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This last couple weeks or so of my newly-regular, but still half-assed, shugyo, had some interesting stuff for me. I've been really focusing on my hips and legs. A bit too much perhaps because I have noticed some tightening in the hips and knees. After about a half an hour they loosen up though and things start to feel good again. My feet are constantly tired which probaly means I'm using too much muscle. However, a couple nights ago I have to say they felt great. It was a slight return to that stable feeling I remember having back when I was training very seriously. The biggest part of my focus in on feeling both hips at the same time and tracking how they rotate with regard to each other. I remember being told to think of "smearing" a technique into the other person by sensei and by one of my sempai and this sliding/smearing quality came to mind last night while I was rotating my legs/hips in various movements. At one point I had some personal realizations last night that kind of hit me in the face. We all need time to ourselves, but it dawned on me that I've been getting rather selfish in my own subtle ways. It's the product of having kids who take up all my time...and I've been very accustomed to operating in my own time. Having the thought has cleared up a bit of energy, and I woke up this morning after being up "all" night feeling pretty good. I should add I started my practice last night feeling under the weather and finished feeling top notch.
A few days ago the wi
The last month or so I've been solo training (suburi and other exercises) a minimum of 30 minutes every night, usually going closer to an hour. The back of our house faces west so every night around dusk I walk out the door and if the weather is good, I am greeted by subdued warm hues and the first few stars. Venus in particular shines brightly and it has been a kind of greeter, welcoming me back to another bit of practice. The newly-regular familiarity of it has added to a sense of my shugyo, meager though it is. The weather has been more cloudy as of late and the other night the sky was overcast except for a patch where Venus was nestled brightly. It shown like a pinpoint of fire, an echo of sunlight, burning through the deep, darkening, blue. I've been really enjoying this time of my day. It's become a time where I work on what little study I've acquired, have random thoughts and insights, and, in short: enjoy the sensations of the world in and around me.
The last few days, more and more I've been working on my hips. I'm noticing some effects from a lifetime of soccer and skiing. As a right-footed soccer player, I have some common postural issues in my lower back tied to the fact that my left foot/hip is more used to being planted while my right is more used to muscling through its path around that left hip and leg. My right leg, hip, and lower back feel particularly "big and tight" and I'm working on making them feel "dense and relaxed;" trying to focus on centripital
Winds upon my face
The stars silently observe
Rain coats my form
Apple blossoms swerve
Venus echos the sun
The smell of grass infused
A bird sings to the night
As bokuto bounces imbued
Right side enters
Left side leaves
The chamber is the cut
The mind wanders free
And reigned in again
The ebb and flow of prana
Bellows echoe in the soul
The breath of Kamisama
The last couple weeks have found me practicing about an hour almost every night. Sometimes only 20 minutes, but sometimes an hour and a half. I've averaged about an hour though.
Right now I'm mostly trying to get in touch with my body; to feel how different movements feel in different parts of my body; how to move "instantly" from one direction to another; mostly focusing on mugamae as a starting position and trying to remember to put ki into my back to facilitate forward extension.
Based on the last keiko, I'm going to start trying to stretch my shoulders more to loosen up their grip on my structure. This afternoon I'm going to do 100 cuts focusing on hips and shoulders relaxing...will be cutting fairly slowly.
Anyhoo, time to soak up some sun. It's a glorious day.
Oh and yesterday, after reading The Hunger Games a rabbit wandered into my yard. It didn't stand a chance: I promptly caught it (it's clearly a domesticated rabbit), and am waiting to see if anyone claims it. I'm calling him "Bugs."
Good times all around.
I was planning on attending the taisai friday and saturday, but was unable to make it saturday. Possible proof of karma, perhaps. I was looking forward to the misogi and chinkon no gyo, particularly after friday night's awesome training. It was easily one of the funnest time's I've had on the mat.
I felt like I learned a lot, but also, I felt relatively loose and much more purposeful when I moved, although nowhere near as precise as I'd like to be.
During the open-mat period I was able to train with a sempai with whome I first went to Japan over ten years ago. We had a lot of fun warming up; a mild form of jiyuwaza.
As usual, after bowing in, we began with bokuto, which is becoming more and more fun to me. We went outside and commenced. I enjoy the seriousness which comes from swinging a stick around; it sharpens the senses; speeding up the neural pathways; sharpening the body and mind in its own way. Mugamae; seigan; negaeshi uchi; etc. Each one a part of the somewhat infinite whole; each one a proverbial grain of sand through which to view the universe of action.
Thoughts on the training:
cut from a very specific place to a very specific place
have a sense of moving from and receiving toward the feet; driving through the hips
After several kata and some focus on their parts, we went inside for taijutsu. Just as we started walking through the tori back toward the haiden, the slightest bit of rain began to fall. This made me think of timing and brought