Finding myself entranced by the entirely surprising coincidence of power and grace that I saw exhibited in Aikido, I began training in this Japanese martial art in October of 1980. Our Martial Arts Center (MAC) in Raleigh, North Carolina was affiliated with Shihan Fumio Toyoda; I became an active member of his American Aikido Association, and frequently attended seminars with Toyoda Sensei at his dojo in Chicago.
Along with formal and traditional Aikido, I trained in defensive tactics (police tactics) and self-defense. I earned promotion to Shodan (first black-belt) in 1986, which I celebrated by making a trip to Japan, traveling with other aikidoka from NC, to meet and train with aikidoka there in Japan. When our MAC group opened a dojo in Chapel Hill, NC, I served as an assistant instructor, mostly with Ned Danieley as senior instructor. I was promoted to Nidan (2nd black-belt) in 1989, at which time I started a dojo at a Boys Club in Durham, NC, with Mark Hutchinson as my assistant instructor.
In 1991 I moved to Tucson, AZ and was active there at the independent Aikido of Tucson dojo, instructing there and participating in seminars throughout Arizona. Upon moving to Pullman, Washington in 1993 I became active with the Washington State University Aikido group, a.k.a. Palouse Aikido. During the fall semester 2002, in collaboration with Eric Wegner (another Aikido instructor) I began developing a self-defense course focused on the needs of college women. We have presented this self-defense course, originally called Balancing Freedom and Fear, many times since 2002 to variously constituted groups.
Following up on our co-instruction for women's self-defense, Eric Wegner and I began teaching Aikido together through the University of Idaho Community Enrichment program in the Fall Semester of 2003. When the UI Community Enrichment closed, we incorporated as Aikido of Moscow, LLLP and began teaching out of a local gym, the North Idaho Athletic Center in downtown NIAC. In the winter of 2012, when the NIAC decided to expand its own in-house programming, Aikido of Moscow moved to Moscow's 1912 Center.
Seminars are an important opportunity for intensive training. Over my thirty-some years in Aikido, I have attended seminars with many instructors, including Fumio Toyoda, Mitsugi Saotome, Hiroshi Ikeda, John Stevens, Frank Doran, Hiroaki Kobayashi, Ed Germanov, Ned Danieley, Christine Dyer, James Nakayama, Martin Katz, Andy Sato, Eiji Katsurada, and Julio Monell
During my years in Aikido I have been affiliated first with the Ki Aikido organization, then with the American Aikido Association and most recently with Aikido World Alliance. Aikido of Moscow is affiliated with Aikido World Alliance, Andrew Sato Sensei Chief Instructor, and through the AWA we are affiliated with the World Aikido Headquarters, or Hombu, in Tokyo, Japan. We also enjoy a close relationship with the other inland northwest AWA groups: Mountain Spirit Aikido in Helena, MT, Roque Wardell Sensei, and Roshinkan Dojo, James Landry Sensei. We also enjoy a warm relationship with Palouse Aikido in Pullman, Robert Ferguson Sensei.