On Writing: "The Aikido Student Manual"

When I first began putting together the framework for this book, my wife Theresa and I were training together in the back room of a Muay Thai school. Gratefully, the four years I spent training Muay Thai helped me build a relationship with Mehrdad Moayedi - the owner and chief instructor of the school. What struck me most was his similarity with my first Aikido teacher, Sensei Richard Stickles. Stickles Sensei and Mehrdad both had similar visions for the future they wanted to create - and both would pass away before realizing those visions.

Stickles Sensei w0uld often tell me of his dream to establish a true 'zen center' dojo where Aikido was practiced, his Tibetan Buddhist practices would be offered, and zoning would be split allow for multiple uchi-deshi at a time. In fact, he had sketches of the building he wanted to erect and would mention a plot of land down the street that he believed would be ideal. Mehrdad had a similar vision from the Muay Thai perspective. While he spent most of his time trying to build up a fighting circuit in the traditional Muay Thai world, he would often talk about his dream to build a 'monastery' to train martial artists and fighters. I would have to be foolish to miss the responsibility I have to do what I can to 'move the needle forward' on such a worthy goal.

As I completed the book: The Aikido Student Manual: A New Generation's Guide to Traditional Martial Arts, I realized who my audience truly was. It wasn't the wider population of Aikidoka or the entire population of traditional martial artists. It was, first and foremost, a gift to my students. A way for me to sum up, at this point in my martial arts journey, what it means to be a traditional martial artist. A way to light a fire or re-kindle a dying one and help my community keep their commitment and passion for this beautiful art we practice.