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My intro is titled Return of a Prodigal in the Introductions forum, posted Oct 2004.
Last night at weapons class we did 21 count jo kata. I'd never done it before and was doing ok when we were working in a group. But later on during the class Sensei got each student to get up on their own to do the kata in front of everyone, starting off with the black belts descending to the beginners. Of course the advanced students did their kata without hesitation. When it was my turn I got up there bowed to the kamiza and totally blanked out. Nothing came. Had I remembered the first move, tsuki, I probably would have been fine. So anyways, I stood there for a few seconds staring at O'Sensei, frozen. Then Sensei asked one of the black belts to do the kata with me. I was just fine working with her. Just a couple of miscues. She told me afterwards that it's very different doing it on your own. I guess it's because you have no other visual cues to work with.
When I first started aikido it was a chore to train in weapons. I didn't make the connection between open hand techniques and weapons training for a long time. I'm not sure when it clicked for me, but now I find weapons training essential and, maybe more importantly, enjoyable.
November 18, 2004, Little Monsters
Last night I saw part of a kid's class that one of the senior students was teaching. It was at the end of the class and there was complete mayhem. I felt bad for the teacher, but he still loves the little monsters. And the monsters were out last night. He said that it happens about once a month…when the moon is getting full! Also there was a student there who doesn't attend regularly. He's slightly older than the rest of the children and very disruptive. He's a bully according to one of the parents I had talked to previously. The dynamic of the class totally changes when he's there.
I help with the kids' class on Saturday mornings and they are well behaved for a group of energetic five to ten year olds. When there are twenty of them in a class…
…you really learn patience.
After the Wednesday evening kids' class there is a beginner women's class. I assist the only female black belt at our dojo. I'm a 5th kyu. She and I are the only women at the dojo with ranks. I enjoy being uke for the class and I have learned so much from it. Upon my return to aikido after a six year absence I decided that I needed to make a concerted effort to improve my ukemi. Previously, I'd thought it was only necessary to keep myself from being injured. But I've realized that it's very mental as well as physical.
One of the challenges that I've encountered in the women's class is explaining how to do a technique. I'd much rather be thrown around! Sometimes the ladies want to dissect a technique, which I found frustrating at first, but only because I'm lousy at explaining things. They don't just ask "what" they ask "why". The "why" questions are what I have most trouble with. This is when I remind myself that I was the same way when I first started.
November 19, 2004, Accosted
I was just in town doing some errands for work. In front of City Hall, walking back to my bike I was bird-dogged by this disheveled looking individual who was obviously high on something or in withdrawal…not sure which. It was broad daylight and there were lots of people around (across the street and up the block), but not in my immediate area. He was on my left side, just behind me, his coat brushing up against mine. There was no one else on the sidewalk, so there was no need for him to get so cozy. Okay. What to do? After just a few steps I made a quick right turn towards the bus terminal to see what he would do. He quickly followed, leaped in front of me and turned to face me.
I looked at him, planted my feet and gripped my bike helmet, ready to knock his block off if I had to. He just stood there, nose sniffing, body twitching. No words were exchanged. I walked around him, went to my bike, made sure he wasn't around and went back to work.