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Most Influential Person

Most Influential Person

My mentor is Sensei Faust who is my Aikido teacher. He is a 7th Dan black belt (Shihan), and he is one of the top ranked people in the world. He is also the very top ranked African-American Aikidoist in the United States Aikido Federation. He even holds rank in Karate, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do. He has trained and taught here and in Japan. He teaches in clubs at RPI, he teaches home-schoolers, and he teaches at youth charities. He is also a veteran. He has inspired me by being the most accomplished person I know and made me want to try to get a rank higher than his and learn as much as I can.

When I first started it was for fun because I was only 5 or 6, but now I practice to learn to defend myself. He is hard on everyone in his class but he always makes sure we get it right. He is extremely persistent and never stops practicing himself. Learning Aikido under him taught me how to commit to something. I have been doing Aikido for 8 years now and am 5th kyu, meaning I am 5 tests away from black belt. I am one of the only two people to go through the entirety of the children’s class and graduate to the adult class. Everybody else either dropped out or stayed in the children’s class. Me and the other person are also the only kids in the adult class. Usually people at my rank are in their 30s-40s. I owe this entirely to my dad and Sensei Faust. He has been practicing so long it can be measured in decades. More than four to be exact. Plus, he is a part of the direct teaching lineage of the inventor of Aikido.

I recently tested for 5th kyu and made it through with a combination of his and my dad’s teaching and encouragement. When I was 6th kyu (the numbers go down as you get higher rank) he made sure that I worked on all of the techniques until I got them all to a degree where they wouldn’t be forgotten after the test. I am currently working towards 4th kyu and plan to get to black belt within the next few years. I will be a role model in the future by taking on some of Sensei’s traits. I will also teach at the dojo, hopefully with others I know. I will teach in a way that people will learn and remember to defend themselves. I will pass on his persistence to others. I will make sure I don’t stop practicing until I can’t anymore. I will also take these traits into my regular life. I know that he will definitely leave a permanent effect on my life and many others of multiple generations.

Nahjiim Engram

Albany Aikido

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