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Aiki-Log -- Class #19
Thursday, September 30, 2004 -- 7:30pm
I found out why so many people showed up early for last night's class. The clock in the dojo was 25 minutes slow. The battery must need replacing. Since nobody noticed, we were all just using the "extra" mat time before class. That also explains why I was able to get exposure to so many techniques. Of course, that also explains why I got home so much later than expected.
SENSEI'S BROKEN BOKKEN
While warming up before class (the youth class was in session, as is usual on Monday's and Thursday's) I heard Sensei speaking. He was giving one of our 7th kyus a personal "make a lasting impression" lessons. I didn't see what led up to it, but Sensei was repeatedly striking very hard against their "house-roof" bokken block, telling them to just stand there and hold the block position. Each strike got harder as he said "There… do you still think I'm going to be able to hit you?" After about 5 or so VERY solid strikes… Ka-POW-clak-clatter. Sensei's bokken broke off about 2 feet from the end of his weapon. He kept striking until he had made his point: "The roof block doesn't look very strong, but it is very capable of protecting you from powerful strikes. Trust it." I think EVERYONE got that lesson! That bokken was custom made for Sensei by Norbert Sensei with a very dark, heavy wood. The shattered end was almost as dark as the exterior stain. It was a beautiful weapon. I believe it died honorably.
We had test prep again. Everyone was paired up so I didn't have anywhere to float to. I decided to hang out by the 7th kyus prepping for their 6th kyu test. There were 3 of them, so I joined in their group and uke'd. I did a bit of shite, but I didn't want to slow them down since I wasn't fluent in the techniques. I like to get in the mix, though, since I'm 6' 2" and have Gumby syndrome. They get a chance to adjust their techniques to my physique and learn more that way. We were all really glad I joined in.
Sensei ended class with some goshin-jitsu inspired techniques. The pins were VERY uncomfortable. Goodness all around. They were quick, easy and very effective. Just the kind of break everyone needed.
I've decided that I need to strengthen my upper back. My Gumby syndrome is convenient, sometimes, but my back bones (ribs, scapula, spine, etc.) have reached a state of constant discomfort. All I have to do is one or two rolls or back break falls and I'm sore for about 2 days. If I simply lie flat on the mat and relax, everything comes loose and slides apart. It hurts enough that I think I'll be taking an ukemi hiatus until I can snug things up with a strengthening regimen. I have the equipment at home. Now I have another really good reason to use it, besides being overweight (down to 197 from 215) and having high triglycerides (208).
MY NEXT (FIRST) TEST
Sensei finally had a chance to speak with Kevin Blok Shihan about my testing situation. The official decision is that I will test (next time around, not this coming Wednesday) to reestablish my current rank of 7th kyu. I'll do all the tests for 9th, 8th and 7th. This is how they typically handle someone returning from an extended aiki-absence. I'm a little bummed that I won't be testing for 6th kyu, but I'm really glad that we've got it figured out. I like having a plan. I should be really ready when I test, since I'm almost ready now just from helping everyone else prep for their tests.