The Beginning

Not just the beginning of our school, but the beginnings of Aikido, here in Jacksonville.

Posted below are a few pictures I found in the archives. Some background: The group shots were taken at Mark Spivak’s Institute and Dance Extension, from 1996 to 1998. Buck and Herve are training at the Jewish Community Alliance, also about 1998. These are some of our earliest students, pioneers really, helping to establish a new martial art in the Jacksonville area.

As always, my deepest gratitude to Dee, Mike, and Buck, who’ve kept the flame burning all these years.

It’s a debt I can never repay.

11 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. Love it!

    Buck and Herve were so skinnnny.
    Amazing how Dee never ages… we should throw her in the river and see if she floats. lol

  2. Some others, a few of whom I remember: Mike Forster, Alex, and Jen (of course).

    I never met Chris or Hiromi. Jason Wilhide is / was Waite Sensei’s student. Dee invited him to a seminar in May 1998 after meeting him at NYA.

    The dojo timeline really helped me to place these images, timewise.

  3. The Asian guy in the first picture to the right was named David. Stephanie Smoot is in the center of the second picture, a fellow landscape architect. Chris Rozett is shown throwing in the 5th picture.

    I weigh within 5 pounds today of what I did then. I think it’s the old haircut that makes me look skinnier [note to self]. As for Herve, he really IS skinnier.

  4. Jerry, I think you should post on your weight loss program and success. To lose 40 plus pounds in what, six months? That is laudable. I think the role of will power as you mentioned to me is perhaps the most important aspect of your success. It is almost certaily what fuels the diet industry: the desperate search for a system that does not rely on will power. But what sort of will power are you asking of yourself? Is it daily, hourly? Do you need to have a fixed goal in mind? Is it really mind over matter? Has Aikido training and discipline played a role in your mental conditioning? And conversely, has this exercise contributed to your on the mat discupline? What can others gain from your experience? Is there more to this than losing a few pounds? How much better do you feel now, phycially, mentally, spiritually?

    Jerry’s Aikido Weightloss Program is waiting to be published…

  5. 50 pounds to date.

    Will power is hourly, though I measure success in days. It really is a combination of diet and Aikido. You have to make deprivation and sacrifice your friends. And when I cheat, I have no qualms about it. I commit to cheating fully.

    Perhaps there is a connection to budo here.

  6. People everywhere are paying hundreds of dollars with the hope of losing twenty pounds, and failing. Meanwhile, armed only with a vague knowledge of nutrition and a crude formula of calories in less calories burned, you have dropped fifty.

    Budo is the warrior’s path of self control, leading to enlightenment. I doubt without your Aikido training and committment you would have had the discipline or motivation to reach your goal.

    Share your story.

  7. One person who is decidedly absent from all our archives is Mario. He was Chris’s number one uke in the early days and took a very nice breakfall, which at the time seemed magical to me.

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