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Last weeks class wasn't too bad. The classes weren't as intense as they have been lately. For those of you who aren't aware, Oregon has/had several forest fires going on. Since we live in a valley, the smoke from the 2 local fires just laid in the valley. Because the smoke in the air really aggravates the lungs, class has been more relaxed. Tuesday's class was fairly easy. I walked in to find my frienemey was back on break from school. I didn't know they had a break this soon, but she was back for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday classes. Since there was smoke in the air and it was hot from the fires, sensei decided to have us work on blending exercises. These were quite helpful and I enjoy working on them. The only throws we actually did were soto kaitenage and kokyunage. For kaitenage, sensei used me as uke. Sensei started off easy, but soon he was using hip to get me to fly through the roll. Things were going good…. until they weren't. HAHA. One time he threw me and as I was in the air, I could feel myself out of position for the roll. I don't know how it happened; all I knew was that the landing would hurt unless I got myself back into position. I could tell that I was going to land on my shoulder if I did something, so my main goal was to get my shoulder out of harms way. Well, I successfully got my shoulder out of the way and did an awkward roll. I knew it must have looked bad because sensei looked at me with concern and said "Is your shoulder okay!?!" I got up and smiled (mainly because I was not injured at all, but also out of embarrassment for such an awful roll), stated that I was not injured and grabbed his wrist for him to throw me some more. Sensei threw me a few more times, but these were a bit slower. HAHA. After class I told my husband that the roll must have looked pretty bad for sensei to be so concerned. (When asked if I can do something, sensei tells them "She can take care of herself." I know he means this as a compliment to me and that he thinks highly enough of my ukemi that I am capable of taking care of myself) With a smile on his face, my husband told me the roll looked really bad and that it looked more like a side roll beginners do. I could not help but laugh at that comment (as I have been doing forward rolls since 1999 in my previous style). In all seriousness though, despite the fact that my roll was horrendous looking, I am proud of myself that I was able to realize I was out of position and instead of panicking and injuring myself, I somehow managed to get out of my own way enough to do a roll that kept me safe. It may not have been a picturesque roll, but their purpose is to help you land safely and that is just what I did.
For kokyunage I worked with the previously mentioned frienemy. Well, while working on the technique this person kept elbowing me in the throat. It didn't really hurt, but it was feeling rather uncomfortable, especially when I could feel things moving around in my throat that shouldn't be. Well, I didn't think anything of it and went on to the tai chi class after. Well, on our way home I realized that my throat was beginning to hurt. At first I thought that maybe I was getting sick because it felt an awful lot like the two times I have had a major throat infection over the course of my life. I pulled out a flashlight when I got home and inspected my throat. It was all red and aggravated looking. I felt my throat and it wasn't swollen, but the right side of my throat by my trachea was quite tender to the touch. The next day it was a bit worse and my voice was a bit harsh. I took some spray and cough drops with me to help sooth my throat. I determined that it was a throat injury from class and not an infection. My next decision was to decide if I wanted to go to the doctor. I decided that I didn't need to go at this time. I could talk and swallow (though a bit painful), the redness was going away and I wasn't bleeding at all. I figure if it got any worse, then I would go to the doctor. Just a bit of an update, my throat is still a bit tender, but overall, it is doing so much better. I guess my trachea, esophagus and larynx or whatever else just got compressed and maybe grinded a bit.
Wednesday was the worst! The smoke was really heavy in the valley. There are two major fires about an 1 ½ hour away from us. The wind changed and brought the smoke into the valley and it just laid here. It isn't uncommon that things like this happen. Air gets stuck in our valley sometimes and then we have a "Stagnant Air Warning" and they tell you two try to not do anything outdoors requiring too much exertion. All you could smell was smoke and you couldn't even see the mountains surrounding the valley anymore. In fact, it was quite similar (maybe a bit worse) to a VERY foggy morning…. except this fog was brown. Uck. Our sempai decided to keep the windows closed for class that day because our throats would be raw by breathing the smoke. The only problem is we don't have air conditioning in our dojo. With the windows closed, there was no airflow and it quickly became sauna-like. To help us be a little cooler, sempai told us to think of the class more as a study session then a regular class. He kept telling us to slow things down and really analyze what you are doing. We mainly worked on ikkyo from katatedori and morotedori, but we also did a few other things like jujinage. Despite our efforts to stay cool, everyone was sweating, including me (and I don't really sweat much). Pretty soon, the heavy sweaters in class had the mat covered. It got to the point that when I was thrown, I would do my best not to let my face touch the mat because I didn't want to have my face in someone else's puddle of sweat. Gross! Haha.
Sensei showed up near the end of class and immediately noticed how hot it was in the dojo. Sempai explained to him why the windows were closed. Sensei told us to open up the windows anyway for the next class. Although the smoke quickly came into the dojo and that was all you could smell, the breeze/cooler air felt so great that none of us complained. The second hour we worked with the bokken and did partnered work. For the most part, I did alright, but I was getting quite frustrated near the end of the class. My partner (a sandan) was just making my frustration level worse. Sensei had showed us how to do our roles step by step. Eventually, we switched roles but sensei didn't show us step by step how to do the other persons role. Well, I had a hard time figuring out what I was supposed to do without doing it once step by step. At one point, I just stood there trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. He asked me "Where is the next logical place to attack me?" I replied "To your head." to which he responded "No." I then stood there for a while and he finally said in frustration "You attack shomen!" Hhhmm…. Is shomen not the head? This frustrated me a bit because he told me I was wrong and I wasn't'. I guess it is partly my fault because I didn't say shomen and I know there are more then one way to attack the head, but maybe a better question for him to ask after I said the head would have been "Where on the head?" Anywho, I was working with him the entire class since sensei wanted us to remain with the same partners for a change. I could tell he was getting frustrated with me, which just made me more frustrated.
I don't really recall the exact details of the other classes of the week, but I do know we worked on the following again outside of Tuesday's and Wednesday's class: ikkyo, shihonage, kotegaeshi, kokyuho and sumiotoshi. For these we either did them from katatedori, yokomenuchi and tsuki. All in all, this week was a good week and I feel like I did alright. I could have done better on some things, but I have only been training for almost 7 months… so I guess I can't have everything down. Having something down would be nice though. HAHA.
Things to remember/work on:
1.) Remain close to uke for jujinage
2.) Settle at the end of kokyunage
1.) Wrist (Almost healed! I am now doing class without tape)
3.) Left calf muscle (not sure if I hit it on nages knee or my own during ukemi…..)