Born in Chicago and refined in Brooklyn, Darryl Aiken-Afam has over 25 years experience in the fitness, movement, healing and martial arts worlds. His earliest formal training began in the art of Tae Kwon Do at the age of 10, and throughout his high school years he was on both the track and footballs teams. In his early 20s he began studying Shotokan Karate and then Muay Thai kickboxing training to become amateur fighter.
During this time he became an ACE Certified Trainer, teaching at every major health club in NYC including Equinox and Chelsea Piers while also studying Capoeira, Kali (Stick fighting), and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Training and teaching rigorously for so many years brought Darryl to a point of physical and mental exhaustion coupled with many injuries. This led him to become a practitioner of the healing arts studying Shiatsu, Okyu (Japanese Moxa) and other forms of holistic bodywork along with Oriental Medicine Philosophy in the US and Japan. This new healing path led him to create Meridian Touch in the year 2000.
Darryl then formulated Meridian Touch into a Effortless Yoga and Sports Yoga version. The latter has been used by many NCAA BIG TEN varsity teams at Northwestern University and at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as by Haley Johnson, 2010 US Winter Olympic Biathlete. He is an active lecturer on Oriental Medicine & Movement and Meridian Exercise theory, and has spoken at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Kinesiology Department, and also at various training, fitness and dance centers in the US and abroad.
~One of my main ongoing projects is my Meridian Touch book. Trust me, it’s still coming and will be worth more than the wait! This book will really surprise you. Also I have heavyweight writer, author, music critic, and activist Stanley Crouch in my corner guiding me in the writing of the book and kicking my ass to get it finished. For those of you that may not know Mr. Crouch, you may recognize him from his associations with Jazz At Lincoln Center Director and legendary jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, and acclaimed documentary film maker Ken Burns. Learn more about Stanley here.
~As a part of his off season conditioning I am training Mr. Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees in both arts of Muay Thai Kickboxing and Meridian Touch Sports Yoga. He’s getting the best of both worlds; a highly effective martial art that features some of the best conditioning you can find, plus the art of Meridian Touch which helps him to recover and heal up from all of his training endeavors, including those of Mr Nick Zostautas, head Strength and Conditioning coach at the University of Illinois Chicago. This helps him to stay at peak performance levels while reducing the chance of injuries. Curtis Granderson
~The Meridian Touch Group is continuing this year to work with legendary drummer, producer, activist, and leader of the Roots, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Here’s a video snippet from the Hulu online show. “A Day In The Life” featuring Ahmir, myself, and Chef Ardenia Brown of The Meridian Touch Group. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Darryl Aiken-Afam
~I’m gearing up for training the University of Illinois Flames men’s basketball, Women’s Softball, and UIC Flames cheerleader squad in Meridian Touch for 2013. We have had great success in starting of the men’s basketball fall 2012 season assisting them in obtaining the best starting season they’ve had since 2003. Chicago based Meridian Touch instructors Jennifer O’Hara and Jonathan Knipping will be instrumental in assisting training these teams.
2010 Winter Olympics – I assisted Women’s Biathlon Competitor, Haley Johnson by training her in Meridian Touch during the 2010 Winter Olympics and also training her while she was doing her qualifying competitions in Europe in late 2009.
2010 Northwestern University – The Meridian Touch team and I trained the NU Varsity Men’s Crew Team for the 4th year in a row.
2010 Team Dream Triathlon Team Chicago and New Jersey – Introduced Meridian Touch Sports Yoga to the female athletes of Team Dream Women of Color Triathlon Club to teach them how to relax their bodies and minds and manage their pain for their triathlon competitions.
2010 University of Chicago Lab School – Apex Training and Wellness
The Meridian Touch Team and I introduced Meridian Touch to the young male and female athletes of the Lab School at the invitation of Apex Training and Wellness owner Chris Harper.
2009 University of Illinois at Chicago – I trained all of the competitive sports teams at UIC in Meridian Touch Sports Yoga in the Fall of 2009 at the request of the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Nick Zostatus.
Studio Experience ~ Personal Training, Group Fitness, Lecturing
Chelsea Piers, Equinox NYC & Chicago, David Barton Gym, Crunch NYC & Chicago, Clay, Oval Fitness, Djoniba Dance & Drum Studio, Plus One Fitness, Reebok Club NYC, Body Elite Gym, Evanston Athletic Club, Northwestern University, Athletic & Swim Club, Holmes Place Chicago, Duomo Gym, Revolution Studio, Embora Movement Studio, The University of Illinois Chicago, Profile Fitness, Sacred Brooklyn.
Martial Arts experience
Shotokan Karate, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kali, Abada Capoeira,
Satellite Member of the Chicago Fight Team MMA School
Eastern Medicine Training
Ohashi Institute New York City
The Iokai Shiatsu Center Tokyo Japan (2002, 2004)
Mentor Training under Eastern Medicine Master Instructors~
Stephen Brown, L.Ac. Meridian Therapy, and Dr. Tony Zayner, L.Ac TCM (2003-Present)
A.A.S. – CAD/Design Engineering, NYC College of Technology (1988)
B.S. – Business Psychology, Penn State University (2015)
M.S. – Sports Psychology, The Chicago School of Psychology (expected 2016)