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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
jducusin
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One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 272 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 587,814

In General New Season, New Students Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #24 New 09-08-2003 11:30 PM
We walked into the dojo to see a new (and decidedly female) face on the mats tonight. I pretty well ran into the men's washroom after Dave to proclaim, "Wow --- there's actually another girl in there!" I wanted to go up to her and poke her a couple of times to make sure she was for real and not some figment of my imagination. Obviously, it's been some time since I'd had a fellow female training partner. So much so, that I was beginning to question my own gender.

I was told that around this time of year (as well as in the New Year), we get an influx of folks inquiring into our dojo and not coincidentally, some new students as well. With new students comes a different mode of training (at least in smaller dojos such as our own) --- older students get reintroduced to the basics and are given the opportunity to guide another student who is less familiar with the techniques that they take for granted (I would like to say, "that they do now with ease," but everyone would know that I'd be lying ).

It's a great experience for all of us, especially those of us such as myself who are "not-that-much-older students" --- we are made to re-examine the fundamentals of our own techniques and see if they've evolved or deviated at all, for better or for worse (it is as though we are shown a mirror to ourselves and thus are given the awareness to make an adjustment).

We are also given a training partner who will respond honestly (without the anticipation of seasoned aikidoka) to techniques and whose knee-jerk reactions help us realistically fine-tune what we do.

Lastly, those of us who wouldn't normally have a chance to do so are made to rise to the challenge of a leadership role: one in which they must set a helpful, disciplined yet friendly and welcoming example as a member and representative of their dojo. In being made to guide another, one is also made to re-evaluate themselves. We take for granted that we normally have the luxury of just concentrating on learning techniques from our own, subjective, perspective. In orienting a new student, it is as though we have to step outside of ourselves and learn the technique again from another, more objective (and less selfish) perspective in order to help guide them through it.

All this in mind, the introduction of new students means the shaking up of our own complacencies --- something I very much enjoy.
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