Yondan (4th degree black belt)
I started training aikido in 1980 in Hawaii under Sadao Yoshioka Shihan and Ralph Glanstein Sensei. I feel very blessed to have had these two great but very different Sensei to learn from. I believe the meshing of their two styles was a wonderful balance for my own development.
In 1988 I was promoted to the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt) and visited Japan for the first time with Yoshioka Sensei and 10 other aikidoists from Hawaii to attend the International Aikido Congress and the unveiling of the statue of O-Sensei, aikido’s founder, in his hometown of Tanabe. This experience was a catalyst for many more visits to Japan and training at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. I was fortunate to train there with Doshu and most of the Hombu Shihan and also to develop many wonderful relationships that have continued over the years when visiting Japan and also when Sensei from Japan visited us in Hawaii.
In 2002, I moved back to my home state of Indiana and found a wonderful group of people to train with at the Indianapolis Aikikai.
To me, and I know the same is true for many people, aikido is more than just a martial art. It is a part of my personal philosophy of life and as such something I try to practice in my daily. However, we should not forget aikido is also an effective and even deadly martial art. It should be practiced very seriously, carefully, and thoughtfully. At the same time training should be enjoyable and fun. If practiced with the correct balance of seriousness, safety, and fun, we can enjoy aikido training for a lifetime and at almost any age.