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I had started the day off in a particularly foul mood. I couldn't seem to get a grip on why I felt this way, there was a mounting tension in my entire being. On the way to Aikido, I started to discuss this with my wife, who was along for the ride. Yesterday the Sensei had me practice pushing against him, and being pushed against, he was explaining energy, connectedness, and flow. Somehow this physical practice, had surfaced an old but very large issue of mine, which I had never correctly processed. I was able to think about it clearly for the first time ever tonight. I was also able to see how it affected my life in a not too subtle way. I know that I need to work on this issue now, and I have a good handle on starting to heal and change myself. Not that it is a magical transformation, I just now, know that the issue is there, and that it MUST be worked on.
I wonder if others reading this will understand? It seems really hokey when I read over it now. I realized for the first time in my life, that there is a connection between your body and your mind in BOTH directions. I have long known, and at times practiced mind over body in situations which called for superhuman endurance. However this was the first time that working with my body, had helped my mind deal with an issue. I started Aikido exactly for this kind of insight into myself, something to help me on The Way. However I had no hope that I would see anything so soon, if ever, and definitely not this clearly. Perhap
I went on the mat for my first training secession at East Bay Aikido. I picked this Dojo, because it resonated with me. The teaching style of the Sensei here seemed to work for me a little better. In saying this I am not implying anything wrong with any of the teaching at the other Dojos that I have visited. Everywhere in Aikido I have been amazed at the friendliness of the people.
The Gi purchased today is a standard off the shelf thing. Which as Sensei said; "One size fits no one!". It is good in some dimensions and not so good in others. I think I am going to have to grow another foot or so of arm so that the sleave length will work for me. I can see already why after training for a while people would consider a custom Gi even though they cost significantly more.
The first class was like magic.
It starts with the warm up exercises. I am completely off on the whole thing, I feel like everyone else has the choreography to a rockettes event, and I am trying to square dance most of the time. There is an interesting flow thing that everyone does, that includes their hands and feet moving at the same time. At the base is a two step move, that I can do if I don't try and move my hands too. If I move my hands there seems to be the real possibility that I am going to do a self pin on the mat!
I had a wonderful partner for the morning class, all of it, as there were only 4 of us in the class. Rick was super helpful, I know that he is testing week after next for 1st K
While studying at Aikido at San Leandro. Sensi Hendricks recommend that we attend a seminar coming up in March. The subject of the seminar as I could understand it was some technique called Doshu. Sensei Hendricks recommended it in strong terms, and stated that the opportunity only came along about every 10 years. This seemed pretty rare, but I wondered what a brand newby was going to do at a seminar. I would have a total of maybe of 8 weeks of training at that point and wondered if I would even have figured out where my feet where, let alone master some strange technique called Doshu? Something that was apparently only taught about every 10 years. Sounded tough to me; however Sensei Hendricks did stress that even those of us that were beginners should try and attend the seminar.
While getting back into my street cloths in the dressing room, Larry commented that "We really have to watch the beginners around the 6th week." I asked why, and he stated that was when most people dropped out. On the way home I thought well if I know that there is a problem with people persevering through the 6th week, would a seminar about that time serve as a good reward, and a possible short term goal for me? Seemed likely, if I thought that I would be in any position to learn anything about this Doshu technique.
So today, I decided to see what the seminar could be about. I remembered the web address that was on the board at the San Leandro Dojo, (www.ai-ki-do.org) and looked it up. There
Last night I again visited Aikido at San Leandro. This time I wore my sweats, and got on the mat. This being one of the first times that I had ever been on a mat, I was prepped for it to be really bad, and for me to feel like a beached whale in sweats, surrounded by graceful white dancers. IT DIDN'T feel that way, AFTER we got over the warm upů.
Paula helped a lot, provided a constant source of positive energy to me last night. Before class started she took the time to show me some of the more spiritual aspects of the dojo. Which were not visible from the visitors benches. Later she tried several times to be my partner, but was dissuaded by Sensei each time. She did once even hang out in the background and step forward to help me with several of the moves while I was trying to pin my uke. I must have been a big distraction from her practice. Thanks Paula it was very appreciated. I could feel her support which felt good.
The lack of understanding of what was going on was more than a little intimidating, however not as bad as trying to clear your small boat into a French speaking country when you speak no French!
There were a lot of funny parts.. Lining up by rank is really easy on your first night! Just line up at the end of the line. Then we started warm up exercises. (These were wonderful at San Leandro!). We all face the Sensei do a series of things.. I watch try to follow along, can't hear sensei so do what everyone else is doing, only 1 or two seconds behind. T
If I had an expectation it would have been that tonight's visit to East Bay Aikido would have finalized my decision to join at Aikido at San Leandro. It did not, as a matter of fact it made the decision on where to join a much more difficult one.
There is no doubt in my mind that Aikido at San Leandro is the most technically proficient dojo that I have been in. The level of intensity and training there last night awed me.
Tonight's visit to Tom's Dojo was interesting. The people there were friendly. Their style of training differed markedly from the traditional in that everyone was training for testing, and there was not the normal show, tell, and then practice. Rather it was everyone working on what they needed to work on initially in twos, then where needed in multiple Uke practice.
Tom was very involved with each of the students at the Dojo tonight. The Dojo was very comfortable. Tom's interaction with me was very open and intimate. I felt a part somehow even though I made it clear that I had no commitment any Dojo yet.
I began to notice some differences in some of the techniques that I had previously thought were all the same. This was neat, and unexpected. Something gained through observation which I would not have thought possible.
BIG Aikido was here in spades. Zen ideals seemed to reverberate around the room. This is very attractive to me. Zen is something that I have been a student of for quite a while, something that I strive for. Feeling it here w
Tonight on Paula's recmonedation I visited the Aikido of San Leandro.
There was an advanced class occuring along with a test. It was very interesting to watch the advanced people here, versus the advanced people elsewhere. The gap between the beginers and the advanced people seemed larger here than in the other dojos that I have visited. I was impressed with the skills of the advanced people here.
The thing that struck me most about this Dojo was that it was a serious place for Aikido. The people were enjoying it, but it was by far more serious than other dojos that I have been in, yet it lacked any militant quality. The physical dojo is well used, the equiptment here has been used a lot. The mat is patched in numberous places, and shiny not with new paint, but polished from the falls that have been taken on it.
The ratio of talk to do surprised me in this class of advanced people. I enjoyed that there was more talk than I expected.
The test was fun to watch, but oh there was so much Japanese to learn, and this on top of my Spanish studies!!! Maybe doing physical things and learning the words about them will be different than the total language lessons that I continue to work on for Spanish.
I don't get the Jo, and bokken at all. They seem strange to me. I can see that they could amplify movements etc, but overall I don't understand what purpose they serve, even less so after having watched people with them tonight. It appears to me that they are only used
This entry somehow got blown away and the next entry replaced it. So I have reentered it from memory.
Finaly being able to take up the art of Aikido after having wished to for a number of years, but not been in a position to do so.
Tonight I went to look at the Aikido Institute. I watched both the beginers class, and the advanced class.
All of the people in the class were extreamely friendly. Asked multiple times if I had any questions.
The bigger Aikido here was apparent in a number of ways. There was an elder on the mat in the advanced class, she did not do rolls or the like when she was a partner with the others, however she was working hard on her form, and everyone took her inability to roll in stride.
The techniques were well taught, and the ratio of demonstartion and verbalization for each technique seemed well within my range.
The Sensai Kim answered my questions several times throughout the evening. He had a way of talking to me and listening to my questions that cemented in some way his big Aikido in my mind. It was very comforting, very welcoming.
Tomorrow night I am going to go watch at East Bay Aikido. Tom the Sensai there wrote me the most zen responce to any e-mail that I have ever gotten. I am intrigued, and look forward to meeting him.