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Well, last night I was finally able to get back on the mat after my recent shoulder injury. I was talking to Mary about my injury, and she mentioned that some people will put a cross of tape on an injured joint to let their training partners know of an injury and to take it easy. Had I known about that little trick, I may have been able to return to the mat a little earlier, but I still only missed a week of practice due to the injury, and I think the time off helped it heal much faster then it would have if I had pushed it a little too hard. During the time off, I still attended a couple of training sessions just to watch and come away with as much as possible from the experience. I have been going over my rolls in my mind for the past week, and the mental imagery appears to have really paid off. I have noticed a significant amount of progress in my forward rolls since the last time I was on the mat. I was able to perform most of my rolls without my arms giving out on me, unlike last time, when I kept coming down rather hard on my shoulders because of my arms collapsing part way through the roll (come to think of it, that may have been a contributing factor in my shoulder injury. I still haven't figured out the exact cause yet). All week, whenever I've had a free moment of time, I've been mentally performing my forward rolls, trying to imagine the "unbendable arm" as I was thinking about them and wouldn't you know....it appears to have really helped. My back rolls also seemed to have improved a bit. I've been pretty happy with my back rolls for some time now, but last night, they seemed to come with almost no thought, and I was able to do so many in rapid succession, that I was often dizzy when I reached the far end of the mat. That may be something I need to work on, but I've often heard many of the more advanced students mentioning a dizzy feeling after doing the rolls, so perhaps it's only natural. I'll have to remember to ask Richard Sensei when I go to practice on Saturday. Maybe he'll have some trick or suggestion to at least minimize the dizziness.
All in all, it was a pretty good practice. Mary asked Sensei if we could work on katatedory shihonage to help her prepare for an upcoming kyu test. It was good practice as the only shihonage I've had the chance to perform up till now was from aidori. We also had a new student join the class last night (Daniel) which means that there are now two people newer than me in the dojo According to my calendar, next Wednesday should be my last day of the intro course, and I should be ready to start attending the general classes! It may be a little difficult to adjust my schedule, but with the great feeling I always have when leaving the dojo, I have a feeling it will be a welcome change. More time on the mat is a good thing!