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When your toes go numb and all you can pray for is a technique that involves some rolling ukemi, you know it's wintertime in the dojo. Tuesday evening it was something like 12F(-11C) outside and the mats could have frozen a pizza if you would have laid it in front of the shomen. But after training in 100F(37C) heat, I have to say I enjoy the cold so much more. Toyoda Sensei put it best "In the winter, you can train and warm yourself up. I'll take winter training over the summer any day."
The beginners class I attended was really good. One of the gentlemen is coming along quite well. It's amazing to watch what can happen in six weeks. There is also a brand new student on the mats who lived in Japan as an English teacher. I look forward to speaking loads of Japanese with her.
We did some ma-ai practice and lots of ikkyo with a bit if nikkyo. Nikkyo is so sensitive, you have to get it just right and it works like a charm. Otherwise it seems to have very little effect. I like the challenge of it and I'm looking forward to working on it more because katatori nikkyo is on my next exam...whenever that will be.
Class two was with Parks-Casey Sensei and because we were cold, we did LOTS of rolls and throwing from katatekosatori and ryotetori. There was a healthy dose of ryotetori tenchinage thrown in, which I have still yet to get right as uke or nage. It wasn't until half-way in that class, nearly an hour and a half after beginng to train that day, that I felt warm and the cold mats didn't bother me as much.
My weapons don't have a case, and I wasn't going to take them out in the elements, so I didn't bring them for weapons class. I'm on a mission to buy a case as soon as possible. We focused on jo, doing the basic strikes quite a bit. Then we moved on to the first two kumijo, which boggled my mind. Paired forms are difficult for me because I forget who is who. When I'm supposed to be tsuking, I'm blocking. Or when I'm supposed to counter, I lose concentration. I know these are very advanced (something like sandan) but they are beautiful to watch and I really want to do them well. They just need more work, and I have the time so we'll see.
I disliked the jo when I first started weapons classes. I think it was because I was so bad at the ukemi from jo nage. But now I see the real power of the staff. It's so flexible. There are countless variations on any technique you can think of. And a tiny movement in the jo can turn into a great wave of power that you can direct in any manner.
To Bu-jin or not to Bu-jin. The cases are beautiful. But it's Christmas time and I shouldn't buy myself TOO many presents. Maybe at the turn of the year...