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Today I finally made it back on the mat. I wanted to do the full meal deal so I did misogi at 8am, followed by the Chyohai and then Chinkon sai. Misogi always kind of typifies the concept of gyo for me: you strip down, practically naked to the world around you, and then often it is rather cold. If you haven't done it a while it's moderately uncomfortable...although, on some days it doesn't matter how long since you've last done it, it's still uncomfortable. Still, I love it. It's invigorating and provides a great opportunity to practice focusing while in a situation where it can be hard to focus. When I used to do misogi regularly (which for me meant, formally, 1-3 times a week) I would get a warm feeling in my hara while up to my shoulders in glacier run-off. I didn't get that feeling today, but it was still nice and refreshing and once I found the focus to "sink" my vocalizations into my hara (or near enough), the calm feeling I got was very pleasant, even if fleeting.
...Of course, the hot tea afterward was also very refreshing and pleasant.
In bokuto practice we worked on some of the usual kata. Sensei came over at one point and gave me some specifics to work on since I've been working on this at home so much...of course I remember him saying that better than some of the points he wanted me to focus on, but the key one that stuck was in adjusting my feet into a bit wider stance at one point in the sequence we were working on, as well as to really squeeze the elbows together when beginning another part.
I was training with one of the newest members and I still feel unfamiliar with the forms, particularly after a month of no training, so it was nice that we were practicing next to one of the most senior students at the dojo. His instructions became mine for obvious reasons.
We went in for taijutsu and began with a form of suwariwaza kokyu nage before moving on to katate tori irimi ura. We then worked on a few different iterations and exercises for understanding aspects of the movement, focusing hard on planting uke's rear shikaku on our centerline and drawing/extending around us before letting them past and entering with the final cut/throw.
Sensei said my ukemi was good and it was very gratifying after being away so long. I've been working on loosening up the joints and the different muscle groups in my solo work at home, but I assumed I would be very tight. It could be that the movement itself happens to be one that worked well for me or that a couple hours of different meditations primed my body, I can't say for sure because of the different factors that can play into body tension, but I had a great time and left feeling like I've made some progress.
...always more to say or think about, but that's good for now.
Until next time.