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Well, just back from fall camp. Things must have gone well, because I'm only wearing one brace (left knee) . The folks from Arizona Aikido did a great job setting everything up. And the weather couldn't have been better.
The experience of training with so many different people was great, but what did I take away? I guess time will tell, has MY aikido changed? Have I made progress that I wouldn't have realized if I had stayed home?
Everything was basics, something everyone, yudansha and mudansha can relate to and integrate more deeply into their aikido. From Sakakibara Sensei, I learned, "First your body moves, then your hand." We worked from static with only ki to keep uke connected. Next year I'm definitly going for the full camp (arrive thursday pm, train a full day Friday) . As I look back on it, think I was too excited and full of my own strength to really get the most out of his class. Veneziano Sensei spoke alot about finding the spiral in uke and following it. And if you think that might lead to a soft a twirly class, think again because, man, that lady runs a TOUGH class . In weapons in the afternoon, she taught a Bo kata adjusted for Jo, which I've already mostly forgotten . Well, I'll search for it on the web, maybe someone's posted the moves. During that class, most eveyone was in the main hall taking Sodeman Sensei's ukemi class. I probably should have been there too (ukemi is where I really do need to focus on improving), but I just couldn't resist the idea of playing with weapons with Veneziano Sensei . Ikeda Sensei taught twice on Saturday, -- bokken in the morning, on the mat in the afternoon. Now I'm a relative newbie, I knew a bit of Ikeda's reputation (didn't recognize him when I came to dinner Friday, feeling kinda mortified by that...) and now I know why people speak of him that way. He is a very gifted teacher. He speaks with quiet authority, but with passion and encouragement, and it always feels like he's speaking directly to YOU. So, Ikeda Senesi, what did I lean from you this weekend? I learned that I must value static training (which, it's true I do tend to dis it) because it reveals where my technique is weak; where I use strength or momentum to compensate for MY weakness. I will remember that without technique it all comes down to a wrestling match, which (being female) I generally won't win. I will remember to make every time perfect. Every cut, every tenkon, every waza -- whether I am practicing with someone my junior or my senior. Oh yes, and change myself. Change myself to take uke's balance, not change uke, or my circumstances. It's going to take a long time to learn to move my center/ki/one point the way he does (if ever... BIG if ever). But change myself -- I can remember that in many different areas of life. "That's Budo," he said.
So now I'm feeling spent, sore, and wish I were on the mat. It's always hard for me to leave the mountain top and return to everyday life. I wish I could study Bokken that way every day... sigh. I guess I'm going to have to look harder for a training partner.
I'm making plans to go again next year, and stay for the entire camp. What will I do differently next time... I need to be more agressive at finding a training partner on the mat. Plop down next to my chosen uke (one of the yudansha of course) and make eye contact after we rei before he/she can get away . Sort of an extension of the principle of controling the encounter before uke moves .I would prefer to bring someone from my home dojo too, but that's not really in my control. I wonder if I should consider what burning question I would like to hear answered/explained/demonstrated and make a nusience of myself with the senior teachers. I AM hungry. I just struggle with insecurity/pride. Insecurity in that I don't feel important enough to take up their time. Pride in that I don't want to be percieved as an annioying pest. I guess I'm going to have to decide if I am hungry enough to risk humiliation and rejection. I have a suspicion that THAT's part of Budo too.