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I seem to have hit my learning plateau this week. Frustration grinds at me , roughing up my spirit and tearing my moods to pieces. Why are things so hard? It seems the simplest of techniques provides me with nothing but confusion and frustration. I cried today. I couldn't stop crying. I was so worked up, so mad at my self.
Perhaps its just been a bad day for me?
I'm trying desperately to keep a positive attitude, even as I feel my spirit grow heavy.
I feel stupid.
I feel useless.
I feel like the waves of the sea as the storm gathers.
But I will not run away. I will go to Aikido in Denver, see a different point of view. I will go back to aikido the week after next.
I will not run away .
I will wash away the bad with my tears.
I will wake up tomorrow and smile. I'm going home… I'm finally seeing those I love.
Yesterday evening I worked with the beginners class ( I'm but a beginner my self…) and had a grand times. Admittedly the experience was tinged with anxiety. I don't like people watching me, but being Uke for Sensei leaves little or no room for modesty. Overall the experience was very good. I realized just how much I rush through techniques right now. I guess its natural to rush when working with those who are senior to you, always trying to keep up, yet always falling behind. I learned some things about how I communicate with others. I hope that I didn't confuse those folks too much, and I hope I helped in some small way. I noticed the "Gi" effect. If they didn't look to Sensei , they came to me. Intimidating, but a lesson that needed to be learned. Even beginners like me can offer something to other beginners. I had forgotten what those first baby steps were like. Seeing it through the eyes of others made me remember just how scary it is to be on the mat for the first time. I feel that in my journey so far, I've traveled countless miles. I was not afraid to be touched, I did no flinch or back away. Through working with those less experienced the me, I finally see the bridge of trust that has to coincide between Nage and Uke, and just how important. When I first started I was so wrapped up in my fear , that there was no trust between me and my partner.
Yet , two and half months later I stepped up to fresh faces and blended in a way that didn't seem foreign or scary. I un
Ah… the weekend is finally coming to an end…and what a weekend it has been. I have hardly the energy to type this entry right now, but still we all do what we must.
Our "seminar" was great. Each of the classes went wonderfully. There were about twenty one people all together at the seminar, along with our Sensei who was bouncing between techniques on the mat and manning the video camera.
Our guest instructor ( his name regrettable slips my mind right now) was very interesting. Admittedly I had some difficulty understanding what he was saying ( he has a very thick accent). I realized just how much I still have yet to learn, but I was received warmly by all of my training partners. Watch out for Jessica-- she throws like the devil! Never had a better partner though-- she's got a great sense of humor and a patience to deal with the dyslexic likes of me
Round two, with my bad shoulder. During a jo technique I lost focus and slammed onto the top of my shoulder with 100+ pounds of dead weight. Not very fun at all. The most painful 45 minutes of this year… but after the throbbing subsided , I was able to sit with everyone on the mat while one of the senior students tested for his black belt. I've never been to a full grading, so this was a neat thing to be able to see. Randori was nifty, dun think I would ever be able to do that though ;P
Things are falling into place. For now I have to be gentle on my self. No rolling this week, though I'm going to try the soft uk
Tiredness creeps over me. Today was a hard day, emotionally and physically. I was and still am fighting the drowsy effects of my painkillers, the pain in my joints going beyond the norm. Despite being tired, I pulled though and focused on sharpening my senses. We reviewed some of the techniques that we have worked on the two months. I was surprised how much I had forgotten. I felt at times like I was holding my training partners back, as I got confused and frightened. There was a particular technique with a punch to the face…
I tried.. I really did. My control slipped away, as I back peddled each time the strike came towards me. Tonight has brought back a lot of memories-- good and bad. During Irimi-nage I was fighting to stay calm, as once again there was contact with the side of my face and neck. In a measure of steps I feel that I've gone back more then I gained tonight. If I'm feeling better tomarrow I'll go to the Tuesday senior class and work with bokken and jo.
For now I have to listen to my body and relax. Sleep, after all, is a very good thing. Being a college student I sometimes forget to do this…
After so many months of bad things happening, finally I've gotten good news. Many many moons of tender care and therapy have brought my joints back around. My wrists are about three hundred times better then they were last November. Carpal Tunnle will still be a problem for me, but with moderation I believe I will be able to work past that.
I got my shoulder checked out today… I didn't fracture anything. What I <I> did </I> do was pull all the same muscles that got goofed up the when I slammed my back during ukemi practice. On top of that my shoulder is lightly irritated in the joint, so I will have to take Vioxx again ( ew..)
That's good news! I've come so far in the last four years since my riding accident.
Aikido has, oddly enough, never been all that uncomfortable for me on the physical level. The only time I was ever bothered by pain of any sort would be if a little too much pressure was applied to my wrists, or if I fell particularly hard. Though now, as I sit here and type, I understand slightly what my peers are going through. I suppose I push the physical discomfort from my mind.
I look forward to continuing to train, with mederation of course.
I've gone from the Uke who isn't physical enough to the Uke from HELL..
Ugh.. We'll call him .. Dave, Dave is too rough on beginners , tossing people like me around. The audible grinding of my wrists and the tears in my eyes weren't enough to convey he was being too bloody rough on me. I sat out the entire Jo section because of the pain in my right wrist and shoulder-- that and I don't trust him not to strike me with the Jo. I'm terrified to work with him and angry that someone could be so blatently rough. I'm not out to start a fight or to be the better practitioner at all. I just want to learn in an enviroment when I won't have to worry about being carelessly hurt.
I expressed my concerns to Sensei, and he basically told me that I was not the first person to get a little roughed up. He said I needed to be more direct, and with this I agree( the the grinding and popping of my wrists should have been enough for him to stop applying pressure). Next practice I'm going to talk to him and Sensei-- however at this point I refuse to work the jo. He moves too fast for a beginner like me, which is not fair for either of us…
Enough ranting for one evening…
I've got to nurse my shoulder and wrist and set up an appointment to see my physical therapist/ specialist.. I believe my shoulder is a little more then bruised. Cross your fingers for me okay?
Tonight has been a night of mixed feelings. Both frustration and brief triumph. Next week is the last week of our Aikido Module, and I feel like I'm leaving a huge gap in the path that I've progressed into. I'm going to see if I can come on Tuesdays and Thursdays to do a basic maintenance of what I've learned already-- that is of course with Sensei's permission .
Jo practice was distressing over all. I couldn't see the jo's against the beige walls, floor, mats and vinyl backdrop. I tried very hard but I started to shake and flinch every time we started the exercises with the Jo's. "I'm not going to hit you…" He had to have said that at lease four times, along with "Trust me." I came so close to crying because I was so frustrated. I hate to let my class mates down, or to make them think I don't trust them.
Somehow I feel… separated. On all of the Jo techniques I worked with two senior students and my instructor. Am I really that much of threat to my class mates? I do not mean to say that their instruction was bad-- not in any sense. I just feel… detached. Do my classmates really fear me? No one approached me when it came time to switch partners… and as I was heading to find a new partner I was caught by the senior students. I noticed, when working with my peers that I am being treated like something very fragile. No one would hold on during the techniques, merely letting go of my wrists when I started to turn to pin and the likes. I don't know what to do. Our instru
Where exactly does "spirit" lie within Aikido? This is something that has been on my mind since the early hours of the morning. It is , by ones very nature, easy to separate ones spirituality from most activities that we perceive in our daily lives.
A new awakening , you could say, has come over me. Like having my eyes opened to something I had forgotten , or over looked. A great part of my being goes into Aikido. I may not be graceful, or be the "spinning" top that many people think of when watching accomplished aikidoka. However, everything I have is there. I treat aikido like I do my music. Everything has a melody to it, moving lines that transverse over many scales .
There is color, hidden in the field of black and white. I see it in those quiet moments, when no one knows I'm looking. The slow and gentle counter melody that is weaved between two people, who in making mistakes, are the wiser for it. There is nothing so bright as seeing ones face light up when an oh so illusive technique or principle works. That is spirit.
Spirit is the strength to go on , to shed our tears and step away from the nagging subconscious. Spirit is knowledge that the road is long and may be hard, but is worth the trek. Spirit is being able to throw ones self into such a practice and forget about dying, forget about looking good, forget about always being right. It is the humbling knowledge that despite my sweat , tears and blood, that I will never be perfect.
Today is grayer then I can ever remember being. The skyline was muted and somehow withdrawn. It rained and snowed , and dwindled between being frigid and temperate. I saw the sun rising this morning and felt like the light was being restrained, held away in the shadow of something fierce. Winter curls around us like a chilly blanket and it seems that spring will never come. Looking out into the rain I had to wonder what march would hold, as the new month approaches faster then I would like.
This is the "calm" day of my week. Only two classes today. Math seemed to drag on forever.. But Wind Symphony… Ah, the souls content. We started the Rossini piece, and I was pleasantly surprised. We poor foold of the third clarinet sang out so beautifully that I had to wonder why things suddenly clicked. How, in such a grey and heavy day, the sweet lullaby of the clarinet could somehow brighten the din which has seemed to settle over us all.
Aikido was quite interesting last night. I was praised for my … interesting ukemi. They don't call me the ukemi bowling ball for nothing… but on a serious note, I made another step ahead. Things seemed to click between me and my training partners. Yes, I was roughed up a bit, but who wasn't? We laughed, we grumbled, we poked fun at some point (the skirt of doom… long long story). The night was good.
I have won the battle against the unbleachable Gi. When I put it through the wash last night I added some citrus extract and boom, its starting
I'm sitting on the balcony right now, watching as the world goes on , despite my stillness. Looking past the tree line and disappearing road I can see a storm brewing over the horizon. The clouds are dark and hold the promise of snow. In my heart of hearts my mood seems to be like some unnamable shade of gray, loneliness creeping in again.
To the right I look for "my" mesa. It stands like a lone guardian over the ridge to the east, over shadowing the scrub and pond below it. I often hike along that mesa, sometimes sitting for hours , just thinking. I find the need to detach my self from the busy and hectic ideals of the campus and dorms. As of late, I cannot even hear my self thinking. Dwarfed by the rolling mesa's and hills I find comfort.
Yet the ache for home does not ease away, no matter how I try to bury it. Mum let me go, even though she knew this first year would be hard. I now feel the hollow tug at my heart, the want to return to what was. I came to Grand Junction because of the natural beauty and for the size of the college I am now affiliated with. But beauty , nor the closeness of a small town , can fill the loneliness inside. In time things will be different. Until then I will continue to go on, in the first year on my own.
Tonight I go to Aikido again, week seven or eight now. We've been doing some interesting work between the Tanto's and Jo's. Bokken leaves something to be desired, but we'll probably hit that next week. I am finding more and more tha