Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the
world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to
over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a
wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history,
humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.
If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced
features available, you will need to register first. Registration is
absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!
Ahhh. Made it to keiko today. These last few weeks have been probably the most stressful and mentally challenging for me in some 14 years or so. I'm reminded of Chekhov's quote that any idiot can face a crisis; it's the day to day living that wears a person out...throw in some crises and suddenly things can seem bleak, to put it mildly. I was inclined to share details, initially, but I'm chosing to stick to my more comfortable mode and just give this gist instead. Suffice to say I've been feeling unraveled this last month or so and it's seemed to culminate these last few days. The part I'll share is that I've been missing keiko considerably, so it was good to address that issue directly.
It's been freezing, so the mats were hard, but considering all the stresses I've been feeling lately, they were a warm welcome. Apart from getting some jiyuwaza in with Sensei, I trained only with the newer students. It was mostly a case of happenstance (I turned and bowed to whoever was next to me), but when I have been missing keiko I do tend to feel self-conscious about training with the more advanced students, like I might be wasting their time. In retrospect, I don't think I should think this way. I may not be particularly good or caught up on the particulars, but I will learn quicker training with them. That said, I had a great time and feel like I got a lot out of training with the newer students like I did.
Sensei had us doing some different warm-ups than I remember: a slightly different way of doing the standard forward breakfall, so the balls of the feet make contact with the mat; ame no tori fune undo was a little different; the new (?) happo undo was real fun, and Sensei drew a comparison to an aspect of it during katatetori ikkyo. As usual, we started with bokuto kata before moving on to taijutsu, which started with seiza kokyu ho. I really enjoyed a part where we gave a kokyu suppression from seigan into aite's rear corner, allowed aite to get a small bite, and then threw in the opposite direction...I believe it was sumiotoshi.
One part that stands out was doing bokuto in seiza, wherein we suppressed from seigan, connecting left hand to left hip and right hand to right hip; then, winding, trying to load up the other person onto the blade before cutting kesa simultaneously (ending up in "reverse" seigan), connecting right hand to left hip and left hand to right hip.
At some point in the past something clicked about how useful simply studying how to raise the blade can be and it was reinforced several times today. It's nice to feel that kind of compelling interest; to sense how something so apparently simple can in fact be so multi-faceted and to be drawn to studying it intently. I love being interested in things and after some of the apathy I've felt all I can say is learning is beautiful.
Keiko had an interesting feeling for me of being both freeing and forging, of relaxing and concentrating...and tiring in an invigorating way. At the end of jiyuwaza with Sensei, it took me a second to get up off the mat, I was breathing so hard. I needed that.
For a day that truly had so much that was sad and depressing, I still gotta say, "today was a good day."
Just so happens there's video of my exhausting bit of jiyu waza.