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.....and that's exactly how I felt (my mom too) last night (6-22-04).
>sigh< Class was a little bit strange on Tuesday and I can't quite put my finger on why. I think it must have been the atmostphere---hardly anybody was there and it just seemed oddly quiet. Sensei Mark came (which was a great thing otherwise we wouldn't have had a teacher!) and otherwise it was just him, my mom and I, and another guy. A visitor came but just to watch---he said he does cage fighting and asked if Aikido would have anything that might help him. Mark said it did and they talked for a few minutes. (IMHO--I've heard a couple of people somewhere else on the internet who cage fight say that Aikido footwork helps them.)
Later, after we stretched, to kill time before class, Mark lets me come "play" with him (which I like) but I couldn't get anything to work!!! I go through stages of flinching a lot and not but this class I was horrible at flinching and I haven't been that bad for a long time! On the other hand, Mark was attacking/grabbing me Katatori Menuchi (I think that's right--grab one jacket lapel and strike Shomen with other hand) and it's been a long time since I've tried doing any techniques from that attack so I can't be expected to remember everything right? I felt embarrassed with the visitor watching though.
Class itself was ---
A lot of bokken cuts then pairing up like we did when Bill broke my bokken and the guy I was with wasn't striking my bokken correctly so I had an awkward time doing it right. But I'm sure it wasn't all his fault, in his defense.
After that, Sensei Mark had my mom as uke (she was used most of the night) and uke strikes Shomenuchi and he enters in with his arms up in an Irimi block and did Irimi Nage. We partnered up and since there was only 3 students, Mark rotated and worked with one of us and that was nice. But all 3 of us students was having such a hard time for some reason getting the basic entry (it was a little bit different than how we normally practice it) so poor Mark had to digress and make us do nage-uke-mirror-image-blending exercises.
Next we TRIED to do the same entry but with Sankyo and we had problems with that too! Sensei Mark was brave when he made it more complecated by having uke strike several times in a row (after nage does certain techniques) so it was like Shomen (uke), Sankyo (nage) tskui (sp?--uke), and Kotigieshi (nage) all in a row.
As all 3 of us were having problems last night, the person who was with Mark at that turn had the best chance of being sure that we're doing it right. My mom and I kept getting confused when we were together and being with the other guy was a bit frustrating as he did the various techniques partly right but everything else wrong and he kept trying to tell me (us) how to do it correctly--while he was still getting most of it wrong himself but he probably didn't know it.
My mom and I both felt rather stupid and "I don't know ANYTHING!" last night (the other guy probably thought he did almost everything right) and I hope that Mark isn't discouraged. It was just an "off" night and I think Mark's main focus was that all 3 of us should be past the basic thinking of step 1, step 2, step 3, etc. and he's trying to get us out of that and into the flowy, one-motion mindset. As I said, a bad night for me to start flinching like a fool!
.....But we're still glad that we went to class though. I just need to look forward and just relax and have a good time no matter if I'm doing techniques beautifully or terribly! And I am looking forward to Thursday! As far as plans go, Amy (a girl from my church) is interested in Aikido and is either going to watch or participate. I tried to explain some things about Aikido but I'm still not sure if she has any clue of what it's really like. So it'll probably be interesting! Mark promised that he'll make a special point to come since she's supposed to be visiting.