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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 844,614

In General The Strangeness of Being...a Sempai Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #94 New 01-19-2004 10:19 PM
I know it's been a little over a year now, but the role-reversal still feels weird. After all, I've spent the vast majority of that year or so as a Kohai to most of the class. But tonight we just had Sempai Jim come out for Bokken practice, and then afterwards it was just me, Dave, Ken, and the two new students for Tae Sabaki.

Thankfully, the three of us "substitute Sempais for the night" were made to alternate as Sensei's demonstration uke. I think he caught on after the first time I was uke for him tonight that I am still not used to having to learn a technique solely from that perspective yet...and to think, just a year ago, I used to wonder why my own Sempais would stand there for a minute thinking, "Now what do I do?" after being Sensei's demonstration uke.

I realize now just how spoiled I was. Being a Kohai was so easy...all I had to do was just what I wanted: to concentrate on my own learning. There were no real expectations of you other than that you tried your best (and didn't hurt anyone in the process). You didn't have to really watch over anyone else's learning or --- as I'm finding myself --- worry about doing something correctly so that you can be a good example.

Tonight, for the very first time since --- well, NEVER, in my whole year here, Sensei told me to relax. And I am *always* relaxed. I'm usually relaxed to a fault (ie. limp ukemi, or being a very casual attacker as uke). But tonight, for just a little bit, I was actually a little nervous. I don't mean the kind of nervous I got when I did my first run-through of the Gokkyu test [see: "A Mini-Milestone...of Sorts", 01-10-2004]--- a different kind. I wish I could put my finger on it. I had just been uke for Sensei, was pumped with adrenaline, and had been taking ukemi rather miserably (except for maybe one happy landing). I felt...pressure. I guess pressure is a better word to describe it. It was the pressure of having to be an example, the pressure of knowing you have eyes on you --- eager eyes that are depending upon the correctness of your every move...

Okay, enough of that! I'm just making it worse by dwelling on it. Sigh...time to suck it up and realize that it's my turn to be a Sempai. I guess I can't be the "baby" of the dojo forever, huh? I have to recognize that I am growing --- maybe even too big for my own britches sometimes, but still growing --- and it's high time I started "acting my age" on the mats. That means learning to be more responsive as Sensei's uke and ready to take ukemi for whatever he throws at me (no pun intended), and learning to...well, learn all over again from a different perspective.

I suppose I can rest assured that all of this simply takes practice and a great deal more experience than I've got under my (comparatively clean, white) belt so far, and that this will all come in time.
Views: 880 | Comments: 2

RSS Feed 2 Responses to "The Strangeness of Being...a Sempai"
#2 01-21-2004 10:57 AM
jducusin Says:
Hehehe --- of course, I didn't mean THOSE britches, Kelly! Like THAT would ever happen (the drawstring waist on those things is wide enough for me as it is)! I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities to partner up again in the future; once our new students start getting the hang of things, me and the other "substitute Sempais" won't have to be so concerned about letting them partner up on their own, and we can get back to the usual fun of tossing around all the other old fogies like us --- hehehe --- I mean all the other "not-as-new" students.
#1 01-20-2004 11:42 PM
Kelly Allen Says:
LOL! The irony of you out growing britches was a hoot. I can't visualize you out growing any body's britches, your so tiny. I am looking forward to the chance to be your uke again. It is a strange sensation getting thrown by someone half my size. It would be good practice for when my son is able to toss me. I was a little disappointed you didn't get a chance to plant me into the mat last time I was on your side of the wall. Kelly

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