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Ah! It was a great, fun, encouraging class last night! (Tuesday 7/13/04)
My mom, me, & Amy arrived early but Mark did too. Larry and Peter also came. I announced to Mark that this Thursday would be the 4 year anniversary of when we started Aikido. Hurray for us for surviving this long! While my mom helped Amy with the rolls and practiced techniques with her, Mark "played" with me and I did terrible (maybe worse than usual). He'd strike Yokomen and I kept stepping to the side and OUT instead of to the side and IN. That made a huge difference as I'd be too far away and he'd get a 2nd (and 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.) strike in before I could do anything!
After the bokkens and Peter helped Amy do backrolls on one side of the mat while the rest of us formed a line and did Kokyus, we did Tenshi Nage for the rest of the class (with variations). I was Sensei Mark's uke the whole time.
Poor Amy got discouraged because Larry (not Mr. Larry who teaches on Saturdays but the other Larry) was making it difficult for her to do the techniques correctly and he was expecting too much from a beginner too.
But my mom and I felt very encouraged because we remember learning Tenshi Nage from the 1, 2, 3 steps and how much we've progressed. We still mess things up all the time but we've come a LONG way!!! It took me 2 months just to be able to do a "somersault" when we started and longer than that to be able to do a real forward roll! Amy is doing great on her rolls and she's catching on to the turns, etc. 10 times faster than we did!
I've also matured a lot through my Aikido journey so far and have grown a lot! I remember how for SOOOO long, I used to hate and dispise Irimi Nage (20 year version) with GREAT passion because it was SO hard and I just couldn't break through the mental wall and figure it out! After several years and with everyone's help (especially Sensei Mark's patience) I finally started to understand it and even though I still can't get the technique to work most of the time, I don't hate it anymore.
And the really big way I've grown in just since this past January is the breakfalls!!! I had such a big fear of getting hurt on a breakfall that every time it came up or I saw the other guys do one (and I thought that I might have to), my whole body would start to shake, I'd feel sick, feel like crying, etc. because the fear was so bad! Getting over that fear (which was only from the result of prayer) was like a huge rock being lifted off of my shoulders! Last night, before class, Mark slowly put me into a Koshi (at least 6 times) and I did some lousy breakfalls and he helped me figure out why I'm not landing correctly sometimes. I didn't feel a flicker of that old fear and that's another big reason why I feel encouraged from how far I've come!
I also remember watching Mark and whoever uke demonstrate techniques and the other guys in the line often laugh or smile and I couldn't figure out why! Now I know! The more Aikido classes I come to, the more awesome I realize that Aikido is (grammar?). It blows my mind when Mark or Mr. Larry while simply turn there palm up or down and they can totally take my balance! I started giggling like a fool when Mark was using me as his uke last night. IT LOOKS SO EASY but it's SO complicated! Like walking while chewing gum, while patting your head, while rubbing your stomach, while doing a Irish jig at the same time! It's downright fascinating!
The longer I'm in Aikido, the more I realize that I don't know and how awesome it is. My Aiki--journey so far has been a real adventure and I look forward to the years to come!