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This week has been going alright. Wednesday's class went well. We focused on the bokken. We did some exercises and partnered work for ukifune gaeshi as well as doing a few solo kata. This went well for the most part. My frenemy kept whacking away at my right hand as they slid down my shinai. Every time they did it, they would giggle and say "I'm sorry!" then they would do it again and again. Uhm.... if you were sorry you would stop! I just sucked it up and dealt because I wasn't about to let this get to me (especially since it was being done on purpose). This person is leaving for college, so this won't be an issue any longer. At least things are better then they used to be.
Second hour (Iaito) sensei had me and my husband go downstairs and he showed us how to wear a hakama. He has been trying to get us in a hakama for a few weeks now. My husband has a hakama that fits (needs some fixing though), but I didn't have anything. Sensei gave me a hakama to wear until I get my own. Yesterday, I also got my replacement bokken with saya. So, not only did I have to deal with a hakama for the first time, but I also had to get used to the saya. I didn't have a problem getting the bokken out of the saya, but I couldn't really get the bokken back in the saya. It wasn' really that I didn't know how to do it (I did it fine with the previous one I returned). It just felt like it was getting stuck halfway into the saya. After class, I was messing with it and even pulling it out half way and trying to put it back it would get stuck. I am not sure what is going on, but I am going to take a flashlight and look down the saya to see if there is anything in it. Maybe the bokken is just a tad too big in the middle or something... who knows. Anywho, we worked on shohatto, sato, uto, atarito, inyoshintai, ryuto, jyunto and batto.
Needless to say, inyoshintai didn't go too well since I was having difficulties with the saya. My bokken got stuck in the saya and I couldn't get it back out. Grrr... I guess the positive thing out of the class was that I didn't have a problem moving in the hakama. It is a bit short, but sensei said that may be for the best since I am still getting used to wearing it. Now if only I could get used to folding the hakama.....
Well, today we had a couple new people as well as the other new guy I talk about. We worked on tai no henko (3 variations), katatedori nikyo, katatedori nikyo to ikkyo and katatedori katagatame. I worked with all three of the new(er) people. At one point, I was working with my husband and sensei had sempai break us apart to split up the two new people who were working together. It made me feel good that sensei thought well of me enough to put me with a new person. At one point I was working with one of the new guy's for tai no henko. Well, the guy was squeezing my wrist to death! He was a bigger guy and appears pretty muscular. I don't think he meant anything by holding so tightly, but he may have been trying to see if the tiny girl could do the technique. Needless to say, I had no problem doing the technique. It actually made me smile on the inside. Knowing that I could do it to such a big guy who was holding so tight.... well it makes me feel like I am finally doing something right! I also worked with the other new guy for katagatame. I did the best I could to help him through the tecnique (more like, step back here, grab my arm, etc). He didn't do too bad considering he has only been in a class or two.
The great thing about working with these three beginners is that it begins to make me see that I have gotten better. Are my techniques still horrible... sure, but I can see how far I have come in the 5 1/2 months that I have been there. It is always good to see and be reminded of where you came from. It is humbling, rewarding and creates empathy all at the same time. After the first hour, I went over to get a drink of water. Sensei approached me and told me that I could keep the hakama. Howard offered to give him one of our other hakama that doesn't fit either of us, but sensei declined the offer. I guess this makes the first gift from sensei (other then the calligraphy he gave us for our anniversary)! I told sensei that once I got a new hakama (since this one is a tad short for me according to him), I would then return the hakama I am borrowing. He said that would be fine, but stressed that there is no rush and to use it as long as I would like. I didn't know what else to say, so I just reid. Sensei has been so patient, understanding and generous to both me and my husband.
For the second hour of class we worked on the jo. Surprisingly, it wasn't the enemy I have grown accustomed to. Today we had a sort of understanding with eachother. More like, we agreed to be civil with one another. Don't get me wrong, I still made plenty of mistakes and sensei made sure to point them out to me when he was watching. Both him and sempai awe me with their abilities. Their moves are so small and effortless, yet they are powerful and controlled. How I would love to get that way. At one point sensei even compllmented me. My first jo compliment EVER!!! WHOOT! Well, I guess that is about it for now.
Things to fix:
1.) Be more positive in my extension
2.) When attacking shomen with the jo, come from above my head, not the shoulder
3.) When squatting for the duck under the jo, have right knee on mat and have left foot active (opposite of one of the positions in inyoshintai)
1.) Feet are still peeling... grrr
2.) Suede burn on right hand
3.) Sore right wrist (guess this will keep nagging for a while)