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Last night I arrived at the dojo at 5:15. Many of the kenshusei were milling about, getting ready to travel to one of the other AAA dojo's, the Burbank one I think. I began to get a little excited because no one was there except myself and them, which meant I would possibly have a private lesson with Erickson Sensei.
But, in due time, another student from my six week intro course came in and we began class. After a series of warmups, the kenshusei's ride happened to arrive, so they left the dojo and the three of us alone.
We began with *wince* breakfall practice. Sensei had us lie on the floor and practice slapping and positioning ourselves in the proper way. My shoulders aren't used to landing like that, so this is going to be a big hurdle for me. I could manage the slapping with the arm and the opposite food coming down flat, but that shoulder land is going to be a big thing to get over.
After flopping around like dead fish for a while and landing painfully several times, Erickson Sensei asked us what we wanted to work on next. I chose katatekosatori kokyunage, the other student chose katatori ikkyo.
By this time we were all pretty sweaty, and since both of us were only in tee shirts and sweatpants, we were soaked through. I didn't relish the though of placing another persons' head directly on my sweaty shirt, nor did I look forward to being smashed against someone elses' sweaty shirt, but we got through it.
In fact, ten minutes into it we were working VERY hard at a VERY rapid pace. One of us would play nage to two uke's (one was Erickson Sensei) then we'd switch, then again, and again, and again. It was all happening so fast and so furious that for a moment the dojo seemed very quiet to me. I was only focusing on my footwork, gliding through the movements, feeling very heavy the entire time. It took a booming "Yame!" from Sensei to bring me out of that trance.
It felt right.
Then onto the katatori ikkyo with pin. Again, no dogi, so we had sweaty shirts to deal with. Having two uke was good because I learned how to pin both a flexible and a not-so-flexible person. We finished with that technique and ended that class.
A yellow belt joined us for weapons, and I had my second bokken class. Now I have to admit, bokken is really REALLY fun. I kept imagining all the swordplay in Kill Bill, but we were moving at snail's pace so it wasn't flashy. In fact, moving very slowly was sort of meditative. It also lit my forearms on fire like never before. While bowing at the end of class I felt like I had two fires burning at my sides.
The final class was a six week intro which was more of a cool-down for me than anything. It was nice to work through some basic movements slowly. It's also fun to work with people who have only been on the mats a couple times. They are full of smiles when they learn something new. Watching and helping them learn ukemi is teaching me more and more about blending and extending my ki.
It's also fascinating to see how far I've come in the last two months. I know there is a lifetime of learning ahead of me, but to see the progress in myself is satisfying.
I just checked the fedex tracking number that bu jin sent me. My dogi is in the building! No more tee and sweats for me on the mats.