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Last night at class, one of the juniors who has been training for about four months was having rolling problems. We were working in a group. Everyone knows that he's a beginner and was training with him according to his level of experience. He can do solo rolls and when doing a technique slowly we set him up to do a solo roll. His roll would fall apart and he'd do a kind of sideways-on-his-back kind of roll. After seeing that a few times, I said to him quietly that I'd seen him do proper rolls and that's all I said. I guess I'd come to the conclusion that he wasn't trying. And it bugged me. Of course some of you might think that I was totally out of line and should have kept my mouth shut as we all progress at different rates and that's totally fine. But right afterwards his rolls improved.
And along this vein of individual progress, one of the things I've been thinking about lately regarding my training is how solitary it is. Yes, I train with a great bunch of people. And we try to help each other through our training, sometimes giving a little push when needed, literally and figuratively. Sometimes when my sempai explain something to me I think I understand, but I'm still not able to apply what they're saying. There's no "lightbulb" moment. Over the years there have been lightbulb moments, but usually way after first hearing the explanation and after much practice. When I gain an understanding of something and an appropriate time presents itself to share this little grain of experience with my kohai I wonder, "Why don't you get it?" when they keep on doing what they've been doing.
There are a couple of yudansha who have taken to challenging me during training, but not in a bad way. There is a sandan who sometimes resists my pins. I have no problem with this at all. And feel that it's time for me to know if what I'm doing in a certain situation really is appropriate/right/works…etc. Sensei stood next to us watching me try to apply the kotegaishe omote pin, which I've probably done hundreds of times. The sandan was on his back. I had his hand in kotegaishe and had the inside of his elbow, but for the life of me I couldn't turn him over. Sensei talked me through it after watching me struggle and chuckled at the end saying, "This is good for you."