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Well, now that the test is behind me, I feel as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel more relaxed, yet still focused. It is weird though, because it is a different kind of focus. I can't really describe what the difference between the two is, but they are definitely different. I guess maybe the added pressure changed things. Either way, I am now ready to face new challenges and to push myself even further. Contentment is the gateway to laziness, which can lead to dormancy, which often ends with a training plateau. So, to prevent anything like this from happening, I have been making short term goals that will help me attain my long term goals. I can't quite go into details as to what my goals are at the moment though, because I am still in the process of defining them. At some point though, they will be posted in a blog because I find that seeing them helps me put them into action easier then just thinking about them. Well, that is enough about that, let me get back to class.
Tuesday's class started off a little laid back. We did our usual warm-ups, then sensei had us work on rocking back (backwards ukemi from sitting) and then had us rock side to side so we would end up slapping with our hand and foot like we just landed from a breakfall. Sensei was explaining how important this was incase you are thrown into a breakfall and he then explained that if nage holds you up off the mat as you land, this will force you to take a breakfall. He then looked at me and held out his right wrist. I had no idea what he wanted me to do, (all I knew was that I was going to end up in a breakfall) so I just grabbed with my left hand. I see him begin to turn and I follow him. Next thing I know, I am flipping in the air and land in a breakfall. I'm not really sure how I got there; all I know is that he held me up off the floor. One thing I do know is that I landed rather nicely, which is always nice when he is using me to make a point or demonstrate something. I'm guessing this mini-session was geared towards the current 2nd kyu's; as the yudansha should know this and us 5th kyu's don't really take breakfalls. After this, class began to raise in difficulty.
The 2nd kyu's are going to test for 1st kyu soon (either around Thanksgiving or around Christmas), so now sensei has begun gearing classes more towards them. He told us point black on Tuesday night that this class was for those testing for 1st kyu. Most of the people in class were okay with the techniques because they were either 2nd kyu or yudansha; however there were three 5th kyu's in class. Because of that, the class was definitely challenging for us lower rankers. The techniques themselves weren't really that hard, but instead of being stagnant, we were told to be dynamic and to keep uke on the move constantly via the use of circles or figure eights. Though the class was a bit over my head, I found myself having fun. Instead of hurrying along, I tried to go slow, yet maintain the fluidity that was being asked of me. I'm not so sure I was successful, as I found myself stopping at times, but I wasn't breaking the technique down as much I do sometimes. Some of the techniques we did were: Kaitenage, ikkyo, nikyo, kokyuho and perhaps a few other things.
There was also a potential new student who was also there watching class. At the end of class, while we were doing suwariwaza kokyuho, sensei went over and talked to her. I overheard him tell her (we were right next to them on the mat) that if she were to join class, the class wouldn't be this advanced. He explained that there were no beginner's in the class at this moment and that the typical beginner's classes aren't usually like this. I'm not really sure if she is going to come back or not. It would be interesting having another female around. I'm the only female student that comes on a regular basis. Truth be told though, it is kind of nice being the only female. Working with guys is a lot of fun!
Last night was an interesting evening. I was the only student who showed up for the first hour of class. Sensei asked me if it would be okay if we only trained for a half hour and then cleaned the dojo the rest of class (we have a seminar/workshop this weekend). I told him it wouldn't be a problem. He had me grab a bokken and we worked on conditioning, cutting, as well as draws. He gave me a few things that I need to watch and told me of a few things I could do at home or in the dojo in front of the mirror. It was really nice to have his undivided attention. He watched me carefully and told me when my angles were a little off, or that I needed to turn my hips a bit more or a bit less. The rest of the class I was downstairs washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen area. I don't really see a problem with that either. As a student, I should be more then willing to help with the upkeep of the dojo. As a board member, it is also my responsibility to help prepare for things such as this workshop with Shozo Sato Sensei on Saturday. So, the way I see it, I have double the responsibility and am more then willing to do my fair share of things around the dojo. Over the years, I have come to realize that you not only have to show respect towards your sensei and your fellow students, but you also have to have respect for the dojo. Luckily for me, I have understood this concept from the time I was a white belt in aikijitsu, so I don't have problems with it like some other people do.
For the second hour of class, one other student showed up (yudansha). After our warm-ups, sensei had us do katadori ikkyo (omote & ura), nikyo (omote & ura) and sankyo (omote & ura) from suwariwaza. About ten minutes into class, sensei told us that unfortunately he had to go home to elevate and ice his knee as it was spasming very badly. Sensei asked us to stay and work on nikyo and sankyo (ura & omote) from various attacks. So, we worked on both from standing from katadori, shomenuchi and yokomenuchi attacks for the remainder of the class. I haven't really done nikyo and sankyo too often in class, as we tend to do ikkyo, iriminage, kokyuho and shihonage the most, so it was nice to work on techniques that I am absolutely atrocious with. I don't think it is a coincidence that he has me working on nikyo and sankyo all of the sudden as they are on the 4th kyu test. I have no clue when he wants me, my husband and possibly the two other 5th kyu's (who tested in March) to test for 4th kyu, but I am hoping it isn't anytime soon. I would really like to get a better grasp of the things on the 4th kyu test and I would like to improve upon the techniques I was just tested on last week. I'm hoping that it isn't until sometime next year, but I guess you never really know what is going through a sensei's mind…….