Life is full of small miracles. Some people like to call them “coincidences”, but I think that “small miracles” is a much more fitting term.
For me, Aikido has been a life-changing journey that has shaped me as a martial artist as well as a person, and has heavily influenced how I see the world. This journey began as a series of small miracles that set my aikido career in motion.
It started back in 1971 in Oklahoma City. I was broke, demoralized, and staying with someone else’s grandmother because I couldn’t afford a place to live. Eventually, I was able to find a job within walking distance. Finally, I had a steady paycheck and even made some new friends – Curtis and Tim, who would remain my friends for years to come.
A few years later, in the mid-1970s, I went through a program called “Silva Mind Control”. This is when I began thinking about energy flow and how it influences our lives. During this time, we had weekly meetings with several other people. One of these people was a woman who had a husband, Carl, who was heavily into judo. Carl was more interested in martial arts than metaphysics, so we seldom saw him, but he occasionally joined us.
In 1977, I left Oklahoma City and moved to Tulsa for a couple of years. During that time, I worked a couple of different jobs, often struggling to get by. Eventually, Curtis – one of the friends from my OKC job in 1971 – had become a real estate agent, and offered me the opportunity to buy a house with our mutual friend Tim. Even better, my company in Tulsa just happened to have an opening in the OKC area, and they allowed me to transfer.
By February 1979, with a job and a place to live, I was no longer struggling to get by. However, I was out of shape and needed something to help me stay active. I was particularly interested in a martial art on TV called “tai chi”. Despite spending the summer looking for a tai chi class, the art was relatively unknown in the U.S. in the late 1970s and there were no classes anywhere. Not only that, it seemed like very few people had even heard of tai chi at that point in time.
During early September of 1979, I was perusing through a bookstore and spotted Carl – the husband of my friend from the Silva group. We hadn’t spoken in years but, surprisingly, he remembered me. Remembering his interest in judo, I asked him if he knew of a tai chi class. He replied that he did not, but that he was starting an aikido class two days later, that next Thursday, and it would take place in a meditation center only 5 blocks – walking distance – from my house.
On September 6th, 1979, I took the first step in my decades-long journey into the world of aikido.
Where are the miracles? If I had not become involved in Silva Mind Control, I never would have met Carl. If I hadn’t gotten a job and met Curtis, I would not have been able to transfer back to Oklahoma City. If I hadn’t been able to transfer back to OKC, Carl and I wouldn’t have run into each other years later at the bookstore. If I hadn’t been searching for a tai chi class, Carl wouldn’t have told me about the aikido class starting up. If any one of these hadn’t happened, my life would be completely different and I would have missed out on this aikido journey.
Aikido studies motion patterns and the energy of movement. If you look at this story, you will see a pattern that began in the early 1970s and completed a circle in 1979. Decades later, aikido is still a central part of my life – one that I enjoy and learn more about with each passing day.