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My dogi arrived yesterday. I wanted to rip open the packages and try it all on, but I was at work and didn't think that idea was too wise. So I anxiously made my way home a bit early and ran up the stairs.
It was far more lightweight than I expected but the fabric seems very sturdy. I ordered the 8.5oz Bujin jacket but the 12oz pants. After one wash (and 30 minutes in the dryer) it was supple and comfortable. I tried to tie the belt but I really couldn't get it right. I'd have to wait for someone to show me.
On Saturday I made my way to the dojo way early to practice moving around in the uniform as best as I could. After asking five people how to tie the obi (more techniques are always better) I finally got a working system. Being in a true uniform on the mats heightened my awareness right away. It was like someone flipped a switch on.
Seiza is so much more comfortable in the dogi pants. Perhaps their stiffness helps, I'm not sure. In any case, the first class went by quickly and I found myself able to roll a bit better in the dogi than I had been in a plain shirt.
The second class was dedicated to kyu testing. There is a kyu test next weekend, but I'm a bit too green to test right now. I know the basic footwork for all three techniques we're expected to do, and the ki testing won't be a problem for me. But I'm not fluid yet and I feel like I'm thinking too much about the movements. Only for a brief moment during a previous practice was I able to relax enought to really let it flow. That's what I really need to work on...allowing myself to relax and extend ki.
At the end of class Toyoda Sensei did a practice kyu test and had some people doing the tests for 6th kyu and 5th kyu. It was fascinating to watch. I'm looking forward to the big testing ceremony next week at Ryoshinkan.
When I removed my uniform after class I was a little sad. It meant that the lessons, at least the ones learned in the dojo, were over for the day. I can say with a lot of confidence that it made a difference for me. Perhaps not a physical one, but I think the process of putting it on mentally prepared me for class.
I'm looking forward to the next time I can put it back on and get out on the mats.