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When I arriveda the dojo yesterday, there were quite a number of people on the mats. This week marks the beginning of the Summer Kenshusei, so the mats are going to be quite full for the next month.
It was intimidating looking at a group of younger students, full of life, with many colors of belts tumbling around the mats. There was me, in a white tee and sweatpants, with no dogi. The dojo still doesn't have any in stock in my size. I suspect I'll have to order one online very soon. I don't particularly relish the thought of that heavy jacket in the heat, but I'm certain training in the dogi will feel different from a tee and sweats.
It was even more intimidating when I had to roll across the length of the dojo in front of everyone. My rolls aren't horrible, and I can keep them pretty straight, but I still have to think about it quite a bit. When I lose concentration I sound like a flat tire rolling down the street. Thumpa-thumpa-thump.
A fellow student told me not to worry about being slow. It gave him a chance to take a break...
This was my first class with Garza Sensei and I couldn't have had more fun. He kept the conversation light and to the point, even recounting a story or two about Toyoda Shihan. He's a very good humored man who seems to really enjoy what he does on the mats.
However, the real reason I enjoyed class was because I had the chance to work with so many people who are much more advanced than I am. Everyone I worked with had a tip or a suggestion on how to position myself, and they were all different sizes and heights.
Rather quickly I learned that the taller the uke, the more I must step out of the line. But that comes with a trade off because depending on the hold, sometimes you need to get back in quite close. It's almost like I kept trying to picture the response a couple different ways in my head to determine my footwork before uke approached.
We did a lot of different ikkyo and nikkyo pins, and with the 95 degree heat, the mats soon became wet with perspiration. I haven't described the smell of the dojo because this is a public blog and I don't want to offend. However, since I've brought it up, elephantine seems an apropos description.
Having trained in many of Toyoda Sensei classes for the last two weeks, I was used to the Zen breathing exercise he did at the end of class. I found myself missing that with Garza Sensei.
Originally I planned to stay for the second and final class of the evening, but the heat and the fact that every part of me was wet made me decide to go home.
I will definitely be back on Wednesday evenings to learn more from Garza Sensei. I'll just have to do the Zen thing on my own.
Tonight, weapons with Erickson Sensei, and maybe sitting in on the 6 week intro.