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Last night's class was a lot of fun! Sensei Mark arrived shortly before my mom and I did and we had fun talking about Lord of the Rings, etc. Larry and "Bokken" Bill showed up too. Before class, Mark bowed to me inviting me to "play" but he didn't cream me like he usually does (which is fun in itself). This time he would have me attack him a certain way and he'd do a technique on me 2 or 3 times (mostly just to show me what to do) and then I'd have my turn trying to do it. 2 of the techniques were Jujinage and Koshinage but they were alright. (Background if anyone actually reads this is that for the first 3 1/2 years of Aikido, I have had a HUGE fear of breakfalls and any techniques involving straight down rolls or breakfalls would make me feel nauseous and my whole body would shake, etc. January 2004, I had a great breakthrough with breakfalls and even though I'm still just a little bit uneasy about them, I don't have a trace of that old fear anymore!!!!) We also did Shihonage and Nikkyo from Hanmi Handachi (been ages since we've done that). We "played" until class started.
Mark led us in some bokken cuts as warm up and then we partnered up (2 people in a group) and took turns striking and blocking/getting out of the way with our bokkens. I was with my mom at first and I always enjoy being with her. (We talk so much about Aikido at home we know what the other one likes and doesn't like and can tell how the other is feeling about a certain technique.) Then we rotated and "Bokken" Bill came to me. That's no problem except he was sure hitting my bokken with a lot of power (making me flinch everytime). Then, it happened..."Bokken" Bill BROKE my bokken!!!!!! I couldn't believe it! It just snapped the 20th time or so that he struck it with his! I am aware that bokkens are just the practice swords and they can wear out and break from practice but that was the first time I've ever seen that actually happen to anyone much less to ME!!! (And much less to the bokken that my dad carved for me!!!!) I would have been more upset if it wasn't kind of funny and now this is an instant legend. Sometimes I might occasionally hear stories of "Remember when so and so was practicing with a bokken and accidentally hit the lights and glass was all over the mat..." or other stories not as extreme but equally accidental and kind of funny. Now there's going to be a story of "Remember when Bill broke Robyn's bokken...." Anyway, Mark handed me a Jo and we continued the block and strike for another few minutes. After class, I did tell Bill that now I'm going to start calling him "Broken Bokken Bill" and he and everyone else laughed. Maybe my dad can get a strong wood glue and fix it as it's in a clean break (slanted angle) but that might not work. I might just have to buy a bokken off of E-bay.
For the rest of the class we did 2nd kyu techniques from mostly Ushiro Kubishimi (but I didn't really recognize it was 2nd kyu until later). I was Mark's uke while he demonstrated Ushiro Kubishimi Sankyo. Mark's taller than me so I had to stand on my toes so I could properly grab him around the neck. He only used me as his uke just that one time but that probably was mainly due to the problems with the height difference. After he and Bill demonstrated for Ushiro Kubishimi Koshinage, he told Bill, my mom, and Larry to work in a group of three while he would work with "the delicate flower"! I laughed at that and he added on "even a rose has it's thorns" and I couldn't help thinking of that old song by Poison. I appreciated him helping me with Koshinage and he even pin pointed why my breakfalls hurt more than they're supposed to. I'm coming untucked and landing more sideways barrel-ish and I'm landing harder on certain parts of my body than I should be. That was good to know and I'll have to remember to flip over straighter (like a forward roll) the next time I do breakfalls.
We also did Shomenuchi Iriminage, Katatori Nikkyo, and Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi from Hanmi Handachi (all 2nd kyu) and that was great practice too. Although my beloved bokken broke and some of the techniques were hard, it was a fun class and I'm thankful that I got to be there and participate.