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I've been a bit slow putting together enough connected thoughts about it to make a proper blog post. Now I'm just giving up and blurting out some unconnected things.
First, I got a surprise at my PT appt on Monday. My PT was very happy, told me to cancel my upcoming appointment, and gave me the go-ahead to roll, fall, and whatever else I want to do. "But if you land on that shoulder again, don't come crying to me."
Class was on Tuesday. I figured it would be best to start with rolling practice (solo only, I mean), and just do back rocking-falls (not all the way over) as uke. I wasn't quite confident enough to do forward rolls out of techniques. That seemed like a conservative and rational plan.
Strange though, how our brains are not rational. I say "easy, soft rolls that I was doing quite happily and with confidence before I got injured, so no problem." Brain, on the other hand, says "Uh, no way. We're gonna die." So I was thinking too much, and being too cautious and tense, and nothing worked well (except the sitting-backwards-and-rocking-back kinds of falls). I couldn't do a simple slow back roll to save my life. Have you seen that Garfield (the cat) cartoon where John (the owner) asks Garfield how he manages all 4 feet when he walks, and Garfield gets to thinking about it, and then can't walk because he's so confused? It felt like that.
Well, OK, I did *one* back roll very nicely after class, but when
I had been figuring (based on what my PT had said a couple of weeks ago) that I'd be out for a few more weeks yet. But yesterday both he and my orthopedic Doc put me through the ringer with exercises and x-rays, and both agreed I was doing great, and could go back to class. No rolling or falling yet, but anything else that doesn't hurt is fair game. I even showed Doc a video (on my iPod) from my dojo, to be sure he understood what Aikido was. He thought I was nuts to want to do that (he's hilarious), but didn't think my shoulder would be in danger.
I tried some gentle warm-ups from class at home last night, as a sanity check, and that went well. So tonight I joined in, instead of just watching.
I kinda figured I would make it partway through (a 90-minute class), and would start to get sore/ouchy, but noooo.... I did fine. Everyone was very considerate in their techniques, and really nothing hurt at all. I'm just giddy.
The exercises I've been able to do (both strengthening, and mental/awareness kind of things) have made a huge difference. (Many thanks to everyone who suggested things to do, and cautioned me about things to not do, in response to a question I asked on the Forums this past week!) I don't feel any of the muscle pain I did in the first few classes, and felt more stable and solid during class.
I was especially encouraged right from the start (during a pre-class 15-minute meditation period), when my r
I am observing classes for another few weeks. My shoulder is feeling quite good now (yay!). I just need to let it heal completely, and strengthen/stabilize the joint to help prevent future injuries. So I'm still benched, and doing what my PT says I must. It's easy to see now that it will be fine before long.
The class tonight was taught by one of the yudansha, as Sensei is out of town for the week. There was a lot of the same patient instruction, with complex techniques being built step-by-step of their component parts. And like Sensei, and the other teachers I've seen, this teacher has a mischievous and kind sense of humor. A few parts of the class were different from what I've seen before...
There was some jo work (which I had not seen yet at all). They went through a couple of techniques, and then did some interesting exercises in avoiding a very slow-moving jo by just changing body position (keeping feet mostly still). Imagine if the TSA were waving a metal-detecting wand all over you, but you were afraid it would tickle if it were to touch you (my visualization, not the instruction to the class).
Then there were some techniques that a 1st or 2nd kyu had requested, since she will be tested on them soon. The class started from very slow walk-throughs, and ended with very competent, quite fast techniques. I'm sure I won't remember how to do them, but I saw individual parts (certain movements and postures) that I can work on at home.
One of the things I want to do with this blog, for my own reference, is to keep track of my training, challenges, goals, etc. I'll title these "Training Diary, YYYY-MM-DD" so they will be easy to ignore if you want to. I don't know yet where the blog Categories appear, but I'll put them all under my "Training Diary" category.
This is another "getting caught up" post (from a little notebook I've kept), since I'm several weeks in already. Future "Training Diary" posts will cover about one class or one week at a time.
Physical Info - Starting Point
Health: Coming off 2 weeks or a horrendous cold. Feeling better.
Weight: 189 lbs., goal of 160 lbs. (And then "We'll see.")
Fitness: Sedentary work, semi-active fun (cleaning horse pen, gardening...). Few PT exercises for shoulder. No working out or stretching for many years.
Vertigo: Much better over past couple of months. Encouraged, but concerned that rolling and breakfalls could set it off again.
Tuesday evening, May 5, 2009
Really fun, awesome people, great time, very excited about Aikido.
Very sore, tired quads later. Did lots of walking and stretching.
Started walking around park several times during the day at work.
Saturday morning, May 9, 2009
An hour before class something "went out" a little in my hip. Figured it would loosen up with work. Ha! Wrong. On very first attempt at rolling hip went into spasm.
This is a reply to Tara Marsh's blog post, but was WAY over the max length for a reply. Please see her post at http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/trademark8806s-blog-17256/odd-question-3520/, and please post replies to her there.
It's nice to see another new blogger here. I just started mine few days ago. My apologies for the very long reply. I hope some of it is useful.
We all learn at different speeds, and in different ways. We are supposed to be doing our best, but beyond that there's no set amount of progress that can be expected of anyone. People who have studied Aikido for many years still feel that they haven't mastered many things. You're very new at Aikido (as am I - I started in May). Keep looking for the best ways to learn and retain information and techniques, but don't be too hard on yourself.
Have you talked to Sensei, and explained how you learn best? It can be frustrating for a teacher to try everything they can think of to "reach" a student, and still see the student struggling. It may look like you aren't giving it your best, to someone who doesn't understand the way you need to learn things.
I hear the name of one technique in class, and try to remember it, but when I hear the name of the next technique, the first one escapes me. I find it very hard to learn words and facts just by listening. If I don't take notes in classes, I won't be able to recall much of it at all. It's like having to organize the information enough to write it down
My first post was a bit of background. This one is a quick summary of my first few weeks of studying Aikido. The wide-angle view, for now. I'll elaborate on many of these details in future posts.
First, you will recall I was sidelined by a shoulder injury. I landed smack on the top of my right shoulder in my 5th class. I sat out classes for a few weeks, coming to watch and take notes. I've even brought a few friends who have been thinking of studying Aikido. Observing is a very valuable, if frustrating, experience. I highly recommend the watching and taking notes part, but you might prefer to do it without getting injured first.
My orthopedic doc thought I was healing well, and told me at the 3 week point to take it easy - no falling or rolling for several more weeks - but I could go back to class. Joy!
I took it easy, both in class (twice), and everywhere else, but it seemed to not be improving as much as I'd hope, and in fact things I could do OK last week were now more painful. I sat out probably 50% of Tuesday's class, and even at that I probably overdid it.
So off to physical therapy. Physical therapists are miracle workers, and I've worked with this one before. He's good, and I trust him. I figured I'd get some coaching on exercises I could do at home to help strengthen the right things, and avoid injuring the wrong things. Instead he found that the injury was worse than first thought. So now it's ultrasound, TENS unit type work, supervised light exer
I am reposting my introduction (from the Forums) here, with a few edits, just to have everything in one place. In the next post I will bring things up to date.
After that this will be a more normal blog, with semi-regular training notes, random observations, and thoughts on Aikido, and applying it to horsemanship, riding, and everything else.
Please join me as I walk this path.
- - - - -
Greetings, and thank you for reading my introduction.
Some basic basics: I'm a 46 y/o woman in the San Diego area. Horseperson for fun. User experience analyst for a living. 30 lbs overweight. Sturdy and strong, but out of shape. Did a little Tang Soo Do in high school (through the 1st test). Loved it, but went off to college and left it behind.
I recently came to Aikido via a book by Mark Rashid, a gifted horse trainer and author. I had been aware of Aikido before, but his book "Horsemanship Through Life" is what prompted me to begin studying it. I was originally hoping to improve my balance, fitness, awareness, relaxation, and breathing, all of which apply nicely to working with and riding horses.
The universe has been making me work very hard to get started in Aikido! After I decided to check into studying it I hurt my hand. Weeks later got cleared to do stuff. Checked out a dojo, was very impressed, and promptly cought the Worst Cold Ever. 3 weeks later, on May 5th, 2009, feeling good but still unable to speak above a hoarse whisper, I started classes.