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Just like every other Saturday, my day started off with iaido. During class, the weird feeling in my head turned into a headache. I forgot about it most of the class, but was constantly reminded about it whenever I reid to sensei after he demonstrated something or corrected me. By the time class was over, it was bothering me when I wasn't tilting my head down. Sensei went to return a call and I walked over and asked another student if she would be kind enough to tell sensei that I am not going to sit today, but I will be back up for aikido. I told her that I was going to go take some Excedrin and then sit in the changing room where it was a bit darker.
Luckily, the combination of the medicine and the darker room seemed to help my head. The pain was quite manageable by the time class was about to begin. I went back upstairs. Sensei asked if my head was alright. I told him it hurt a bit, but it wasn't enough to keep me off the mat. I asked sensei how long the other female was who was supposed to show up and train today. He said she trained for quite some time and was almost to shodan before she left. I asked him if she was in the kenshusei program, to which he confirmed. I told him that I did some research the other day because I didn't really know anything about the kenshusei program other then it was intense training. He told me that if I wanted to know more, all I had to do is ask and he smiled at me. I couldn't help it, my first response was laughter. I then told him that I was bad enough without any pressure, let alone having pressure and higher standards added on. It did make feel like there is hope for me though since he basically said if I was interested, all I had to do was ask.
While I was chatting with sensei more and more people were coming in the dojo. I guess today was the return of the aikidoka! As I have mentioned previously, attendance has been less then stellar the past few weeks. Well, I guess no one had plans on Saturday because nine people showed! PLUS, sensei's wife even showed up to train. So, there was another female on the mat for a change. The lady I mentioned that showed up last weekend was supposed to come, but she didn't (somewhat expected). Despite the third female not showing, it was nice to have a variety of people on the mat to work with.
It was a real laid back class and we didn't take much ukemi at all. I don't know if he slowed it down because sensei knew I had a headache and a few other people were injured or if he just decided to slow things down, but it was a very relaxed class. We worked on some blending exercises and worked a lot with the tanto (mainly from shomen and tsuki attacks). We worked on sankyo, gokyo, kotegaeshi, shihonage and a few other suwariwaza techniques without the tanto, such as ikkyo, iriminage and kokyuho. At one point while working with another 5th kyu, a scab had been knocked off of my ankle (got mat burn from ukemi last week I think). My partner pointed at my ankle and I look down and blood is all over my foot and a little on the mat. I didn't know such a small scab could bleed that much!
Anyway, I walk off the mat and grab a baby wipe and start cleaning the blood off my foot and ankle. My partner grabs some wipes and starts cleaning up the mat for me. Once the rest of my foot and ankle were clean, I started applying the baby wipe to my wound. Aahh….. the sting. My partner then proceeds to get me a band-aid and puts antiseptic on it. At this point, sensei comes over and asks if I'm okay. I tell him what happened and that it wasn't anything major. He tells me that since class is almost over, I should stay off the mat and get the bleeding to stop. I look at him and do something that I don't do often and have never used in class. Something unthinkable. I gave him a pouty face. To my surprise, sensei said once it stopped I could get back on the mat again. Wow…. I never thought it would work! I didn't even use the pout with an expectation that it MIGHT work.
I smiled and turned to my partner to take the band-aid he had for me. He looked at me and said "You have to show me how to do that!" I put the band-aid on and no surprise, it didn't want to stick. I grabbed some athletic tape and started wrapping it around my foot. I was getting back on the mat one way or another. I rei myself back in and sit down on the mat to hear sensei say something about shomenuchi shihonage with the tanto before everyone started scrambling for partners. Luckily for me, I am pretty much the low one on the totem pole, so I would be able to watch my partner do the technique first to make sure I would do the correct variation. Turns out my partner needed help too. He kept going into sankyo. One of the first kyu students came over and joined us (he was originally working with sensei) and helped.
At the end of the class, sensei called out for us to do suwariwaza kokyuho. He called my name and I eagerly ran over into the corner to work with him. He has been trying to get me to do the technique properly and is constantly tweaking things. Once I manage to do something he asks, he moves on to another aspect of the technique that I need to work on. I throw him to my left. Then I go to throw him to the right. It was like I hit a wall. He kept telling me "Push. Push. Push." I pushed and I pushed and the mountain did not move. He reversed the technique and threw me instead. He told me that I was stopping my left hand when I pushed to my right, but I didn't have that same problem when I went to my left. He then showed me a secret that would help me in those situations. He told me that if I am going to my right, to pull my right hand behind my back and push with the left. He showed me a couple times and then had me do it to him. To my surprise the mountain crumbled rather easily with this method! This is something that I am to have to remember! Sensei reid to me and I went off to find another partner to work with. To my surprise, he clapped and class was over. Time sure does go fast sometimes! An hour and a half seems to fly when it comes to enjoyable matters of life.
I looked down at my ankle and saw the band-aid and wrap had moved off of my injury. Luckily, it wasn't bleeding. I put my left hand under my foot as we all sat in seiza to bow out of class. I figured at least this way, I wasn't getting blood on the mat again! After class, I went and diligently noted my hours on the roster and then waited for the rags and water to be brought up so I could run the mats. All of us joke that our work out actually begins once class ends. Lately, I have been running about half of the mats on my own, but today since there were a couple more people, I ran a third of them instead. Once our cleaning was done, there is always the typical lingering and chatting downstairs. This is one of the best things about the end of Saturday morning classes. Sensei asked me if I would be returning for the Saturday afternoon "Freeing your Head and Neck" seminar (which started at 1 and it was 11:45). I told sensei that I wasn't sure, but more then likely I wouldn't. I had to take one of the other students home and take care of Meili. Once I got home (around 2, me and the student I took home stopped to eat and then sat and chatted for quite some time), I just laid out on the couch and decided to read. I would get to the laundry and washing my gi later. Aaahhhh….. great class, full belly, good conversation and gorgeous weather. What better way to start off a Saturday?