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Well, 2012 has been a year of renewal for me. I resumed a vague semblance of consistency to my training. I averaged < 1 day/week mat time, but began a much more consistent personal effort, never mind my ignorant attempts at solo work, which have been more or less every day. This Christmas Eve finds me as usual in Spokane, where I tried to shovel snow "properly." My lower back tells me I failed miserably, but such is life; onward and upward, ne?
2012 has felt very much like the end of an older life. Some of the stuff I started writing about on this blog finally started to come into fruition; I've been looking at my issues more in terms of a past era than of a present situation. Not that my years of depression don't still affect me, but it has been a very reflective time for me and the impression I have at present is of moving on. Just as I started reading my older blog posts, I dug up some old journals from high school, college (the First Drop-Out Period), and my early 20's. It was depressing...very depressing. The repetitive nature of what I had to say; the desperate grasping for something Good and Great; the incredibly young voice trying to be an old wise soul I read in my words brought back a lot of things, some of it remembered differently than what I wrote...Life's a trip. I often think that where we lack "real" problems, our minds manufacture them for us; like a well-crafted sword that creates burs along its edge when it runs out of things to cut, we must polish it ceaselessly, especially in times of relative peace and ease.
keiko was awesome. It's my realignment therapy: I go in feeling very isolated stretches and come out feeling those stretches broaden into something a little more whole-body in feel. I was able to make some of the corrections my sensei and sempai offered to me, which always feels like an accomplishment. Making them automatic will be more difficult of course, but that's the "path" isn't it?
We worked on ai hanmi katate tori irimi ura, which is one of my favorites (i.e. I'm more familiar with it; it feels closer to being second nature). After bokuto practice we always start off with suwari kokyuho (fairly sure that's the formal classification), then do the requested form, then some variations or similar movements. We ended up finishing with an irimi nage form that uses a double atemi, but it was done in kata form, emphasizing 6 basic steps along the continuum.
Sensei as usual gave me a great workout in the form of jiyuwaza. I get the impression that part of the reason behind all the jiyuwaza I get is to really help me catch up. I cannot help but feel greatful; it's a precious experience for me. Afterward I had to go get a drink of water because after being sick so much of the autumn (literally been sick or recovering from being sick since late august), I'm just not able to keep going as well as I'd like. The sincerity and accuity of attention sensei demands is at the center of what I like so much about training with him. My perception is that keiko "works" based on the cultivation of sincerity; that sincerity drives our accuities and pervades everything we do; and that when I train at Tsubaki Kannagara Jina, I come away with renewed sincerity that makes the other things I do just a little bit better. My responses are generally swifter and more accurate; more efficient...and this is true whether I'm playing Virtua Fighter, writing poetry, or playing with my kids. And as I sit here thinking of all this, it creates an echo of it in my mind that I will try to hold on to as I enjoy this Christmas time, this time of gathering together to enjoy bonds of family and prepare for the coming of the new year.
"Bright and shining."
Mind grasping at the sword of form
speaks in rasps at the fumbled shorn
but through the rythm it comes to calm
to quiet the fight and sing along
sigh and straighten
awaken and smile
let fly the breeze of easy makin'
and live the dream a while
Rinse and repeat
repeat and rinse
hone the bone from head to feet
and seat the soul upon the throne.
Jewel like the stars above
shining and bright
through darkness of night
I throw more fuel into the stove.