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The last week I've been pretty good about practicing each night for about an hour. I'm focusing on loosening up my hips and legs; finding where exactly my body is and being relaxed enough that I can feel subtle stretches. Two nights ago I started practicing an older kata which involves whati think of as walking around one of the hips: so in migi hanmi the left foot moves forward and shifts directino around the right leg/hip. My right hip/leg is much tighter than my left from (I presume) my 20-ish years as a right-footed soccer player. Last night I continued working on this kata as well as the unsoku and tegatana dosa practice I learned from my brief stint with the Shodokan method. The hard part is remembering to be relaxed during the day when I'm not focusing on it. This afternoon I took the lads outside and while they ran around in the back yard moving rocks (I'm building a gravel walkway) and eating plums, etc. I practiced simple shomen and kesa uchi. I'm trying to have the feeling that the bokuto is floating atop a big ball, on the centerline, instead of feeling the weight so much. Today it felt a little like that.
Each evening has been getting a little cooler. The stars and breezes take on a colder more severe tone, which shifts the emphasis a little. It takes more effort to practice when it's cold out, but once I get going I'm quite comfortable. Last night I got pushed out of my yard by a family of 5 or 6 raccoons. The last few nights they've watched me...and I've watched them...and they've come by to get some bugs, but always by the fence line. Last night I saw a little kid walk from behind the garage and take a look at me before turning around. Then I heard some chittering and saw the whole gang come pouring out of the darkness. At first they kept to their usual spots, but they kept spreading out in an arc around me. Finally, three of them got together and started walking toward me so I decided to volunteer the feeding ground I was practicing in. I think they may have been studying my movements and felt confident they could take me if need be so I thought a tactical retreat was in order. It didn't help that the whole time they're chittering away I kept picturing the raccoons from The Great Outdoors...I think they may have been talking smack. We'll see what I get tonight.