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I made a quick exit from work at 4:45 so I could make it to the dojo in time for the 5:45 beginners class with Toyoda Sensei. More mae ukemi roll practice, which is great because they are starting to get a little faster and a little easier for me. I'm able to somewhat do them from standing, but if I hesitate in the least I end up rolling as smooth as a flat tire...thumpa-thumpa-thump.
I decided to stay for the mixed rank class at 7 with Parks-Casey Sensei, but it turned out that another teacher, a long-time student of Toyoda Shihan, was going to teach our class. We did katatekosatori kokyunage with the head throws and some kotegaeshi as well. At that point we switched to something with iriminage and a serious throw.
One of the uchideshi gave me a good yank and a good throw and I flew into a roll and bounced back up to standing like nothing happened. He and I both had an expression of suprise because neither of us heard a thing, which meant the roll was good and I actually seemed to do it properly.
It was a breakthrough, but there's still so much more work to do.
I realized that during ukemi, if you can do it in one long exhale and totally relax, the fall/roll/etc. works so much better. I really felt like I was extending ki properly and letting the movements just happen. It felt right.
I was so energized after that, so I stayed for a third hour of training. It was going to be a bokken class, which I had never done before. A few of the kenshusei students showed me how to choose and hold the bokken, so we all lined up and class began.
It wasn't until maybe ten minutes into practice from chudan no kamae to jodan no kamae that I learned about some new arm muscles I apparently have never used before. My forearms were white hot, but I did my best to stick with it.
At the end of class I was exhausted. My tee shirt was transparent with perspiration, my face was dripping wet, but I must have been beaming like an idiot because both teachers commented on how happy I looked.
Myself, a few students, and Toyoda Sensei stopped in at the bar just next door for a beer and a bite to eat. It was nice to trade stories about Aikido with everyone and just relax in the cool Chicago evening air, although in the back of my mind a long hot soak in a tub full of epsom salts very nearly kept me from hanging out with everyone. Eventually I made it home to soak, but tonight I need to take a break. No classes for me. Time to heal.