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After years of wanting to learn a martial art and with a very little understanding of Aikido, I finally started last month.
This blog is for me to look back and see how my journey began and to record my thoughts.
I can't really put my finger on why, but tonight I had the best training session since I began aikido (ironic because last week was by far my worst!).
I'm not sure if it was different just for me, or whether something about the session was different. We had a chap I haven't met before who was a real pleasure to train with - full of energy both personally and in technique. I wanted to run back to the line to be uke, I was absolutely bouncing. Technique seemed much more sincere tonight, the techniques were related to their martial history (samurai and swords)... just... everything was great!
At the end of training I wanted to hug all the aikidoka I was so full of positive energy.
Phew, that's what I want from my training. Brilliant!
Well tonight's session was great. The rolls are coming much more naturally now although I still watch Sensei to see how he makes them look so graceful and smooth. Even the noise his rolls make sounds right, just a swoosh of cloth.
I correctly remembered the meaning of yokomenuchi as opposed to shomenuchi.
Then something interesting happened.
During ikkyo with myself as uke I felt that if I went to the floor it was because I knew I should, not because the technique was working correctly. Instead of dropping neatly at the right time I simply continued round in the circle. At which point Nage increased speed and energy and virtually spun me off my feet onto the mat, I banged my knee in the process and it's still stiff now.
I'm still assimilating what happened. I apologised to Sensei after the session, as I felt responsible for forcing Nage to increase the efficiency of his attack. Now I'm not sure though, maybe it was more a 50/50 split of responsibility. I thought I was helping Nage by encouraging him to use correct techniqe, but I think he was being careful of me due to my inexperience.
Maybe I created a situation where he was forced to use more powerful technique than I was ready to handle.
I don't know, but it is something to think about. There is a lesson there, at least one.
Well tonight was interesting.
My fifth time on the mat, and our usual Sensei was unable to attend so we had someone new (to me).
It was interesting to have the same exercises shown and explained by someone else. It wasn't better, just helped me see some things from a different angle. I felt like I made reasonable progress with my ukemi tonight, apart from a couple of forward rolls where I came down quite heavy on my hip. The backward rolls are coming along nicely though.
I also learned something about ikkyo. A lady at the dojo always, and I mean always gets me to drop to one knee when she takes the arm over. It doesn't hurt, but you just go down. My ikkyo seemed to require a lot of force on the arm to make the uke go down. I learned not to grab the wrist, and to take the back of the hand and sort of bend the elbow and voila, uke on one knee.
As usual I come home and am amazingly calm and (for want of a better word) harmonious.
I am loving this training, the atmosphere, the philosophy and the way it makes me feel afterward. Looking forward to next week already!
Just a quick post as it's getting late here.
Tonight I had a breakthrough in my ukemi - I actually managed to do some without thudding my hip on the mat!
It's small fry in the grand scheme of things, but it's been really bothering me that I was struggling. I followed sensei's instructions, and then let my body do it's thing without too much thinking about it and ta-dah! Ukemi!
In fact during one technique I rolled and it felt very natural.
I'm very, very pleased with this little breakthrough, now all I need to do is learn to keep my balance properly during Shomen Uchi!
It's always daunting to begin to record your thoughts, so I'll start nice and easy with a little about me and how I came to be posting here.
I'm 35 and until this year have always been somewhat overweight. For years I had wanted to have knowledge of a martial art without ever really knowing why. Probably an early viewing of The Karate Kid is to blame. It's also probably Mr Miyagi's fault that I have an appreciation of the japanese arts. Gardens, bonsai, the concepts of honour and etiquette all appeal to me.
For just over two years I was a restorer of antique japanese art, particularly metalwork. I was always amazed by the simple beauty of the work, the concealed layers of complexity in the seamingly easy. Haiku and the tsuba I restored show this concept well. Forcing the unlimited artistic talent to create something so confined and controlled, then breaking the limitations with skill and imagination. Some work was simply breathtaking.
This year I realised that many of my insecurities and the cause of my unhappiness was rooted in my weight. I was far too concerned with what other people thought of me because I didn't believe in myself. I realised I had to come to terms with me and to take control of my life. I watched what I ate, went to the gym and set myself some goals. One of which was to begin a martial art.
Three months later and 28lbs lighter I tried my first Kung Fu lesson. My son has been studying for 3 years (we wanted to assist his self-confidence, he wa