicing freestyle. He “places” the box over his practice partner’s torso and visualizes moving corners of that box. Frank also enjoys pursuing that elusive feeling of doing a technique which just gently drops a person in the black hole such that and s/he doesn’t even know what happened.
On the personal side, Frank has been married to Debbie for 47 years. I know Debbie knows how to ‘move with’ Frank because they’ve moved 20 times in 27 years! They have a lovely family of 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
Next time you see Frank, ask him about his time in the armed services. It’s pretty impressive. Good luck smacking him though!
Once Frank retires from Ivy Tech, it will be interesting to learn what he plans to do with that cement block! I’m going to keep my eyes wide open in case he throws it to me!!