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It almost seems like a dream. I can recall bits and pieces, but the whole idea of it all is just…. foggy. Its as if I am trying to recall something that happened after I have fallen and hit my head or passed out. Those moments leading up to and immediately after are always fuzzy.
Thursday three of us were set to test for fourth kyu. Originally, four of us were set to test, but sensei promoted one a couple days prior based on merit. In fact, that person happens to be my hubby. He was promoted to 3rd kyu. I couldn't be happier for him and I know that he really wasn't interested in testing. After a conversation, sensei decided that he could skip testing and bumped him up from 5th kyu to 3rd.
The other three of us weren't so lucky as to skip the testing process, so we showed up Thursday, ready whether we liked it or not. I left the house ten minutes earlier, thinking it would give me more time to calm down, but it turns out I got there the same time as usual. Traffic was determined to make my buffer time disappear altogether.
I changed as quickly as I could and went up to the dojo. My brief moments of solitude were dashed when I realized a couple other people were already in the dojo. I started stretching and just trying to calm my nerves. One of the yudansha came in and jokingly asked me "What are you testing for? 2nd kyu?" I laughed and then mentioned that I was testing for 6th kyu.
Sensei came in shortly after and the yudansha asked sensei if I w
Started Aikido: March 3, 2009
Date 5th kyu obtained: November 5, 2009
Date 4th kyu obtained: December 9, 2010
Number of students tested: 3 (2 males, 1 female)
Number of students passed: 3
Number of uke's utilized: 3 on rotation (I seemed to go through uke's quicker then the others….)
Total hours trained since 5th kyu: 268.5
Total hours trained in Aikido: 418
Total hours trained in Iaido: 109
Total hours trained in Tai Chi: 42
Most hours trained in one week: 7 ½ (Aikido), 14 (Total)
Most hours trained in one month: 32.9 (Aikido), 41 (Total)
Number of seminars attended: 1
Number of journal entries: 75 (Including this one)
Class this week has been rather interesting. With the influx of new students, things have dropped down a gear or two. Usually, I would prefer things to ramp up for a test, but this time, I find myself enjoying the pace. My theme song for this week is "Slow Ride". Because of that, how can I not take it easy? This lower gear doesn't mean I am taking things any easier. Instead, I find myself focusing on some simple details, such as balance, using my center and really trying to use my hand as a blade of a sword and really activating my wrists. Although I am not really making great headway on either of these, I am becoming more aware of just how little I use or have all of these.
Wednesday, for the second hour of class it was all yudansha again. Well, all except for me. It was a great class. We did some variations of things that I haven't or have rarely done. It was actually nice to do something that did not directly involve techniques on my test. Sure, you could always find some similarities, but they weren't the exact technique or the same variation that is being asked of me. It makes it easier to unwind and just enjoy the moment. We were constantly on the move and it was a great cardio workout. I am certain I burned off the cinnamon-apple donut I ate earlier that day.
Yesterday I had trial, so I was tromping around town in my heels. They are actually quite comfy since I broke them in a while ago, but with my injured foot…. the right foot varied between u
I strive to attend class on my regular days (Tues, Weds, Thurs & Sat) as often as possible. Well, this past weekend, I was pulled away due to the nature of my job. While I was away, my teacher decided to drop a bomb. To some, this "bomb" may be more like a celebratory thing… like fireworks, but to me, this "bomb" might as well have annihilated the entire dojo. He announced that four people will be testing for fourth kyu on December 9th. I guess I really shouldn't be that surprised. He has said tests were coming for the past six months, but now that the date is set, the finality of it all has me taken aback
As I sit and look over the fourth kyu techniques, some I feel quite comfortable with, yet there are others I can't recall at all. No matter how much I imagine someone grabbing me, I can't for the life of me recall how to do them. Some of them require a variation (like jodan), which also leaves me with more questions. I mean, I know one is low, one is middle and one is high, but some of the finer details are lost to me at the moment. On top of it all, I only have less then two weeks to remedy this situation.
I think this test will be slightly different then my last one (techniques aside). I know I will be hit with anxiety when I step on the mat, but failure is not on the list this time. Or at least… failure won't be on my mind until he is about to tell us if we pass or fail. With this test, the actual quality of the test is what is weighing on my mind.
Well, if that is the case, then this video of me is enough to easily write a five paragraph essay, if not more on what NOT to do. When I first watched this video of me at the weapons seminar I attended a couple of months ago (which feels like eons ago by the way), I was excited that I happened to be captured in this clip and was put in this month's edition of Biran (Birankai newsletter). Since my first viewing, my elation has disappeared and instead, a bitter taste is left in my mouth. I compare it to sitting down and thinking you are about to eat a perfectly ripe banana, but after you take a big bite, you realize that the bitter taste left in your mouth is because you have a mouthful of peel instead.
Despite myself, I continue to shove the banana peel in my mouth and endure the bitterness with each time I hit the "replay" button on the video. With each viewing, I am reminded just how inadequate my technique is and I seem to find something else wrong every time I watch it. I find my thoughts going from happiness to "Ugh… why did they have to put ME in the clip! Out of three days of filming, you chose THIS!?!?!" In this clip, I am mostly surrounded by yudansha who are gliding across the mats like swans on a placid lake and their bokken's are cutting through the air with the gracefulness of a sakura blossom that has leapt from the branches and is descending towards its final resting place. Then, you realize that something is pulling your attention away from all this
As the 90 degree days slowly turn cooler and crisper, I can't avoid the fact that another season has passed me by. Gone are the days of smelling fresh cut grass. Instead, the smell of leaves makes me want to cuddle up in a sweater and cozy up by a roaring fire with a good book. Or, at least I would if I actually HAD a fireplace in my house. This time last year I was ramping up for my fifth kyu test. Come November 5th, I will have reached my first anniversary of earning my fifth kyu. It doesn't seem like I have been at this rank for a year, but the calendar doesn't lie….
Just like the year has four seasons, I feel that I have experienced several seasons during my journey as a fifth kyu. I have experienced winter, where I felt like my ability to progress was frozen in a state of constant hibernation. I have experienced spring, where I felt like I was truly blossoming and coming into my own. I experienced summer, which consisted of constant growth. My teachers tended to me and made sure that I had everything I needed to grow. Sometimes I felt like the sun was scorching me and I wondered if I would wither away, but just like a farmer's well tended crops, I survived and prospered despite the adversity. As fall arrives, I coincidentally feel like I have reached the autumn of my training. I feel as if I can unwind a bit and relax. I am still constantly learning, but I feel as if I am floating down like leaves falling from a tree instead of laboriously trying to
Well, I have officially survived my first weekend seminar. The seminar was a weapons seminar hosted by Eugene Aikikai and taught by Mike Flynn Sensei. The seminar involved some jo work, but it mainly focused on working with the bokken. It was mentally exhausting, but it really was an eye opening experience. In exchange for sweat, blisters, raw skin, mental fatigue, sore muscles and lack of sleep, I gained a better sense of self awareness and met some great people.
The seminar started off Friday night with me sitting off on the side observing. Friday night was just for yudansha, but sensei had me sit in my gi incase I was invited to join. I was secretly hoping the invitation wouldn't happen, as I was still nervous. I did my best to REALLY watch what he was doing and imagined myself out there on the mat practicing. Everything they were doing I had done at one point or another, which was comforting. About halfway through the class, I was invited onto the mat because they had an odd number of students training. By this point, I was no longer nervous. I just wanted to train and I wanted to do my best. It isn't every day that every partner I work with is a yudansha…
I worked with my sensei for a while. One person would have the jo and the other would be empty-handed. The person with the jo would then tsuki and the other person would then use the jo to throw their partner. Despite the fact I have done several variations of this at one point or the other (inclu
As I sit here at my computer, I can only think of one thing, and it's been on my mind non-stop for about a week. The more I think about it, the more anxious and excited I become. I keep making mental lists, but that isn't good enough, so I resort to the pen and paper kind. Something like this is just too important for imaginary lists. I need something tangible.
At this time tomorrow, I will be in a car heading towards the unknown. Sure, I know my destination, but I don't really know what to expect once I get there. By now, I will probably be so nervous that I will have made my stomach all upset! At least I am carpooling with a couple other people, so I can sit back and relax (or at least relax as much as I allow myself too).
Tomorrow night is the beginning of a new experience for me. I will be treading on new ground. I will once again become the anxious, timid and scared girl that I once left behind (or so I thought). Nothing will seem familiar or safe in this new environment and when I look around for someone I know, more often then not, I will not find one. The only reason I am here is because of a burning desire that can only be quenched by one thing. Aikido.
Now that I got the dramatic part over with, I can continue on sans drama. As you already know (since I'm assuming you read from the top down), I am attending my first seminar tomorrow. It is a weapons seminar with Mike Flynn up at Eugene Aikikai. I am very excited, but also a bit nervous. I
Some people say that aches and pains (sore muscles and minor injuries) are part of life when you are an athlete. As an aikidoist, I train four days a week religiously. I have had this training schedule for well over a year and it has been working for me. Sure, there are times I am sore from a good work out or end up with bruises from one to many yonkyo's, but lately, it seems that my body has been rebelling against me. Just a few weeks ago, I had some sort of shoulder strain. I was upstairs folding laundry when all of the sudden, my shoulder was just killing me. It took me by surprise and I dropped the shirt I was folding and just held my shoulder. After determining that the pain wasn't a momentary thing, I picked up my husbands shirt and finished folding the laundry with much caution and awareness of my movement. ]
At work the next day, I was hardly moving my arm at all. Any movement in my shoulder was quite painful. Someone I work with (who is a massage therapist) took a look at it and told me that it seemed like one of my tendons in my shoulder was tight and showed me what I could do to help with it. Tuesday came and like usual, I headed to the dojo. This injury was not going to keep me off the mat (unless sensei tells me to). I talked to my sensei (also a massage therapist) and he told me to first ice it for about 20 minutes and then massage the area quite vigorously and with pressure for as long as I could take it. He told me that it wouldn't be pleasant
It has been forever since I last posted an entry to my blog. My lack of writing is not due to lack of training, it is probably more like lack of inspiration or just pure laziness. Lately, I've found that I am seeking a deeper understanding of my training and a blog simply stating "I did kotegaeshi today." just seems to barely scratch the surface. Since I am a scientist, I find analyzing things a natural task. Unfortunately, my analysis has not concluded any findings worth reporting (thus far).
Training is continuing like usual. I go to class, try my best and walk away still feeling like I haven't taken one step forward. I think I'm getting there, but I feel like I am still at the point where I am thinking about taking that next step, but haven't actually put those thoughts into action yet. Or maybe, it is more like my foot is hovering ever so slightly above the mat. Maybe I have taken that step forward, but I haven't committed to it or made that step final by putting my foot down. You can't really take a step forward if you aren't willing to make contact with the earth again. The lack of finality really has me questioning myself. Am I holding myself back and if so, what is it that I'm allowing to keep me where I am?
Every so often, someone mentions "You need to test." or "You are way overdue to test." Gah, I have heard that so many times it doesn't even affect me anymore. If sensei were to give me a date to test, sure, I would jump back into panic mode,