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The Western Circle of Swordfighters found me in the beginning of 2012, just a few months after I had had a devastating back injury that had literally crushed one of my lower vertebrae. Several other more personal and psychological disasters had also just recently transpired and though I was beyond excited to find this group I was of the mind that I should wait until later to begin any actual training. Head Kaiden (Kenjutsu Instructor) Gad thought otherwise and convinced me to begin immediately, assuring me that he would be in constant control of training and would limit any activity which may be dangerous in my condition. Following his advice here may have been one of the best decisions I ever made. I was assigned to Kaiden Vea as her first student and began training immediately. While some minor injuries did come my back was never one of them and has only become stronger since this time, as have I.

My interest in the sword itself and the way of the warrior is something I have had as long as I can remember. As a child and teenager I was always fascinated by stories of warriors, battles, and quests fraught with peril. I was an avid reader and most of my books featured sword wielding hero's, as did the games I played and the stories I made up myself. I had found Homer, the poet, at roughly eleven years of age and though it took several tries I read his works and have ever since been inspired by them. I can honestly say the plight of Odysseus helped me through some very rough times as a young adult. It was not the sword though that drew me to the Western Circle, even if that was what prompted my initial meeting. Immediately evident in this group was something I had been seeking for quite some time, it was a different way to be, to be proud and able without being cocky or a braggart. It was the sense of respect this group had for their teachers and the return of that respect from the teachers to the students. It was an environment where one was expected to strive for more and where accountability would be expected and enforced in a manor which I was able to keep up with. It showed me that there was a way out of the hole that I had found myself in.

In the Western Circle I have found people that I may never have got to know had I not been forced to face them in combat, to know that my choices and actions could result in their injury, a punishment far worse than injury to oneself. I found so many people worthy of respect and even admiration, all willing to give me their time for almost any question I might have. I have found a brotherhood in the other students, those near my own level, who push me to always get better, as I know they will and I will again have to face them. Mostly I have found what truly looks like a type of family, one were all are accepted so long as they are striving for more. I do hope this will be a lifelong journey I take with them and I hope that of every one of my fellow swordfighters.

About myself; I am now thirty eight years of age. I grew up in the east bay area of California, between Pleasanton and Martinez with probably a dozen or so residences in between. I was married for twelve years to a woman I met while serving in the US Army, although I am not anymore. I feel I am a student at heart and have always sought out those willing to teach me any skill I feel I can make use of. I spent many years at various community colleges taking every class that peaked my interest (this was greatly aided by my receiving the GI Bill for my service) and studied things like mathematics, physics, engineering, and electronics along with minor studies in a wide variety of other classes. I am a skilled carpenter, cabinet and furniture maker, and all around fabricator. In the military I worked as a satellite equipment operator and maintainer, I was eventually discharged for my inability to pass the Army Physical Fitness test, although I had served four years already at this point. I did not become athletic in any sense until I was nearly thirty years old. At that time I had found a love for snowboarding and backcountry hiking and between these two I quickly improved my physical condition immensely from the very sorry state it had been. At that time I found an instructor to teach me the art of Wing Chun, a Chinese martial art I had long been interested in, and since then have made every possible activity into some type of practice in this art, though since I began training Kenjutsu I rarely make it to these classes.

Within the Western Circle of Swordfighters I am currently at the rank of White Rope (L3) and train with the katana as my primary weapon. It is my intention to keep this primary weapon until I feel I have attained a skill in its use which would honor those who truly dedicated their lives to this weapon and died with it in their hands. I would like to follow up my katana training in the future with the traditional weapons of Wing Chun which are the butterfly swords and the dragon pole. At this point I have fought in over a thousand armored sparring matches, at least a hundred or more melee's, a variety of scenario based battles and even a few SCA wars with over a thousand armored combatants. I have broken one ankle and swollen a few fingers. I feel my ability progressing constantly and this has transferred to many real world skills; I am rarely snuck up upon successfully, I often react without thinking in ways to protect myself or those around me and even my skill in many non-related sports has dramatically increased. In addition to these increased skills I also find that the horizon I see for myself in the future continues to grow higher and higher, with no end in sight. Thank you for reading this short biography of me.