I took an interest in the martial arts at an early age growing up since I was athletic in school playing sports and seeing other martial artists in movies and on TV. I played baseball, basketball, and one year of football in elementary school and continued playing basketball and baseball in High School. My first exposure to the martial arts was when I began training in Goju-Ryu Karate that later led me to studying Kempo Karate and the internal art of Tai Chi.

In 1993, I saw this person doing a martial art that I had never seen before and he was doing amazing things with very little effort and at that point I knew I wanted to study his style of martial art, so in 1997 I began studying Kodokan Aikido under the instruction of Truman Capone Sensei located in Blacksburg, VA and have been under his teaching ever since.

Although I have been studying the physical side of Aikido for several years it was in 2005 that I discovered the healing and spiritual aspect of Aikido. In that year, I had some personal hardships and a severe injury that required surgery and physical therapy. However, over time and through meditation I found peace mentally, spiritually, physically, and accepted everything that happened. In 2007 I returned to Aikido training after recovering from my injury and tested for my Shodan (1st degree black belt) which I passed.

Aikido has truly blessed my life in so many ways. It has given me the opportunity to travel and train with various Sensei’s and Shihan’s. Through these various traveling and training opportunities I have had experiences with people from all over the world and made lifelong friendships that I would have never had without Aikido.

Chris Thornton currently holds the rank of San dan (black belt, third degree).