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Castle Rock AIKIDO
Traditional Japanese Martial Arts for Adults
Aikido Student Featurette: Mike VanSickle
natural choice."  He is a chemist for the Food and Drug Administration, analyzing foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to ensure they meet requirements.  Mike's martial arts experience is rather diverse.  "I started my martial arts training very informally learning a few things from my Dad, who had studied Hwa Rang Do; and with a friend’s family who was kind enough to allow me to train with them. My high school physics teacher introduced me to Aikido, and I trained at McHenry County Aikikai under the late Jeff Clayton Sensei and Terry Leonard Sensei for about two years before graduating high school.  

At Western Illinois University, I was fortunate to train in Chung Do Moo Sool Wan, a traditional Korean art under Master Paul Holder for a semester before I left school for active duty. I also had the opportunity to train with the founder of Dykemjuka, a mixed Kempo-Jujitsu style, Vince Dy for about a year while I was at Ft. Campbell Kentucky. 

After leaving active duty, I went to Southern Illinois University, where I returned to Aikido for about 18 months under Karen Gallelgy Sensei, Rob Gallegly Sensei and Randy Greer Sensei. I also wrestled in junior high and high school, and received a great deal of training and experience as Infantry and Military Police with both close-quarters combatives and law-enforcement style tactics and techniques."
"I get so much out of Aikido that it can be hard to express!  I enjoy Aikido’s focus on the controlling of self and maintaining balance. These are simple things that can be applied to every area of your life. Trying to stay calm and relaxed, even in the most stressful of situations. Not trying to ‘force’ or ‘muscle’ your way through things. To be unyielding yet fluid; these are probably the biggest things I get from Aikido. 

"The philosophy is one of the things that draw me back to Aikido time and time again. Aikido has the ability to be as nice or as not-so-nice as the situation requires; and I strive to live that. The world exists in shades of grey; you, and your Aikido, should match."
Michael Van Sickle has been a member of Castle Rock AIKIDO for about a year now.  Mike grew up outside Chicago. He spent seven years at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in the military before moving back to southern Illinois to go to college.  After graduating, he and his wife, Jen, moved to Castle Rock and have been here for almost three years now. "We both enjoy the outdoors, so Colorado was a
When asked what advice Mike would you offer to someone just starting out in Aikido class, Mike says, "Relax. I have studied lots of martial arts for lots of years, and still struggle with the desire to get the technique exactly right. Start your struggle now, relax, and try to ‘feel’ the technique, instead of ‘thinking’ about what you’re trying to do. Let it flow! And remember: once upon a time, even O Sensei sat in your shoes, didn’t know anything, and was just trying to get it ‘right’… Don’t rush it, it will come!"

Mike's energy, enthusiasm, sense of humor and etiquette are positively contagious at the dojo and he is always a pleasure to train with. 

RIGHT: Mike practices a version of Irimi-nage on Castle Rock AIKIDO instructor, JD Paul Sensei.