One-Handed Aikido – OHS039

Earning first degree black belt in the martial art of Aikido was a great accomplishment and milestone in my life. The only thing more fantastic was earning third degree black belt in Aikido. I grew up watching “Kung-Fu Theater” after Saturday morning cartoons would end. It was a four hour block of the most insanely crazy Kung Fu I had ever witnessed. Watching Shaolin Monks flying threw the air and laying down funky techniques with the timing of the voices offset to the movements of the mouths made an impression on me. Adding more power to the punch was seeing Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris on what seemed like every TV channel living the life of a martial art superstar. I grew up loving to watch the martial arts. It was not until my mid twenties I actually got on a mat for the first time.

I started doing Aikido in 1997 when I first moved to Boise, Idaho. From the first day I got onto the mat and started training I fell in love. There were so many great qualities I connected with in Aikido. The redirection of energy and momentum. The deep Japanese cultural overtone and the relationship to Samurai and swords. But mostly I appreciated the idea that conflict, even physical conflict, can be dissolved or redirected into a harmonious beneficial state. It was about utilizing intensity without cultivating aggression by using your attacker’s movements. I just loved it.

At a seminar in Oregon my Sensei told me to tell him when I was eligible to test for third degree black belt. On a different day at another seminar in California I told him I was now eligible to test for my next rank. For longer than felt comfortable to me he did not move a muscle. Then he said in a very fast short voice, “OK!” Months went by before I found myself at his dojo in Boulder City, Colorado practicing and training. I said to him I would be in Seattle next month for his seminar at West Seattle Aikikai. He asked me if I was bringing any of my students. I said I would be bringing five teenagers who were all getting close to testing for black belt. He said, “Very good you have so many students coming with you AlejAndro because you will be testing for Sandan!” This podcast tells the story of how I came up the ranks in Aikido and earned third degree black belt.

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Show Notes:

  • Trials and tribulations of moving up the ranks in the martial arts.
  • Earning my first degree and third degree black belts in Aikido.
  • The California Aikido Association and Aikido Schools of Ueshiba.
  • How having one hand and three black belts inspires children and adults.
  • What I learned living this one-handed life and how I share that with people.


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