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Lately aikido has been a blur. My recollection is becoming hazy and its hard to pick out details. Every now and then, I seem to recall something I did from a previous class, but mainly it is like a vague dream where you randomly recall a moment when something happens to remind you of it out of the blue. I've been diligently showing up to class and trying to do my best to get better. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, I am looking forward to class.
Saturday's class went well. Sensei took the day off because of his knee. Caley taught class instead. Don and I were the only two there for class. Because we are both 5th kyu, Caley decided that we would work on ikkyo, nikyo and sankyo since they will be on the 4th kyu test. I still need a lot of work on nikyo and sankyo, so I really appreciated the extra work. Eventually we went on to other things: such as kokyunage, kokyuho and kotegaeshi. Towards the end of class, sensei came up and watched. He offered some helpful advice along the way. Before I knew it, our hour and a half class was over.
Tuesday went well. I don't really recall much at all (this is where the hazy dream symptom kicks in). I worked with Simon a few times. He is doing well and follows direction when given. I try not to tell him when something is wrong (how can I when I myself am a beginner?) Instead, I either try to back lead him or make a point of emphasizing something when it is my turn to do the technique. I worked with him o
Twelve days… amazing how time can either fly by or drag along at a snails pace. Odder still, is how time can fly by, yet still leave you feeling as if those twelve days felt more like a year then just shy of two weeks. I am appalled to admit that twelve days ago was the last time that I stepped out onto the green tatami. Little did I know that would be my last class for a while.
The following week was a mixed bag of feeling great to feeling utterly miserable. When Tuesday arrived, I had to admit to myself that:
A- I was feeling exhausted and sick.
B- I was going to make a four and a half hour drive to Portland tomorrow morning and I still hadn't packed.
I called Marc and told him that I wouldn't be going to class. He understood and told me to get better. I told him I wouldn't be able to go to class again till the following Tuesday because I had to go to Portland for training. The rest of the week went alright. Not to say that I didn't feel well, because I still felt miserable. I thought about going to a dojo while I was up there, but truthfully, I just plain felt like crap. Instead, I sulked and looked at photos and read bios of the surrounding dojos, which further made me miss class. Training went well though. I am proud to say that after two hours of digging around in wet dirt that I was remarkably clean. While everyone else sat in the dirt, I kept my butt off the ground. If you were to sit in seiza, come up on your toes and then lift your kne
Last week, my husband traveled to the east coast without me to visit friends and family. Although I would have loved to go (I haven't seen my friends and family in over a years), I chose to do the responsible thing and stay behind since we are strapped for cash. Because my husband was away, this allowed me more liberty to train as well. Unfortunately, because I was down and out thanks to migraines and allergies, I wasn't able to quite have the training extravaganza that I was hoping for, but I did get to go to one additional class. My usual training schedule consists of the following:
This week, I was able to attend class on Monday, which was from 6-7:30. As you may know, Monday was O-Sensei's Death Day. So, this made my extra day of training even more special for me. Once we arrived at the dojo and were on the mat, sensei, Marc, Ben and I were talking about various things. Sensei was telling us about his knee injections and that he was supposed to stay off the mat for three weeks, but mentioned that wouldn't happen. He said he wanted to get them done now so he would be ready for theatre (he is currently teaching the actors iaido for ‘Throne of Blood'). I'm not sure how we got on the topic, but at one point I told sensei
I am the type of person who trains at the dojo four days a week religiously. You can pretty much bet that on any given Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday, that I will be there on the mat. Well, this all came to a tumble last week. I almost missed class Wednesday because someone had the audacity to go off and stab a few people and I had to respond to the call out to process the scene. I barely made it home in time and we were running a little late when we got to the dojo. Thursday, I had to respond to another call out (really part of the same stabbing for a vehicle process). While processing the truck, I couldn't help but realize that my throat was hurting and my nose kept running. I didn't think much of it. Thursday night I go to class and all the while during class, I can feel my congestion getting worse and the post nasal drip is making me cough more. I go home and go to bed. Wake up Friday and decide to stay home from work. Lounged around, sneezing and blowing my nose like crazy and feeling just plain exhausted.
Saturday morning, my alarm goes off at 7 a.m. and I realize that I can't go to class in my condition. I call the guy I give a ride and let him know that I won't be able to go today. I I go back to sleep and awaken three hours later. I go downstairs and sulk on the couch wishing I were in class. How am I supposed to get my aikido fix when I am stuck at home miserable!?! There is only one solution (and it is a decent one). I pop in a dvd th
Saturday morning I had a hard time getting out of bed. Seems that this is becoming more and more frequent, which either means I need more sleep or my meds need to be adjusted. Uck…. getting my meds adjusted means more blood work. So, for now I will just go with me not getting enough sleep. Unless I get to the point where I was before (sleeping all the time and barely making it through an aikido class) I will assume it isn't due to my meds.
While I am getting ready, I get a message from the yudansha I usually pick up and take to class. He says he isn't going this morning. At least this gives me another 20 minutes to get ready. Hard to believe it tacks on an additional 20 minutes to my trip each way… but it does. I get to the dojo and see the usual suspects there getting dressed. I hurry up, change into my semi-warm gi (I always toss it in the dryer before class when it is cold outside) and quickly tie on my hakama. I hurry upstairs and sit in my usual spot (as we sit according to time spent in this class). Today we are to work on mainly defensive and offensive draws. A nice break from the forms we have been doing a lot lately. This was also a nice choice since my head is bothering me a bit this morning. I am blaming my head issues on the weather and allergies at this moment.
We do each draw a few times with Sensei and then he walks off and stands on the raised platform where our shomen is to watch. If he sees something that needs to be corrected, he tel
You know you had a good work out/class when you wake up the next day and feel sore in some areas. This happened to me Sunday morning. I woke up and begrudgingly got out of bed earlier then I wanted. As I moved about my room, I realized that a few areas of my body were sore. I paused and took the time to think about what we did in class the day before. In all honestly, it was a fairly easy class (as far as strenuous activity goes). So, it really got me thinking. Despite the fact that our workout was easy, it was a good cardio workout and I'm guessing that I used the same muscles I use in most classes, just in a different way. If you take the time to think about it, the human body is a fascinating thing. It really is a miracle in and of itself. The things that a body is capable of are really quite astounding.
So what exactly did I do Saturday? It started off like most Saturday's. By this I mean, I look around I am the only beginner in the dojo. There were five yudansha, a first kyu who was supposed to test for shodan this summer and myself. Whenever I see this, I always mentally prepare myself for a tough class. I guess I should take it as a compliment that sensei throws me into the tough classes. I don't think he really expects too much out of me, but it is nice to know that he thinks I can at least manage enough not to injure myself (or others). What I didn't know was that this wouldn't be a "normal" type of Saturday class. The class somehow evolved into
It's Friday afternoon, the sun is shining and I have just broken free of my forty-hour work week. As I start my car, my Red Hot Chili Pepper's cd begins to play. I roll down my window and turn the music up, never mind that I only have a 5 minute drive home. As I drive, I can't help but enjoy the weather, but all of this glorious weather is overshadowed by my one-track mind. All I can think about is the mail. Today is the big day. Today is the day that my bujin hakama is supposed to arrive. As I pull over and park my car by the communal mailboxes, I can't help but think to myself "There are only two things that could make this Friday absolutely glorious: my hakama and a parking spot by our townhouse." I take out my key and open the mailbox. Letters, bills, a magazine and then something shiny catches my eye. YES! This is the mailbox key that is given when a package is too big to fit in your personal mailbox. I look at the key and it doesn't tell me what box it is in. Doesn't matter though, I will try every mailbox here if necessary. Lucky for me, the first big box I tried opened. I eagerly pulled out the package to see who it was from. I read the return address: bujin. I couldn't help but smile and I am fairly certain that the sun began to shine brighter just for me.
I practically skip my way back to car. Two weeks and five days after ordering my hakama I now have it in my hands. I start my car and begin the short trek back towards my townhouse. The sun
Just like every other Saturday, my day started off with iaido. During class, the weird feeling in my head turned into a headache. I forgot about it most of the class, but was constantly reminded about it whenever I reid to sensei after he demonstrated something or corrected me. By the time class was over, it was bothering me when I wasn't tilting my head down. Sensei went to return a call and I walked over and asked another student if she would be kind enough to tell sensei that I am not going to sit today, but I will be back up for aikido. I told her that I was going to go take some Excedrin and then sit in the changing room where it was a bit darker.
Luckily, the combination of the medicine and the darker room seemed to help my head. The pain was quite manageable by the time class was about to begin. I went back upstairs. Sensei asked if my head was alright. I told him it hurt a bit, but it wasn't enough to keep me off the mat. I asked sensei how long the other female was who was supposed to show up and train today. He said she trained for quite some time and was almost to shodan before she left. I asked him if she was in the kenshusei program, to which he confirmed. I told him that I did some research the other day because I didn't really know anything about the kenshusei program other then it was intense training. He told me that if I wanted to know more, all I had to do is ask and he smiled at me. I couldn't help it, my first response was laughter. I
Stand up straight. Stand straight up. Keep your heels under you. Use your tegatana. More kokyu. Sticky hands. Use your thumb more. Extend. Adjust your feet if you need to. Keep moving. Push through your back foot. Pretend like you are bowling. Use your head to push. Sink into your hips. Hit him in the face. What you are doing is fine, but the more basic way is to step through. Settle at the end of the technique. Zanshin. These are just a few of the corrections and comments I have received in the past two days. Lately, attendance in the classes has been quite low. I'm not really sure why the dip in attendance all the sudden, but it is leaving the dojo mats quite empty.
Last Thursday was just me and a yudansha (and that yudansha was teaching class that night). I had an hour and a half of private lessons. We mostly worked on attacks from shomenuchi. He did his best to turn me into an aggressive aikidoka. He had me throwing elbows to his face, the back of his head and his kidneys. Of course, I wasn't actually finishing these moves, but he was trying to get me to be more aggressive with them. That Saturday, only four students showed up (me, another 5th kyu and two yudansha). The yudansha leading the class asked what I wanted to work on, so I suggested 4th kyu testing techniques. I got my wish. Sankyo, sankyo, sankyo! It was a really nice class. We mainly worked on the blending to the throws and didn't actually complete the throws. A female stude
Last week I went to Seattle for a week long conference for work. Before I left, sensei mentioned in passing that there is a dojo up there that I might be able to train at. He said he would see about me training and would let me know. Well, I never heard a word (Sensei was busy getting ready for a seminar), so I packed and headed off to Seattle. I was pretty excited because I have never been to Seattle before and I hear it is a nice city. Monday, I receive a call from someone. I look at my caller ID and don't recognize the number, so I let it go to voicemail. When I see the voicemail notification, I listen to it. Turns out, it is this guy from a dojo in Seattle who says that sensei wants me to train with them while I am here. He says that he might be able to give me a ride and lets me know which classes sensei thought I would be able to attend. Uh oh…. I didn't pack a gi! Or any aikido underwear for that matter! (if you are a girl, you would understand this) Sensei never said another word, so I didn't even think to pack it! I call the guy back and leave a message stating that I would love to train, but wouldn't be able to train unless I could borrow a gi and get a ride and that I would be able to train Thursday evening.
He eventually calls me back Wednesday and lets me know that he could pick me up and that they have extra gi's lying around. He tells me that there are three classes on Thursday (kids, basic and all levels). He offers to pick me up after kids c