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I'm back into training and the classes have been really good. I came out of last Thursday's class feeling initially somewhat frustrated, but eventually very humbled. We were working on some things that, while not simple or basic, I've been working on almost since the first day I started training. Things like tenchinage and kokyodosa. I was getting a lot of specific, clear, and useful pointers from our instructor on the more subtle aspects of performing those techniques.
I'm sure part of what frustrated me was that I was a bit rusty from being out of practice. But that was only part of it. More frustrating was that the corrections from my sensei were small and subtle, but they changed my whole way of performing the technique. I came out of the class thinking that after more than four years of training, I knew almost nothing.
Frustrated is probably not the best way to describe how I felt. I was more disappointed in my own ability than frustrated. I easily recognized the value of my instructor's corrections of my technique, I was simply disappointed that I needed so much correction.
Upon more sober reflection on the 40-minute drive home, I realized a few things: (1) I really am pretty rusty from not practicing, (2) just because I was able to satisfactorily perform a technique for a rank test, that does not mean I don't need to work on improving that technique, (3) I've learned enough of the basics now that I can start to concentrate on the more subtle aspects of technique, and (4) four years isn't really that long a time to be studying.
The end result was that I e-mailed my instructor and thanked him for an excellent class. It was good to be taken down a peg or two, and it was especially good that it happened through some very positive and useful instruction.
One final note, it has been right around a year since I started this journal, and I've averaged just over one post per week. Not too bad.