This is a summary of the Q&A Blog Series with some high ranking Aikido friends in the USAF & in Europe. My guests include: Andy Demko, 7th Dan, Shihan, USAF Technical Committee; Steve Pimsler, 7th Dan, Shihan, USAF Technical Committee; George Kennedy, 6th Dan, Shihan, Joe Nemeth, 6th Dan, Shihan, Dennis Main, 6th Dan, Shidoin and Michelle Feilen, 6th Dan.
Dojo Cho: “Why did you start training in Aikido?”
Demko Sensei: “I was always interested in martial arts from my early youth and have practiced and self-taught many methods. When I first saw an Aikido demonstration on television, I was enamored with the techniques and philosophy and I knew that was the art for me.”
Pimsler Sensei: “I thought it might help me be less of a klutz. Then I watched a class at the New York Aikikai; the energy was electric and everyone looked they were having a blast. I wanted to have fun, too.”
Kennedy Sensei: “I was committed to non-violence but did not want to be a victim. I needed a path that required self-discipline and engaged my mind and body as well as my spirit. I knew I would be practicing Aikido for the rest of my life the first time I saw it!”
Nemeth Sensei: “When I first saw Aikido, I was impressed with the fluidity and grace of the practitioners. The concept of soft power was appealing to me. I had practiced Judo for many years, and I felt that a change to Aikido could take me down a path that I could pursue for life.”
Main Sensei: “I was a jeweler in Grove City, PA, a small college town. The chief of police informed my partner and me of some known dangerous burglars in the area. We were encouraged to carry a concealed weapon. I decided that I should study self-defense. I found Aikido to be a perfect fit for me from the philosophical to the physical point of view.”
Feilen Sensei: “I started practicing Judo when I was 10 and stopped at the age of 18. At that time my mother was practicing bokken and her teacher was also an Aikido teacher. On Saturday afternoons she used to practice Aikido with a group of friends and she asked me for months to come and join the class. Finally, just to make her happy, I joined them…. and thought “well this is fun!”
Read more of the interview here…
Click Here to Watch Video of Aikido of Charlotte’s 2 Senior Instructors discussing Aikido, the dojo, etc.
by Jonathan Weiner
Aikido of Charlotte