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I go to aikido class no matter how I feel unless I am sick. Sometimes I am injured and I still go because I can either take it easy or sit out. The class still helps. Aikido class provides an exchange of energy that is healing.
My mind comes up with creative excuses about not going to class because Aikido class is so good for me. Sometimes I hear in my mind, "You are too tired" or "You are too emotional…you might cry," I go anyway. If I cry on the mat it won't be the first time. Being tired is always fixed right away. I always feel better after class than before.
The human condition often shuns that which is really helpful to our development. I don't know why or really care. I just watch those negative pre class thoughts and go anyway. I have never been disappointed with how I feel after class or during. Something is always fun and interesting and good for me.
The dojo is clean and ready for tonight's class. Hope to see you there.
We have been Berkshire Hills Aikido for 15 years now.
We had 23 people on the mat on Saturday ranging from Zackery, age 9 almost 10 to Yon dan Lou, age 72. The range of athleticism and understanding of principles was just as wide spread and varied. We explored energy, movement and correct feeling as we trained and sweated together. The opportunity to step up and do freestyle was offered. Fears were faced and challenges met. All the tests were truly inspirational, as was the sincere energy from the ukes who vied for chances to be part of the testing.
I love our dojo and the people that train with us. Thank you for the opportunity to pass along what we have learned and how we see aikido. We are a group that appreciates and celebrates the differences we all bring to the mat.
I say, "Yes!" to another 15 years and more. Thank you to all that that attended and to all that were with us in spirit…you were missed.
I recently came across the idea of being able to accept "no" shows maturity. Being able to embrace "yes" does too.
Aikido helps with both. I can say "yes" as I accept each uke I am offered
Each uke brings a specific set of skills, commitment, athletic abilities and energy to each encounter. At each moment each uke can be different. Some days an uke might feel stiff and slow and then towards the end of class that same uke might feel more limber and energized.
My goal as nage is to be with uke as they are in each moment. By stepping into the situation with an open heart and an attentive center I can access what actually is and move with my uke; blending with the energy of the moment.
This information is perceived not from just from the mind in our head but from the soul mind, that includes the mind in our head and our body and spirit. Our openness takes in the circumstances of the moment as they are and moves into "yes" for uke and nage.
This is not a practice for the faint of heart. The ego wants to blame and the body wants to complain. Yet we can say "yes" to what is and move with the energy of the uke we get, to create the beauty that is aikido. Nothing needs to be changed; only accepted and reconciled into peacefulness. Yes!
Mine includes god, people in 12 step fellowships, Ron, members of my dojo and my daughters, my ancestors and angels, and people everywhere that are recovering from hurts.
On the show Longmire, the picture of the young woman on the couch describing her feelings as she was raped was me. I saw myself in her. She was in the exact position on her couch as I was on mine, with our blankets at the same place under our chins. She shook me to my center as she spoke for me. Ron suggested that we had had enough of that show for the night.
The next night we watched the woman call her self back. The old wise woman said that her self was taken from her. The wise old woman insisted that she call out "Morning Star, Come back." Morning Star dared to call herself back. "Morning Star," she called out, softly and bravely. "Come back."
Then she cried and her circle of women embraced her.
I thought to myself, "I could do that."
That night I prayed and hopped into bed and slept soundly. I awoke in the early morning hours. I noticed how comfy and safe I felt in my warm bed with Ron sleeping peacefully next to me. It occurred to me that it was time to call myself back. I called out softly and bravely, "Come back, Mary Catherine, come back." I fell back asleep. When I woke up in the morning I could feel her. Mary Catherine is back. I am so grateful.
I am sharing this with my circle. I know that my circle includes all who been hurt
With Megan breaking her foot and Charlie not falling because a very sore knee we have been focusing on training with the body you have on any given day. Why should we wait until we feel perfectly healthy to train?
As Morihei Ueshiba said, "Heaven is right where you are standing and that is the place to train."
I see this to mean we can train anywhere and at any time and to mean that by accepting our body, mind and spirit as they are in the now we do the best we can with conditions at hand.
I have seen Anne train with remnants of a migraine and I regularly train when I am triggered to near panic. Linda, the oldest living member of the dojo, has trained through dental work and a very sore shoulder. Dora's back was very sore this week so she moved more slowly but not anymore deliberately that she always does.
We are all welcome on the mat unless we are contagious or throwing up because we all know there is absolutely no "hurling" on the mat.
The self-assigned writing project for the 21st anniversary of my mom's death includes the following criteria:
1. I must write a haiku for my mother.
2. I will write about what my mom would have been like in Aikido class.
3. Use the new skill of the "em-dash."
4. Combine all this in a little blog entry.
Definition of Haiku: A Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally invoking the images of the natural world.
1st attempt at a haiku for my mother -- about my mother training in Aikido.
The gi is tight and white,
I must look big.
I won't go.
The first attempt has little hope. I will try again.
2nd attempt: Smoldering rage
Pressed down between thin lips.
Reversed with tenkan. No Hope.
There. That was cheery. I have abandoned the 17 syllables in perfect form for now because the process is hard enough because of the subject matter.
I can't seem to wrap my mind around my mother in an aikido class.
When I picture her -- and this makes me well with tears—she is sitting in her green recliner, wearing her wood brown Timberline lace up shoes, white anklets showing under a too short, faded, blue jay colored cotton pantsuit, her curly white hair slicked back with a plastic head band, her reading glasses frame clear blue eyes, her chubby sun-spotted hands folded on her lap as she sits under a cloud of despondency.
Definition of despondency: a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage.
The whimsy of the season tickled class this Saturday morning. During the last class before our holiday break I found it hard to be serious and laughed at every opportunity. Celebration for me is around fellowship and shared experiences. Our class was filled with fun and good cheer. Megan was missed and Jocelyn was wished a speedy recovery as we quietly celebrated Anne's birthday.
After class Dora sang a lovely Polish birthday song wishing Anne a hundred more years. May you all live a hundred more years in peace and joy. Our next class will be on December 29th. Come enjoy a little harmony and sweat to help keep sane during this holiday season.
Thursday night in class I felt out of sorts: awkward and self-conscious…half a bubble off. After class I felt anxious. While chatting about class with Ron I felt unworthy of being a teacher ever again. I tend to lean to extremes especially when I am tired.
Saturday morning I was supposed to be the first teacher. I told Ron he should just teach the whole class. He called me out saying that it was my turn to start and I needed to do it.
And I did. I started class with a drill I called "Halt". I demonstrated a complicated kokyu nage from a yokemen attack and challenged us all to say "halt" every time we had a thought. Then we were to voice the thought and start again.
As we trained together (there were ten of us on the mat) I heard many "halts" and much communication and some chuckles as ukes and nages worked together to let go of thought and just train.
I noticed again that when I let go and just be… Aikido happens. My ideas are creative, challenging and interesting. The group benefits from a teacher's lack of self-consciousness. Self-centered fear inhibits creativity and spontaneity.
An aikido class is a like a merrily wrapped holiday present. As we pay close attention the experience reveals itself to us bit by bit.
Before Aikido there was fear, constant fear, unrecognized fear, paralyzing fear,and unconscious fear. Fear manifested itself in buildings not entered, encounters avoided, and many drinks taken way past the point of where drinking was helpful. Fear prohibited conversation, stifled movement and restricted involvement.
After aikido fear got different. Fear was noticed, acknowledged, breathed through, talked about and released though training and sometimes through tears. On the aikido mat fear was met again and again in a safe, supported and controlled environment.
FEAR. Face everything and recover. Fear is slipping away.