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Day one at Shoshin Aikido in Orlando
Shoshin was the second Dojo that I actually saw during my search for the ideal place to train. My best friend and I had decided to begin Aikido as soon as we felt we found the right place. After observing Shoshin and meeting everyone from class we were hooked. Sometimes when you meet a person you know instantly if you will get along or not. Well imagine meeting an entire Dojo of those whom you can get along with and you know why we chose Shoshin. The Sensei is Dan Linden. His life's story is an amazing one that you can get off the web site if you have the desire to. http://www.shoshindojo.com after reading about Dan and his life, and the Aikido principles I was sure he was going to be reserved in this formal atmosphere. In fact it was exactly the opposite. From the moment we stepped on the Dojo floor he was hand's on and helping my friend and I. Curtis was teaching the class and we stretched with the 6 others in the class, all experienced to at least yellow belts. After stretching was over we started with the fun stuff.
Let me start by telling everyone about the Dojo. Sensei Linden has built a large Dojo in his backyard. He has several acres of land and has beautiful Bamboo and various other plants lining the landscape. The Dojo has a roof and screens but otherwise is open to the elements. The day I started, August 4th, was one of the hottest days this year. The temperature had to be pushing 95 during the day. Some rain came through to cool the temp a bit but still the humidity made it very uncomfortable. I consider myself to be in very good shape. The gym 6 days a week, softball and beach volleyball every weekend keeps me very fit. I felt exhausted after class though.
My friend and I both got our Gi's from Curtis; he is the Dojo's financial manager. Mine fit well enough. I am 6'3" and 225. I wore a size 6. My friend had to wear a size 6 as well although is roughly 5'11" 170.
After we stretched with the class, Curtis took us to the side to show us some basic Ukemi(think that's right). Ukemi is the art of escape. This means how to role, fall, and move away from an attack without getting hurt. This is very important since in Aikido there is always a Nage(person doing to technique) and a Uke(person receiving the technique). The Uke must be able to receive the technique without getting injured. We began by doing backward rolls into a one-kneed stance. The progressed until we were standing, taking a step forward into a roll, completing the roll and returning to our feet. Sounds easy enough. While doing this there are several key rules to abide by. I have learned from years of experience in other ventures that doing the basics correct in the beginning with go a long way in making thing easier to do in the future. Baseball, Guitar, and bodybuilding are good examples this in my own experience. With this in mind I was focused on rolling properly. Sensei Linden was pleased with Me and my friend enough to let us use a technique to induce the roll from each other. My friend and I alternated being the Nage and Uke. We both felt completely uncoordinated at times but were thoroughly enjoying the experience. At this point of class, about an hour in, I had lost about 5lbs of water weight and began to really feel it. My Gi was soaked completely. I asked permission to leave the Dojo, bowed to O' Sensei and proceeded to drink several glassed of water. The last half hour or so was spent doing more balance techniques and using the center of balance to move the Uke off balance. Class seemed to fly by and before we knew it we were bowing out and relaxing.
After class everyone hung around for a half hour or so talking. Sensei Linden changed and came back outside to invite us to TGI Friday's. I already had plans to go to the gym so we declined. My friend and I lifted instead. I had to stop for a power bar and Gatorade before I could workout. Even with that I was still not up to my usual standards in the weight room. Next week we plan to attend the Thursday night meeting with everyone. Sunday is another day at the Dojo. We plan to attend on Tuesday's, Thursday's and Sunday's. In a few weeks I may attend on Wednesday as well. Well that's all for day one. After day one the thing sorest is my feet. I have a few blisters in top of my feet from all the Ukemi.