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Twelve days… amazing how time can either fly by or drag along at a snails pace. Odder still, is how time can fly by, yet still leave you feeling as if those twelve days felt more like a year then just shy of two weeks. I am appalled to admit that twelve days ago was the last time that I stepped out onto the green tatami. Little did I know that would be my last class for a while.
The following week was a mixed bag of feeling great to feeling utterly miserable. When Tuesday arrived, I had to admit to myself that:
A- I was feeling exhausted and sick.
B- I was going to make a four and a half hour drive to Portland tomorrow morning and I still hadn't packed.
I called Marc and told him that I wouldn't be going to class. He understood and told me to get better. I told him I wouldn't be able to go to class again till the following Tuesday because I had to go to Portland for training. The rest of the week went alright. Not to say that I didn't feel well, because I still felt miserable. I thought about going to a dojo while I was up there, but truthfully, I just plain felt like crap. Instead, I sulked and looked at photos and read bios of the surrounding dojos, which further made me miss class. Training went well though. I am proud to say that after two hours of digging around in wet dirt that I was remarkably clean. While everyone else sat in the dirt, I kept my butt off the ground. If you were to sit in seiza, come up on your toes and then lift your knees off the mat, you will get an idea of how I was squatting. Quite comfortable I might add! I am also proud to say that I was the first person to find skeletal remains in our group. YAY! I found a few cartridge casings as well, but nothing to really write home about.
The following week I had a trip to the doctor, where my suspicions were confirmed. I had a sinus infection. She asked me if it would be possible to stay home from work a couple days to relax. I told her that it was possible and as I left the office I thought to myself "I am not staying home over a sinus infection!" I went to work the next day and felt fine. I was a bit optimistic, but also realistic. I wanted to go to class tonight, but I didn't want to push myself. I had to give sensei the check for our monthly dues (which was due at the beginning of the month) and I figured since I was there; I could sit and watch class. Watching class wasn't so bad. I got to observe some finer points and digest some comments that were made.
After aikido was tai chi. I thought about joining in, but a few people said I didn't look too good and suggested I sit out (one of them was teaching class that evening). Not wanting to be rude (and I truthfully wasn't much in the mood to practice tai chi), I sat out. Marc came up after changing downstairs and bugged me into joining class. I got out there and did the short and long form. Truthfully, it wasn't so bad. There were times during the hour that I felt dizzy and nauseous and other times I felt just fine. On the way home, I told Marc that I wouldn't be ready (physically) to go to class tomorrow, but Thursday I would be there whether I was ready or not. By the time I dropped Marc off and got home, I was utterly exhausted. Something so slow and simple such as tai chi literally kicked my butt tonight. I went to bed figuring I would feel better by the morning.
Well…. I missed work the next day; turns out that if you tempt fate enough- sooner or later they are going to take the bait. I was devastated. The good thing about missing work was that I got to get some sleep that my body needed. I figured I would need lots of rest if I had any hopes of going to class tomorrow. The rest of the day, I laid on the couch, watched movies, read a book and went online. By the end of the night, I was feeling rather well again, but I was a bit more cautious with my optimism. I went to bed that night hoping that tomorrow would be a good day (physically).
I woke up the next morning feeling fine. I got up and got ready for work. My day went well. I felt lethargic at times, but over all, I felt like I had much more energy then I had been having the past couple weeks. I texted Marc to let him know that we were indeed going to class tonight. The rest of the day leading up to class I was anxious. It has been twelve whole days since I have practiced aikido. Much too long in my opinion. Marc taught class that night. As far as my energy goes, I made it through most of the class. I did ask to sit out for a couple minutes to catch my breath and to get the dizziness to go away. I tried not to sit out longer then necessary and quickly joined back in class. After the first hour, we were scheduled to have a second hour of weapons. I had slumped down onto the bench in the entrance way and was drinking my water. Marc looked over at me and said "You look exhausted." He couldn't be more correct. I hadn't felt this exhausted in a long time. It reminded me of how I was feeling before I had my thyroid problem diagnosed. Without any shame, I told Marc that I was exhausted, but I would be alright. Marc consulted with Bret (the other person left that was taking second hour) and they agreed to cancel the second hour of class so I could go home.
I told them that it wasn't necessary and that I would either watch or be able to get through the class, but they were firm with their decision. I stood up and carried my stuff downstairs to change. I couldn't help but notice my shaky hands, my rubbery legs and fatigued arm muscles. I shouldn't be feeling this way after an easy, laid back beginner's class! When I got to the changing room, I spoke with Cara (my frienemy). She had just come back from college and tonight was her first class back. Truthfully, she is less of a frienemy then she was last summer, but she will have this title for a while. In case you didn't read those entries in the past, when she came back, she felt the need to put me in my place. At the time she was a 3rd kyu and I had been training in aikido for a whole two months. Anyway, she has gotten past that and now a pretty civil person. I don't see how she could have conceived me as a threat, but she did apparently.
After talking with Cara, I met Marc in the living room and we headed home. Marc asked if I was alright to drive and I told him I was fine (and I was). I thought about stopping at the Human Bean on our way home for some coffee or a fruit smoothie since I was feeling overheated and ucky, but I thought my plan could backfire and make me feel worse. Marc and I chit chatted till I dropped him off at his house. I told him I would pick him up Saturday. By the time I got home, I was miserable. I felt like I had ran a marathon, lifted weights until my arms wouldn't work anymore and I was sick to my stomach. I thought that I might be low on sugar or needed carbs or electrolytes, so I grabbed a Gatorade from the fridge in hopes it might make me feel better. My husband made spaghetti and I thought that eating might help. Although both were good, neither of them made me feel better at all. I laid on the couch feeling as if I would throw up at any minute, but knowing that I wouldn't. I tried to sleep, but I decided to hold off on sleep till my husband and I went to bed.
I went upstairs to shower. Although I could have staid in the shower forever, I made it as quick as possible because I wanted to climb into the bed. I pretty much resigned myself to missing work the next day. I must have REALLY pushed my body too far and it was rebelling against me. I quickly drifted off to sleep. To my surprise, I woke up the next morning feeling great. YAY for recovery sleep! As I quietly climbed out of bed, so as to not disturb my hubby, he asked me if I was going to work. I nodded and then went into the bathroom to get ready for work. As I put on my makeup, all I could think about was class Saturday morning and if I would be able to hack an hour of iaido and an hour and a half of aikido.
Saturday morning Marc lead the warm ups for iaido. He always has us do a hundred or more shomen cuts. Today, it felt more like 200. Whether it was because it was that many or because I was tired, I have no idea. I was beat by the time we were done with the cuts. I sure hope this isn't an indicator of how tired I will be in aikido! After the rest of our warm up's, Marc had us go through Shohatto, Sato, Uto and Atarito a few times. At that point, sensei came to join class. YAY! Lately, he has been MIA because of health reasons. He continued where Marc left off and had us do those same forms a few times. Then he had us move to standing to work on some Tokyo Police forms that Chiba sensei had once taught him. Over all, class went well.
A few corrections I received that need to be fixed (and a few I'm still working on):
1.) Don't break wrist at end of cut
2.) Apparently I move my head ever so slightly for chiburi, so I need to cut that out
3.) Keep extension during cut to maintain a circle and not end up with a flat cut
4.) Keep shoulders down and back as you cut
After iaido we sit for about a half an hour. Once that was done, I asked sensei how he was feeling as I took his zafu and other items to put away for him. He stated that he was feeling better, but not quite back to "normal". I went across the room and began to fold up my hakama. We started talking about various things: mainly forensic science books. He suggested one to me that sounded interesting, but I forget the name already, so I will have to ask him again. We started talking about "The Throne of Blood" that he is helping with and I asked when that show will be playing at the theatre, as I am eager to see it. He told me it was in the middle of June and stated that he still has to find out about group pricing so dojo members can go. He then asked if I would be available one Tuesday to help out at the theatre. I told him I would be able to help. I have no idea what he wants me to do though. I know Marc is going and I think they are going to be working on iaido. My iaido really isn't that great, so I'm thinking I may be helping out with other things. We shall see.
I then went downstairs to put my hakama away and change obi's. When I came back upstairs, I told sensei that I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it the whole class and explained that I had to sit out a bit on Thursday. He told me that it would be fine and that it would probably be a laid back class. He kept his word. It was fairly laid back, but it still kicked my butt. I ended up having to sit out at the one hour mark. Boohoo. At another point, I was working in a group of three and sensei told the other two to go first so I could sit out and rest a bit more. Some of the things we worked on were kokyuho, ikkyo, uchi kaitenage and iriminage. We worked on some of the finer points of a few things and focused on turning, as well as our contact with our partner. Trying to make our movement more clear.
Sensei used me as uke a couple times and despite the fact that I was low on gas, I gave everything I had when I was up there with him. He also told me that I needed to try to give my center up more. Push my center forward as I take backward ukemi. He told me that I am doing this, but that I could do it even more. He then went on to demonstrate a time when you would need this. He had me be uke and I attacked shomen. He merely entered off line, came down on top of my arm with his outside arm and then flew his inside arm at my face. I had no choice but to quickly give up my center and take backwards ukemi.
At one point during class, I heard a disruption and Cara was down on the mat. She had been poked in the eye rather hard. I went downstairs and got some ice for her and sensei looked her over. She sat out the rest of the class. She appeared to be fine, but her eye looked like it would end up bruising. Accidents, though unfortunate are an expected part of martial arts training. I myself have not sustained a severe injury as of yet (knocks on wood), but I have been hit in the head by sensei's bokken rather hard. My poor husband has been hit in the face with a jo a couple times (one time his jo smashed his glasses into his nose so hard that he got a cut). Hopefully, Cara will show up Tuesday and be perfectly fine. I sure hope she doesn't get a black eye!
On another completely different topic, as of lately, my ukemi has been of great interest to me. I have seen where I have already improved a great deal, but my ukemi is still mediocre. I need to make my rolls and breakfalls softer still. My breakfalls, though not incorrect (but more then effective) are considered "hard". I personally don't see them as hard. To me, they feel quite comfortable. I would however, like to take these softer breakfalls. First off, sensei wants me to work on them, but I also want to be kind to my body and it seems like these cause less jarring to the body. Not to mention, the more ways you learn to fall, the more options you have. You can then take whatever ukemi is called for. I also want to work on staying closer to nage. I want to remain more connected. It is most obvious on techniques where nage has me running in circles around them (excluding sankyo). Somehow, despite my best intentions, my lower body gets out from under me. I end up running slanted and my feet are plodding ever so loudly on the mat. It's as if instead of uke and nage it is a horse being run in circles via a lead. Sometimes this happens because nage is just plain going to fast for me, but other times, I think it is my fault. I have yet to discover how to tell the difference. Another mystery for me to solve I guess.
Things to work on:
1.) Give up center completely, while maintaining a connection
2.) Take what ukemi is required (no more, no less)
3.) Push yourself to your limit and even a little beyond, but don't overdo it!
4.) Take care of your health, it is of utmost importance for an active person
5.) Don't be so timid
6.) Keep both feet connected to the ground when nage