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My Path Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 06-08-2009 02:55 PM
Linda Eskin
My path to and through Aikido. Observations on Aikido, fitness, happiness, horses, & life, by a 52 y/o sho-dan.

This same blog (with photos and a few additional trivial posts, but without comments) can be found at www.grabmywrist.com.

I train with Dave Goldberg Sensei, at Aikido of San Diego.
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 228
Comments: 367
Views: 407,398


In General Good bye, 2014. Hello, 2015. Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #228 New 01-01-2015 05:47 PM
In looking back at 2014 I see it involved a lot of completions - clearing out the old, and making room for new things - and beginnings - laying the foundations for future work. Time to head into 2015 and take advantage of all that groundwork.

Thankfully, Michael and I, and our immediate families, all stayed mostly healthy, happy, and sound all year. *whew* Plus we celebrated out 25th anniversary.

Most of the first half of the year was consumed with managing a whole-house renovation. There are still bits and pieces to be completed, but for the most part we now have a home that is much more pleasant and functional, and supports us better in our respective activities.

Throughout that time I was dealing with our donkey Eeyore's worsening arthritis. I tried to keep him comfortable, and he had his good days, but was trending in a bad direction. Eventually, in July, we elected to give him the easy way out. Now Clementine is on her own. She was doing well, but now seems to be having trouble with tendinitis or something in her front legs. Having the vet out, again, tomorrow, to see if there's anything we can do to help her heal and get off pain meds. Right now she's not very happy, and I'm hoping she doesn't follow the same trajectory as Eeyore did.

Because of other priorities and limited finances (career transitions can be hard on one's bank account, after all) I didn't get to as many seminars as I would have liked. But I did participate, as usual, in the Bridge Semina ...More Read More
Views: 652

In Testing Dear Ueshiba Sensei Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #227 New 12-13-2014 09:21 PM
[At our dojo we have a tradition of submitting an essay when we test for sho-dan. My exam was today, and here's what I wrote.]


13 December, 2014

Dear Ueshiba Sensei,

We have never met, Sensei, but I am a student of yours. My direct teacher is Dave Goldberg Sensei in San Diego, in the United States. His teacher is Robert Nadeau Shihan, who I am sure you remember well. Goldberg Sensei also trained in Japan with your devoted student, Morihiro Saito Sensei. Sensei has had many teachers - he has told me about a few of them - and I have learned a bit here and there from other teachers and friends as well. There are many bubbling rivulets and quiet brooks that feed into the river that is my experience of Aikido, but they all originated with you.

I owe you a debt of gratitude for this art you created. I've been practicing Aikido for a while now, and so thought I should introduce myself and share with you how my training is going.

Today I am testing for the rank of sho-dan. Some of my friends who aren't familiar with martial arts see earning one's black belt as having arrived. It is an accomplishment, of course, but it feels to me like a starting point, like being accepted into a university. Commencement. "Beginning rank," truly.

It has been a great adventure getting to this point. So many hills and valleys, forks and detours, breathtaking vantage points and mysterious deep canyons. I have traveled to seminars and camps and other dojos, and made good friends from around the world. So many kindred spirits in this community! My health is much improved, to say nothing of my attitude. I ...More Read More
Views: 351

In Testing Sho-Dan Exam Day Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #226 New 12-13-2014 08:00 AM
Oh what a day! Glorious!
Gather ‘round
There's nothing better
Than a friend
Oh what a day! Glorious!
The smell of rain
Has hitched a ride
Upon the wind
I've got good friends
To the left of me
And good friends
To my right
Got the open sky above me
And the earth beneath my feet
Got a feeling in my heart
That's singin'
All in life is sweet
Oh what a day!


Written by Karisha Longaker
Performed by MaMuse
Views: 333 | Comments: 2

In Testing Almost There... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #225 New 12-12-2014 10:23 PM
It seems like I've been checking things off to-do lists and taking care of details for days. Finally in the last few hours before exam day, and pretty much on top of things.

A few of us cleaned the dojo earlier, and set up chairs for guests last night. Someone pointed out it was my last time going home as a kyu-ranked student. Acck!

Today I had some notes to write and errands to run. I've got my gi (and new hakama) packed up and ready to go in the morning. My stuff for the dojo holiday party afterward is ready to go.

I just need to get the coffee pot set up so I don't need to fiddle with that in the morning, and have Clementine's morning food ready except for adding hot water. I have a little writing to do, and want to run through things in my head once more. And then I think I'll set every alarm clock I can find and try to get to sleep.

Looking forward to giving it my best.
Views: 291 | Comments: 2

In General Seeing Past Saturday Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #224 New 12-09-2014 04:28 PM
Taking a quick break from getting my brain, body, and environment ready for Saturday to look beyond my coming sho-dan exam. There are things I've been wanting to do, but I'm kind of living in risk-avoidance mode lately. The idea of pulling a muscle or spraining a joint doesn't stop me most of the time, but right now it would be really inconvenient. After Saturday, though... Here are some things I'm looking forward to trying in the coming months:
  • Learning to surf, with my friend Karen (whose brilliant idea is was). How did I grow up in Pacific Beach and not learn to surf?
  • Trail running. I am not a runner, by nature, but for some reason that's been calling to me for a while now.
  • Snowboarding, maybe. No specific plans to go, but I've always wanted to try it.
  • Strength training. Yeah, I've been doing my PT exercises and swinging a kettlebell a little, but I want to get a little more serious about it.
  • Going to the local trampoline place - wall-to-wall trampolines - and playing. Who's in?
  • Working more on suwari-waza and hanmi-handachi-waza (techniques from a kneeling position). I've been enjoying training in those, but don't dare overdo it.

And nothing to do with risk - I've just been busy with other things:
  • Gardening. The yard is starting to green up with recent rain, and more on the way. Perfect time to tidy up, and get the raised-bed veggie garden ready for planting.
  • Finish some house projects. OK, not really looking forward to doing those, just looking forw
...More Read More
Views: 311 | Comments: 1

In General Countdown to Exam Day Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #223 New 12-04-2014 05:34 PM
A week from Saturday, on December 13, 2014, my friend David and I are scheduled to test for shodan ("beginning rank"). Tonight is the final (yikes, that word, final...) run-through.

On the one hand, it's just a test. Afterward I will show up and train just the same as before. But it's also Kind of a Big Deal. I've been training for a bit over five years, and for the past year working diligently with David and our sempai to refine and polish our techniques. I'm sure I have improved, but it's the kind of improvement where you finally catch one thing, and see two others you need to work on. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and incompetent.

As with any big deadline in life - a trip, graduation, marriage - there are a lot of little things to coordinate as it approaches.

I paid my exam fee months ago, just so I wouldn't have to have it on my mind, but still have my association fee to take care of. Shodan is the rank at which the international association starts to care that you exist, so there's a registration fee for that. Up to this point I've only been an anonymous student at my dojo, as far as the outside world is concerned.

I actually bought two hakama - those black flowing skirt-like pants-chaps things - several years ago, at 4th kyu. I knew I would get here eventually, and my favorite gi supplier was going out of business, so I snapped them up. I finally took them out of the package and tried them on a couple of weeks ago. One fits (the other needs to be tailored), ...More Read More
Views: 363 | Comments: 3

In General Another Day Flies By Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #222 New 11-30-2014 03:02 PM
I want to write a blog post, about days flying by, and how I spend my time, and about goals and desires, and about milestones and planning. About the final stretch of preparing for my shodan exam. But first I have to clean out the run-in shed so Clementine, our donkey, will have a dry place to hang out during the predicted rain. But before that I need to check my voice mail, because I know someone called two days ago. Oh, but first I need to start my laundry or I won't have a clean gi to wear to the open mat session this afternoon. And I have to get all the critters fed, of course. Yeah, right, I have to post some content on my business site so it's not dead for the whole weekend. I can't go out to work in the yard in my PJs, so I'd best get dressed. Did I eat any breakfast? I should eat something. And now the laundry really need to be put into the dryer. And I have to tend to her sore foot - that's really most urgent. And there's still that voice mail. Only 2 hours before I have to get cleaned up and leave for the dojo. I should go clean out the run-in shed. Maybe I'll get to that blog post this evening.
Views: 306

In General Holidays Are Optional. Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #221 New 11-29-2014 01:15 AM
For many years I've only minimally celebrated the "holiday season." I do not believe in any deities, but do find the return of longer days worth noting on the solstice, even if it's just a private passing thought on that evening. Luckily, my husband, Michael, and our extended families are also not attached to the decorating, cooking, and shopping madness that seems to hold many in some kind of collective trance for two months. This year my family went even further afield and skipped Thanksgiving altogether, in favor of celebrating my dad's 80th birthday the evening before. Then on Thanksgiving day, Michael and I headed to the desert and took a hike. It was warm and clear, and absolutely beautiful.

It's not that I have anything against tradition. I enjoy getting together with family. I like candlelight and fires, but am mostly too engaged in other things to bother with actually lighting or enjoying them. I love eggnog, and indulge in one quart each year, which I mostly put in my coffee, and sometimes swig out of the carton (which is mine exclusively). And on Thanksgiving morning I made fresh cranberry sauce to have with our breakfast of fried bananas and raw nuts, just because I like cranberry sauce. But you will find no lighted mechanical deer or color-changing plastic icicles at our house, and certainly not any plug-in artificial-scent-spreading gizmos. Gross.

Today we did some chores and errands. In the afternoon I went to the dojo to train with a few friends, and M ...More Read More
Views: 350

In Training Oh, right! Music! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #220 New 11-28-2014 11:42 PM
[Written Nov. 27, but I forgot to post it until now.]

Every so often I need to discover all over again that I run on music. My life has a soundtrack. The words and temperament of music affect me. This is good to know, even if I forget it from time to time.

This most recent period of forgetting about music was brought on by a broken input to my car stereo. I can't listen to my music in the car, and so I just got out of the habit of having music on at all. And incidentally I've been feeling a bit… stuck? bogged down? serious? slow? Something like that.

Then yesterday I was listening to Jane Savoie, a coach to past Olympic equestrian teams (dressage), in her series The Rider's Inside Edge, discussing musical freestyles with her guest Ruth Hogan Poulsen the benefits of riding to music for both the rider and the horse. Better energy, better rhythm, less thinking, less resistance, more intention, freer movement …

Oh, right! Music!

So last night I scoured my iTunes collection for some of my favorite tunes - positive, powerful, grounded, light, earthy, driven, playful, deep, or funny. It might be the lyrics, or the beat, or something in the melody. Now I have about 6 hours of nutrition for my spirit. Like emotional vitamins. Good stuff!

From "Glorious" by MaMuse

I've got good friends
To the left of me
And good friends
To my right
Got the open sky above me
And the earth beneath my feet
Got a feeling in my heart
That's singin'
All in life is sweet
Oh what a day!
Views: 243

In General Too Much To Write About! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #219 New 11-28-2014 11:40 PM
[Written Nov. 26, but I forgot to post it until now.]

I haven't posted since late September, and even that was pretty lame. But it's not for lack of anything to say. About every 15 minutes I trip over another "I really should write about this" kind of experience. But then I remember I have a dozen things to do. Maybe later… Maybe tomorrow… I don't like that. For me not writing is like not speaking to a good friend for too long. I need to make it a higher priority, along with meditation, which I've also not been doing nearly enough.

Meanwhile, I passed my ACE exam to become a certified Group Fitness Instructor. Afterward I immediately got to work setting up my company, Reconnecting Ourselves (www.ReconnectingOurselves.com). Among other things, I am planning short-term programs, like boot camps, but for total beginners - the kind of folks who "will join a gym after I get in better shape." A first step to get people on the path to being more active, and more connected with their own bodies, with nature, and with others. I hope to be offering them soon after the start of the year.

Along with that whirlwind of website work, content creation, and marketing mayhem I have been continuing to train in earnest for my shodan (first black belt) exam, just over two weeks away now, on December 13th.

Training for shodan, for me, has been pushing me in every way I can be pushed. And I suppose that's part of the idea. I'm enjoying the process, and learning so much every time I step on the mat. But the more I see, the further I s ...More Read More
Views: 275

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