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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb AikiBlogs > Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 820,756

In Miscellaneous Some Big Skirts to Fill Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #260 New 03-11-2010 07:06 PM
There are yards of black cotton crumpled at my feet and my hands are getting tangled in the long, twisted straps. I know I've been shown how to do this before, but still I sneak confused glances at the diagram beside me. I'm sure that I got the front half done okay but can't seem to figure out the rest.

I'm convinced that the directions are missing a step. That is, unless the illustrator meant to convey what I remember from a t-shirt my ex-husband used to wear that had a cartoon of two physicists in front of a chalkboard on which is written parts of an elaborate formula on either side and "then a miracle occurs" between them. I think the caption below it said something about needing to be more explicit in part two...

But there's no time to waste - I'd been struggling with the blasted thing for some time already. It had taken several minutes to tighten the stiff new black belt and I barely managed to shove the pleated front panel underneath it, all because I didn't think to keep a bit of slack to make room for the extra fabric. I'm regretting now my half-joking parting words to Sensei as I left for the changeroom:
"See you after class" - and wonder if that fabled Murphy is listening, adding this to his list of "Laws". I'm even starting to take somewhat seriously a quip I'd made that I would just tie the straps like suspenders if I couldn't figure it out.

It is clear to me that I am losing the battle against this new foe and would have to concede defeat -- at least for now. I gather up what folds I can and waddle back into the dojo like a duckling wading through dark, canvas waters.

"Heeelllp..." is all I can muster, somewhat embarrassed at the indignity of my state of dress (or lack thereof), not to mention my lack of decorum. Sensei graciously takes out his own hakama and -- almost just like he's done with technique for the past seven years -- instructs me, step by step.

Finally, after several more minutes of impatient poking, prodding, tugging and silent, desperate pleading (why, oh why did I not leave more room under the belt?), the darn thing is on and secure. I look down at my crooked, lumpy obi with the knots sticking out slightly underneath, and then at Sensei's neat, bow tie-like one...and sigh.

"You'll get the hang of it," he reassures me.

By this time, everyone has already started warming up. I take a couple of minutes to test out some ukemi in my new garb -- first the rocking motion, then some standing backward and forward rolls. So far, so good.

But the canvas rustles loudly every time I move and sticks out sideways a fair bit like only marginally soft cardboard; I am, in essence, an oversized black and white bell.

"I think I've got a half-dozen Southern debutantes under me," I remark at the grins of the others when they hear me Shikko-ing from a mile away. I look forward to the day it'll all soften up and drape properly, instead of feeling like Scarlett O'Hara or a Disney Princess or something.

Yet part of me supposes that all this bother isn't quite so bad, really. Even after all the fussing about. There is a kind of regality I feel while ensconced within the garment that wasn't there before. The koshita behind me immediately becomes a tell-tale measure of my posture, its presence reminding me to keep my back straight. Folks start commenting that the hakama makes my movements look more graceful.

I am certain that it is just an illusion brought on by the subtle sway of the fabric, which catches the eye when it trails behind me as I turn. Still, I imagine how I must look when I breakfall, black wings splayed out and turning through the air - a small, dark bird in a swooping glide onto the mat. Illusion or not, I find myself standing taller, taking greater care to move more precisely - conscious of it swirling around my ankles, of its new weight upon me. And I wonder to myself whether wearing the hakama is really an indicator of how much I have learned and grown, or if it is more the hakama itself that I am learning to grow into.
Views: 2102 | Comments: 2

RSS Feed 2 Responses to "Some Big Skirts to Fill"
#2 03-16-2010 11:55 AM
jducusin Says:
Yeah, consider it a kind of aiki-lederhosen...
#1 03-12-2010 12:29 PM
Rob Watson Says:
Himo as suspenders! I'm going to have to try that one. Brilliant.

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