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The school season is about at a close so the wifey has been working even more hours than she already does. As a result I wasn't able to make it to Sensei's class last night, but my mom was able to babysit so I could attend the beginners' class.
It was warm and a little muggy, so I was coated in my anti-grip solution of sodium, water, and essential oils. We worked on gyaku hanmi katate tori yonkyo nigite then applied an ushiro tenkan movement (version 1). Ushiro tenkan is one of the few waza I usually feel pretty comfortable doing, particularly that version. This was a form that harkens back to when I trained way back in the long long ago, so the muscle memory was able to kick in and help a little. As usual I started out feeling stiff, but I loosened up (relatively speaking) fairly quickly.
I made sure to bring home a list of the kyu requirements so I can practice them on my own as much as possible. Even though I've already taken the gokyu exam I'm going to start my focus there and progress onward. There are a number of changes to the way sensei does things so this way I can make sure I'm up to date. I'm more or less familiar with the waza...the basic idea to them...but getting my body to move smoothly and comfortably is the hard part. Before keiko yesterday I sat on the little deck which faces the Pilchuck river and mentally mapped how I think they would go. With few exceptions I think I had a basic idea of what to do. Now I just have to ask sensei for the definitive ans
This week was another tough one for me. I have a lot of adjustments to make in general, and my kids and I were sick so I was feeling threadbare. When I get that way, some of the old depression symptoms surface, adding to things. Not very fun, but I've begun to view times like these as challenges to be overcome; lessons to be worked on. It's funny how the lense of this mindset can make even innocuous things seem negative. C'est la vie.
So I went to the dojo yesterday feeling discombobulated. I missed misogi because I had been sick and was up late the night before. Funny how my internal clock still woke me up at the designated time though. I went to Chouhai, the daily ceremony where we read the O Harai no Kotoba. I like the focus on balancing the outflow of breath and vocalization with relaxation. I had a hard time relaxing though. I lost my place a few times, which is something I haven't done since I started learning over a decade ago, and my voice was choppy and tight instead of smooth and relaxed. It still felt good and helped me to relax more than I was beforehand.
When we started warming up for keiko I felt really tight and began sweating right away. And when we began bokuto practice I had a hard time remembering where I was at in the short sequence. It was a rough start after a rough week, but slowly, layer by layer, I felt the stress and tension diminish. By the end of keiko I felt normal again, or much closer to normal.
Sensei has been packing a lot of information
Today I finally made it back on the mat. I wanted to do the full meal deal so I did misogi at 8am, followed by the Chyohai and then Chinkon sai. Misogi always kind of typifies the concept of gyo for me: you strip down, practically naked to the world around you, and then often it is rather cold. If you haven't done it a while it's moderately uncomfortable...although, on some days it doesn't matter how long since you've last done it, it's still uncomfortable. Still, I love it. It's invigorating and provides a great opportunity to practice focusing while in a situation where it can be hard to focus. When I used to do misogi regularly (which for me meant, formally, 1-3 times a week) I would get a warm feeling in my hara while up to my shoulders in glacier run-off. I didn't get that feeling today, but it was still nice and refreshing and once I found the focus to "sink" my vocalizations into my hara (or near enough), the calm feeling I got was very pleasant, even if fleeting.
...Of course, the hot tea afterward was also very refreshing and pleasant.
In bokuto practice we worked on some of the usual kata. Sensei came over at one point and gave me some specifics to work on since I've been working on this at home so much...of course I remember him saying that better than some of the points he wanted me to focus on, but the key one that stuck was in adjusting my feet into a bit wider stance at one point in the sequence we were working on, as well as to really squeeze the elbows to
Today I was planning on attending the beginners' class at the dojo, but was reminded of another obligation I had agreed to. This whole day was one of the worst I've had in a long time. I was in a foul mood from how my body has been feeling, my lack of sleep, other things I'd rather not mention, and the fact that I wasn't going to the dojo...again. And the wee-est lad has a scream that cuts me to the quick like few things can. I was feeling like a miserable fuck, not to put too fine a point on it.
I really didn't want to do anything but crawl into a dark hole. However, by the time we were leaving our little get-together, I felt better...but still needed to blow off some of that pent-up steam, and so my son and I decided to splash in puddles the whole way back to the van. We were soaked but smiling brightly. The puddles were my misogi; his laughter like suzu bells; another day another lesson.
Sweet dreams, folks.
I'm very frustrated with my inability to train regularly. If it's not one thing it's another and the most common theme is my inability to get organized. I've been good at practicing at home, for whatever that's been worth, but it's hard not to feel like a joke after so much inconsistency.
Time to stay positive and keep plugging away: what I can; when I can.