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I teach Aikido at a small dojo in Winnipeg, Canada. Been doing so for many years now. This blog is just a collection of ruminations on teaching, descriptions of the events of daily practice, and the occasional funny story.
Ha hah! The Ikkyu Curse has finally been broken! I now have two Ikkyu-ranked students in my dojo! Took bloody long enough! (No fault of my students, of course) I have come very close in the past to having students ranked to this level, but one of them contracted a heart infection that ended up requiring five open heart surgeries to remedy and the other fell in love and moved to the States. The nerve of these guys, eh? What happened to these two produced the "Ikkyu Curse": A half-joking, half-serious, superstitious idea that attempting to obtain the rank of Ikkyu in my dojo would be prevented by injury or some significant life change. Well, nuts to that! Jamie and Jeremy have just put that superstition finally and permanently to rest.
Since turning forty (I'm forty-one now) my body has begun to complain about my past hard use of it. I used to powerlift and did a lot of slam-bang Aikido practice when I was younger. I herniated a disc (L5-S1) in my early thirties and damaged my left shoulder rotator tendons pretty badly five years ago. I also sustained a mid-spine injury (just below my shoulder blades) from a heavy squat gone awry when I was in my early twenties. Until recently, this old injury hasn't bothered me a bit. Now, however, its giving me some grief.
I mention all this because I had to take ukemi for Jeremy's Ikkyu test. I have taken pains to maintain as much limberness as possible, but, regardless, my ukemi is not what it once was. Prior to his test, Jeremy and I worked together trying to take the slack out of his technique. I let him throw me pretty vigorously for most of the morning. By the time the test was to occur, I was starting to run out of gas and my body was protesting all the break falls I was taking. Jeremy was pumped for his test and threw strongly during it. I was doing okay, though. At one point, however, he was attempting to do morotedori koshinage and I just "brain farted." I couldn't think how to take ukemi for the technique. My shoulder was killing me and my back was protesting loudly and I just blanked on the form of the fall. Twice he attempted the koshinage and twice I just froze up! Ah! I felt like such an idiot! And poor Jeremy was thinking it was all his fault. Ugh! What a mess! I finally did a sort of jump over Jeremy and ignominiously fell on the floor. The rest of the test I was able to take ukemi okay, but I finished feeling tired, sore, and quite embarrassed.
Oh, what I would give for the indestructible body of my twenties! This getting old thing sucks!
In the end, however, I am very delighted to have Jamie and Jeremy attain Ikkyu. I'm happy to have contributed - aches and pains and all - to their success. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue to contribute in the same way to their pursuit of shodan!