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Hello my lovelies! Just had a strange sweet few moments that I thought I'd share.
Rosso (our director from Auckland) is apparently coming over to grade us on the last Sunday in November. *5* days before the wedding. Squee! So then the question comes up about if I'm ready for my 3rd Kyu test yet - my main sensei Paul leaves the judgement to another since between his absenses and my injuries he hadn't personally seen me train enough. And that other sensei who's watched me and watched over me for so long, says that I've put in the hours for sure, as in physically been there enough, but that sitting on the sidelines in the injured corner (knee - long story) wasn't enough.
Which is totally fair enough - except... I got this weird feeling he didn't mean something as simple as the hours put on the mat.
So I'm making a pact with myself. The grading's about a month away - I promised myself that I wouldn't let myself sit out anymore even if it hurt - that if it hurt that badly I'd need to find another way to do what I need to do. After all, you've got to be rather strict with yourself or else you get yourself into all sorts of trouble! JC, the other sensei, gifted me with a couple coaching comments about going slower. About being smoother as the focus but at a slower pace.
Hard to digest, this 'going slower' business. I just want to fly!!
I wrote Embedded Grit before, and the whole world's changed since, and the funny thing about the difference is that it's all been about deciding that the pain and hurt was inconsequential. The alone-ness, the suffocating expectation, the decided confusion... once I made up my mind to seek my goal as a thirsty blade does, all the whispers and nudges of doubt and frustration, fear and weariness, all of that living inside my head just went away.
It was the act of deciding that minimised the mountain. It was just being there in a place of stillness that shortened the path. And it was this new headspace that I radiated that determined the smoother journey that threw itself in my way. It turns out that the world patterns itself based on what you give, not the other way around.
I will learn from the one who didn't see me, and have done, and there's nothing that can stop me from doing so. And they'd have to try a heck of a lot harder to make me even reconsider. And just by deciding to do so, I changed. And because I changed, the place around me changed. And because the place around me changed, I know that anything is possible. Even if I can't see the next step yet and it all just seems too hard.
Just train, Just train... That's the secret! That's the secret!
(I had a really great night at class tonight! can you tell?)
Lately I've become mesmerised by the way that we move, or the way that someone can influence how another person does. It's not enough to know what to do anymore, or know what works; instead, more and more I want to know why it works.
Watching class the other night, some thoughts and ideas I've had started crystalising and taking shape. So, here are the 10 points I've come up with on the topic of movement. As usual, the warning: they may not be correct, they're simply a marker of what's going on in my headspace at the moment...
There aren't so many times where I have so few words in writing! Usually I can write things that I can never seem to articulate in conversation. But here we are again, and it occurs to me just now that just writing to fill the huge white space out here is cathartic, really. Anyway, off to the bones of the crux of the matter I go. Hi ho. Okay, I'm settled now so it's time. Let me describe.
Aikido is so sweet, sometimes. But so hard too, sometimes. Unforgiving in how little of your mask of acheivement and comfort it lets you keep. 'Blood, sweat and tears' isn't always so much of an understatement! Aikido can be difficult, and all-consuming, demanding, and painful, heartbreaking at times. But I like it that way. I like that I don't get it, I like the fact it hurts sometimes, I like the fact you can't hide if you start asking questions - heck, I even like seeing bruises on my skin. When I was learning to roll those first 6 months I lived with shoulders almost perpetually semi-dislocated, bruised from the edge of my neck almost halfway down my back. I would tense up from the fear of rolling, and the doing of it would then turn into a garden of pain worthy of the fear I had. But, see, I loved it even when I didn't. To do what you want to do so deep in your gut even though it hurts, even though it's hard, even though you can't see far enough around the corner to know if life will ever be easy again. And so for me aikido is often a hard mistress, but how I just love her for it...
When I remember an aikido technique, I remember the feeling of it, and the pattern of the drumbeat of the movement. I hear and feel more than I see. Like tunnel vision that doesn't need the vision part except as an accessory.
When I watch an aikido technique, mostly I don't even remember to figure out how to do it, I just try to see how and why it works, and how each person's body and being is reflected in the result. That sounds good, except I'm not past the stage where I need to see and figure out what to put where for how long.
There's a grading coming up in July sometime, I don't know exactly when, and I can't even fake playing at having the standard perception enough to train with a visitor. I'll watch ikkyo and move in to do it and freeze, mesmerised by the cause-and-effect way that if I twist this way or push this way then the other person changes. ...More
I love train rides and bus rides and anything else that lets me just daydream as we roll along. Here are some thoughts re. aikido (from what I understand, whether right or wrong) from today's trip in to work:
Getting hit/imposed upon is the super big thing to avoid, right? Someone needs to keep control of your line for that to happen. Well, staying moving (in a way that always shifts your center) keeps your line moving which helps avoid someone getting you through it.
Keeping footwork simple makes it easier to stay in contact with the ground and grounded (please excuse the pun!).
Being short makes it easier to slip under and into someone's gap to atemi them. It's harder to reach up if you need to grab them in a choke from behind, but once you grab them it's easier to control them since they need to lower themselves drastically (and often way out of their comfort zone) to protect their windpipe from you swinging on it.
I quit! Those words feel amazing to say right now. I quit! I quit! And you're never gonna get me again!
Okay, provocative start? I just had my graduation ceremony (yay!), I'm now officially qualified as a primary school teacher. But while everyone was celebrating, I just didn't feel like it. See, I finished my course work at the end of the year, and while everyone else got to chill out I was busy preparing for my trip during December, doing a mother of an intensive course on teaching English in January, travelling in February and diving back into intensively mind-sucking study from March onwards. Then along comes the grad ceremony in April and I'm left just going 'but, but... I'm not done yet, I'm still going, so how can I celebrate if I still haven't finished?...'. And so I attended, dressed up, snapped some photos, and... ...More
As I sit here the house is quiet and still, the clock's flashing 11:11pm. It's been exactly two weeks since I returned from my month-long overseas hiatus, and I've finally found a blanket in space where it's like there's nothing else here or anywhere and the whole world's just stopped. I can finally begin to come to grips with the tides of life because I'm back and I'm here and in this time and place that's all that seems to matter right now.
If this writing seems rather archaic, rather poetic, please forgive me. There's a knot in my chest, in my mind, in my heart that's unfolding. It's been two weeks since I returned from Japan, it's been about 6 or 7 weeks since I left home for Japan, about a year and a half since I started dreaming and planning with my whole heart to make it happen. There were things I desperately wanted to see and learn, and I won't lie, there were things I desperately wanted to leave behind too. ...More