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I went to bed early last night so I would be more awake for misogi shuho...it'll wake you all on its own, but I enjoy it more when I'm already wide awake. Driving north to the dojo I could see the morning mists still nestled in some of the valleys, complimenting the beautiful morning very nicely. As is so often the case, I was a little out of it. I had a hard time keeping in sync with things, even clapping too early at one point during hakushu, but once I hit the water the forced relaxation kicked in and the cold surface of my skin was envigorating. When I was a kid I was weird. I would take cold baths sometimes because I loved how relaxed, but alert I would feel. Misogi often reminds me of my childhood because of this association and I'm sure it's led to my affinity for it. As a skier, winter was my favorite season, and just as I loved being out in the brisk cold, I loved the warm cocoa or oatmeal that always went with it. Similarly, I loved the hojicha which followded today's misogi. I can still picture the swirling steam rising between my hands, which were eager to soak up the heat.
...it's the little things in life.
Anyhow, we went out into the haiden for chyohai (daily ceremony) and then outside onto the deck, which faces southward toward the sun and river, to practice the chinkon no gyo. One day I plan to learn this meditation more formally.
Before keiko we got a wonderful surprise! A fellow student I havent seen in probably 7 or more years dropped by unannounced from out of town. I so regret not making sure I got to practice with him! I was too busy focusing on the training and before I knew it class was over. I've always been impressed by this person and always had absolutely the most fun training with him so it was just good to see him. Sensei seemed almost beside himself with happiness to see him. It was a bright and sunshiney day all around!
The waza today for taijutsu was a request for a 5th kyu conditioning exercise: "morote dori irimi." We began by working on the morote dori attack, and then moved on to the irimi exercise before then adding what I believe was ikkyo. Sensei made a lot of corrections for me, but the one which stands out right now was his correction of my hand configuration. We use the tora no kuchi hand shape a lot (if not always) and I was overextending along my thumb line, which created a kind of kink in the ki-flow system from my forearm.
Ok done writting. I'm finding myself with huge amounts of enthusiasm for training as a result of today's events so I'm going to go out and play Samurai Matt now.