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I have been struggling to come up with something to write lately. Aikido is going like "normal", but life? Life is getting….. complicated. As of this moment, my family is in a bit of a crisis. I won't go into details because it is personal, but quite frankly I doubt that any of you are interested in hearing about it. With the holiday season upon us, I have begun to slip into a bit of a scrooge mentality. Truthfully, I am a bit over the holiday season this year. Too many things going on and if I could, I would put the holiday season on the backburner. Since I can't do that, I just push myself to do what is expected of me. I know that at some point during this "most wonderful time of the year" that a smile will come to my face and I will have a good time, but until then, I will stay as I am. Don't worry though, I am not depressed or anything. Been there, done that.
Anywho, since this is an aikido blog, I guess I will get back to the topic. We have a couple new people in the dojo. For this blog, I will call the new guy "Larry". I'm not sure if Larry has any previous martial arts experience or not, but what I can say is that he is VERY stiff. I have worked with him a few times over the past couple weeks. The first time I worked with him we were doing ikkyo and nikyo. Let's just say that he has an iron grip and that moving him is like moving a rock. I was able to do the technique provided I used good technique (which is a good thing to be challenged in this way). When I got him to the mat for nikyo, I was not able to get my grabbed wrist free. My wrist is a tiny 5" circumference, so most people can easily grab and hold onto me. No matter what I tried (yes, I went against the thumb), I could not free myself. Anyway, that didn't really bother me too much. I know I could have easily hauled off and punched him in the kidney, head, etc and he would have let go. I'm capable of being an aggressive person if necessary (though you probably wouldn't guess it by my mild mannered action in aikido). Throw me into a more aggressive style and I love it. Anyway, it did bug me that I wasn't able to release my wrist with an effortless and painless (for uke) method. Instead, I ended up with horrible bruising on my forearms due to his grip. Guess this will come with more practice though. Not too worried about it.
Saturday was a fun class. The class was about half yudansha and half lower rankers. We did a lot of things. We worked on a lot of things for those who are testing for 1st kyu. Some of the things are over my head, but I still appreciate the challenge. It is always nice to be introduced to something new. The great thing about it is that I feel like there is no pressure. I am not expected to get it. Yesterday's class was pretty mild because we had Larry there. The class was basically based around the concept and use of irimi. We worked on: jodan, gedan & chudan variations of tai no henko, ryotedori kokyuho & tenchinage and gyaku hanmi iriminage. Sensei had me work with Larry for both gyaku hanmi iriminage and for ryotedori kokyuho. He was allowed to throw me, but I was only to take him to the point of where his balance was taken. We were working on the high version of iriminage. I was able to get my hand up towards his face by using my center, but after cutting his arm, I was having problems again with getting my wrist free. I wasn't able to move behind him until I freed my hand. Sensei came over and was able to show me how to move my hand to get it free. Once I got that, I was able to do the technique once again.
When it came time to work with Larry for ryotedori kokyuho, sensei came over and showed Larry how to do it again and showed me how far he wanted me to take Larry in the technique. Larry did pretty well on this technique for a first time. I helped guide his stiff arms as best as I could in order to get him in the correct position. He seems eager to learn. I think sensei partnered me with him in case he threw me a bit hard. I guess he figures I can handle being tossed around. Another reason may be that he wants me to work on correct form and I am forced to do that when working with Larry because he is so stiff and rigid. At the end of class, he told me and my husband thank you for training with him. I found that rather nice. There are several other people in the dojo that he should be thanking instead of me. After all, I don't have too much to offer him at this point, but I appreciated it none the less.
After tai chi, a lady asked me and my husband if there was proper etiquette when it came to leaving the dojo. We both told her no. She was telling us that she enjoyed watching us do aikido (tai chi immediately follows aikido) and that she admired our prowess. I couldn't help but giggle and I told her that I certainly did not feel like I had any prowess at all. She said she thought it was neat how we could all be thrown and pop right back up for more. She then went on to say that she never had an interest in martial arts before, but has discovered that it is such a personal journey that she finds herself loving it more and more. That, I could completely agree with. Aikido is such a personal journey for me. I have people who walk with me at times, but ultimately, I am walking this long road all on my own.