I meet Sensei Freeman in 2000 and started to train in Aikido at Three Rivers over the holidays of 2000-2001. My training in Aikido grew from 2 hours a week to 4 hours a week by 2002. By 2003 my training went to 6 hours a week in Sensei Freeman's classess. Two of those hours a week in 2003- 2004 where in the morning one on one with Sensei Freeman. I started to instruct on Monday nights as a substitute instructor in 2004. By 2005 I changed nights with Sempai Dan Woods and became the permanent instructor for the Tuesday night 2 hour adult class. I continued in those early years to train with my teacher “Freeman Sensei” for four hours a week. In 2008 Freeman Sensei passed on to me the responsibility of Shodan on my 54th birthday with his teachers blessing, Take Sensei Steven Seagal.
Today in 2011 I still have the privilege to be the instructor for the Tuesday night adult class at Three Rivers Aikido. I still train in my teacher’s class no less than four to six hours a week. With the blessing of my teacher and his teacher I am also the head instructor of a Three Rivers Aikido satellite dojo named Shin-Gane Aikido that started in 2009. I instruct there two hours every Wednesday night. Since I have started in Aikido I have worked up to an average of 8- 10 hours a week on the mat without ever running out of enthusiasm to learn and pass along Aikido.
Since I have started in Aikido I train 52 weeks of every year and I can count on one hand how many classes I have missed in my regular instructing and training schedule. I feel as an aikidoka and instructor I should keep my personal level of learning in my chosen martial art as fresh as I can. I am accomplishing this by spending the hours each week with my teacher, attending seminars and staying focused on all aspects of Aikido.
In all the years I have trained in Aikido, I have had to use my aikido in a real life situation only once, helping someone that could not help “protect” themselves from a group of very bad people. Aikido works and I firmly believe in this martial art.
-Mike Swederska Sr Shodan