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I will be participating in a seminar this weekend - "Aikido as an Art of Harmony" with Robert Nadeau Shihan, at Aikido of San Diego (www.aikidosd.com). Not a huge deal, but from the "Aikido as a laboratory for life" perspective, it's a big deal for me. Having a goal with a deadline tends to focus one's attention and efforts far better than simply "getting better at this, someday" would.
Before I ever stepped onto a mat I did a lot of reading and learning while healing from a minor hand injury. Once I was OK to do physical stuff I found a dojo. Then I spent several weeks recovering from the Very Long Cold From Hell. I finally started training in May. I expected a lot from Aikido, and it's proving to be much more than that, even.
I've gotten through a few muscle injuries, a shoulder injury, and the stunning realizations that a) I was in no kind of good shape At All, and b) I really can be, if I just work at it. I've done PT, gotten massages (not the happy fun kind), and started working with a personal trainer to set up a personalized workout plan. I've made progress in leaps and bounds, compared to what I'd previous thought I could achieve.
One of my short-term goals has been to be in good enough shape to participate in this weekend's seminar. I have been rolling and falling in Aikido classes, with no problems. I've been very careful not to injure/reinjure myself, and have been doing everything I can to heal well, and quickly. Since getting back on the mat. I've been doubling up on classes so the two two-hour sessions on Saturday don't kill me. Last night I even dumped my 24 manure cans into the dumpster (requires lifting each one - twice), and lived to tell. Yesterday was my 4-week follow-up with my PT. He "couldn't be any happier with my shoulder," and I have his blessings to do the seminar.
My gi is washed, bottles of water are set out, camera is charged... :-)
It's amazing how much one can learn from a seminar before even showing up.