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I'm awfully glad to see my new thumbnail growing out in more or less the right position. I'd thought initially I'd have to go see a hand specialist and some minor surgery might be needed but it looks as though it might turn out right without any further intervention.
It's yet another year end and this year end has been marked by injury and illness unfortunately. However now that the flu has largely abated, I'm hoping to go back to normal practice and also do some resistance training at the gym to bring my muscle tone back. That's my new year's resolution.
It's good to be back after my short break. While i'm still a little wounded, I can do enough that it's not too slow for my uke. I just can't exactly grab someone with my left hand and i have to adjust my ukemi a bit since I don't like putting and sudden weight on my palm and don't like putting any weight at all on my thumb. The throws are actually reasonably easy and i got to practice rolling and those work fine.
I also stepped back also for the first time into yoga class today and yep, all this lack of activity has made me stiffer. The class was good as it helped me loosed my left shoulder a bit as it was slightly stiff. Of course the nice thing about having a bandage on my yoga class is I go as slow as I want and the teacher doesn't pick on me
So I'm trying to return to a level of physical activity that was in place before the injury. Just signed up at my old gym so I can return to some light resistance programmes like body pump and pilates so i can at least keep up the level of physical activity while I can only do beginners aikido.
Stepped back on the mat after a two week break to allow my hand to recover sufficiently and the wound to close. I still can't really use my thumb since it hurts to even put the smallest amount of pressure on the thumb but beginner's class isn't too bad. I just warn my partner before hand not to touch the thumb and bandage it so there's always a clear visual indication as to which thumb it is.
Pins are definitely harder to execute properly but throws are ok since they don't require such fine use of the digits. The ukemi isn't too bad as long as i'm not thrown to hard since slapping with that hand on the mat isn't exactly a great option right now to dissipate the energy of the throw.
I'll probably stick with beginners' class for now until the thumb recovers a little bit more.
Fukakusa Sensei is doing his annual visit to my dojo and it's always instructive and illuminating to see him in action. Not to mention humbling . I feel like a beginner all over again because I feel like there are so many things I'm simply not getting as I've never been that good a visual learner and there are most certainly a bunch more things I don't even know I'm not getting.
I was lucky to be partnering two guys who are actually a lot better than me the last two sessions though so they caught more of the subtlety of the movements and helped me try and discover those aspects.
We did a lot of moves where we had to slip to the side very slightly. Just enough to "enter". And I found a lot of the time I wasn't either raising my hands up at the initial movement in a sword hand movement to protect myself and meet the attack just before sliding slightly to the side.
Either that or i was simply not "entering" deeply enough so that I was close enough to launch a response that came from my centre.
So many things, so little time....all I can say is I hope I remember to drill these little movements as without the followup practice, it's all going to fade away fast.
My knees hurt. Not a lot. Just a little and just enough to make me a bit more cautious going down stairs as the left one can buckle without warning so I hold tight to the bannister! At least that's what it's been the past three weeks. I don't know what's wrong but I'm hoping it's either a minor injury that will mend soon or that it's one of those things like getting loose joints at certain times. Taking some zinaxin ginger pills at any rate to see if the little inflammation wears off faster.
Needless to say I'm glad at this point to be partnering the nice new newbies during first class who go slow and the senior women in the second who have a lot of control. I don't even have to tell them i have a bit of a problem as they adjust automatically without even knowing it .
I'm finally getting used to doing randori. It's taken a while. It's not that I'm any better technically but at least it's less stressful being out there and I can actually enjoy the process and start to think a little bit more about what I need to try and work on when I'm out there.
I've been trying to figure out how to not circle around so much because although it looks nice and generally people can't touch me, I can't control the situation. So one of the guys told me that I should actually try and enter more. So I've been trying that the last couple of times. I find it means I have a higher tendency to grab (hard on the uke and less fluid and wastes time) so then the next time I tried turning even less but then while i stopped grabbing so much, I realised my positioning got a lot poorer and there were a couple of times I got swamped.
So i'll have to keep trying to find a good balance and learn how to position myself better.
It was also fun watching the new shodans get out there. Some of them can move so those are the ones who are real naturals at it but others started out pretty much like me. Getting swamped by losing time through improper technique then the whole session falls apart. Taking ukemi is also tough on some of them I notice but one of them who actually looks like Po in Kungfu Panda turned out his ukemi is improving by leaps and bounds (literally). It's a joy to watch him now and it's fun to do randori with him.
Sometime back I wrote about a 13-year old who is allowed to join the adult class and who never helps with the mats. Earlier this week I found out why: it's the parents. The mother told me the father tells her not to help with the mats because she's tired after school, she's so small she can't do much etc (she's as tall as I am and frankly the adults don't expect too much just that she tries.)
That would explain a lot. It explains why despite being told, asked politely and eventually scolded by her sempai, she would always say yes but skulk upstairs rather than coming down to help despite being early. After all, father trumps sempai. It was only when the sensei himself went up to her and scolded her after one class in no uncertain terms that finally she showed up with mom instead of dad (who usually just sits and reads newspapers by the side).
I pointed out to the mother that everyone is supposed to come and help with the mats, and her child, especially since she was being allowed a special privilege to attend the adult class and be trained by the adult sempai, is doubly expected to do so. However that didn't seem to carry any weight as the mother then responded that, well, she's not been there that long (it's close to 6 months already) and that they'll start to pay adult fees soon at which point I really got annoyed and told her point blank that I can see where the problem lies, it's with the father's attitude that's the real cause of the problem isn't it and th
Kungfu Panda's a blast. I just saw it today with a bunch of aikido mates and we all enjoyed it hugely. Was laughing out loud through much of the movie with all the antics of the characters.
It's got a fairly predictable plot (and i'm not going to say anymore about it so no spoilers here) but so well executed it's a joy to watch. I really like the fight/training sequences and my favourite sequence has to be when the choosing of the next Dragon Warrier is on and the hero is trying to get into watch the proceedings.
The fight sequences often are to me like the martial arts movies I've seen with characters swooping from tree to roof at impossible distances etc. With animation it can be done far more smoothly and plausibly in an imagined world than with real life actors and props. It's why i think I actually prefer this done in animation than in real life movies. Kinda like a Platonic ideal.
I find it strange that some people never seem to learn the first basic lesson of aikido which is to me: get offline! And that this means psychologically as well as physically. There really is little point in learning a complex and subtle martial art like aikido if one is simply going to retain that combative and confrontational attitude on the inside since that will rise to the forefront at the moment of stress.
Self control is a hard lesson indeed. And flexibility of the mind is an even harder thing to train sometimes than flexibility of the body.
Had another randori session. I have this love-hate relationship with randori. I think it looks incredibly beautiful and it really displays aikido at its best sometimes. But it's always not that easy being uke for me as my ukemi skills at high breakfalls still leave much to be desired.
Nevertheless, being nage, gives me a lot of practice and last Wednesday was no exception. I don't think I did as well as I did the last time but I figure it's one of those things, the more I practice, the better I will get at it.
This time I had two very good guys be my ukes and one very good woman...all senior to me and I think they did pace it a bit to suit my ability. Ended up doing a lot of turning on the spot repeatedly cos I always seemed to have two ukes about to attack so I was thinking in retrospect, I'm pretty sure I made some mistakes there and should have tried moving away a bit! Would have made it harder for me to get so surrounded.