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Last night keiko was a blast. I went in feeling a bit tense and tired. Sleep isn't my strong point these days. My 6mo. old still feeds at night and my 2 y/o woke up the previous night twice with a bloody nose. Then I had some work a friend of ours gave me working on landscaping with concrete blocks, which reminded my back of its nagging aches. The problem with irregular work is the body thinks it's in shape until after it's worked a few hours. I'm not complaining! I loved digging around outside in the good NW weather (a mild, gray drizzle). Still, I had the moment's thought of, "laying down would feel nicer than Aikido." I was wrong though.
I showed up and began warming up. My left-side lower back was barking at me so I focused on loosening that up. Rolling practice is one of the best ways I know to do this so I did that a little. It reminded me of when I trained before: I would always start with a ton of them, going as fast back and forth as I could. It gets the blood pumping and gets me thinking "round." One of my sempai who I had been training with a decade ago asked me to come practice some taijutsu with him and he helped loosen things up quite a bit more. Osae waza does wonders to tight muscles!
Sensei started class so we "warmed up" then started with bokuto as always. We began some negaeshiuchi then went to kiridome. One of the interesting things to me is how tired my feet get from kenjutsu, particularly when I haven't been practicing much. It was nice to feel more familiar with the form. I really like the "new" emphasis on how to receive the cut, resting it on center. I remember the idea being present way back in the long long ago, but it seems much more clear to me now. Even the "simple" practice of working on seigan and basic posture felt just awesome, despite my feeling almost perpetually awkward on the mat.
After about an hour of this we switched to taijutsu. I think the waza was soto kaiten (or something similar), first from suwari, "blade on blade," then standing, then adding nikkyo to the end of the series of movements. After that was from tsuki attack. We finished the evening with shihonage which was by far my most comfortable waza, both as nage and uke. Of course the whole evening was spent relearning maai and how to maintain some concept of shinzentai throughout the movements. I was reminded of why I liked the ukemi side so much back in the day. It's a constant lesson in how to engage tori while addressing the very compromising positions he or she is putting you into. Also, in addition to the basic lesson of "how to have strong base in trying situations," it's moving massage and the whole drive home I was enjoying the more open and full feeling in my legs and hips. My lower back pain had all but disappeared and the parts of my structure around my hips that I've been trying to open and engage, felt present...er...more so, at least. I've mentioned it before, but I really enjoy the "squaring up" feeling that training tends to give me. I would normally describe my body as feeling twisted and disjointed, with small "sections of power" that are always negotiating with chronic injuries. Keiko makes my body feel more cohesive and supple, leaving my attitude with a very similar feeling.