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I was away from the mats for a week or so. I had a very bad experience with one of the teachers at the dojo and unfortunately I let that get the best of me. After speaking with the dojocho and many other aikidoka who train there, they assured me I was both doing well and to ignore the bad teachers extreme methods of teaching.
I'll only say this one more thing about the experience: Aikido is, to me, about supporting your fellow aikidoka on the mats. No matter what you are doing, no matter how often you do it, I believe you should be supportive and encouraging, even when someone is doing something "wrong" or against your way of thinking. There are a million ways to communicate with words. Chose them wisely and without ill intent. To correct someone is to truly teach them, not to demoralize their character.
After the week off the mats I was thankful that the dojocho returned to train with us. His first class back was akin to ordering pizza and watching a movie with a good friend. No, we didn't eat on the mats :-) But it was comforting and familiar, and I'm truly thankful to have a man like him as my Sensei.
It felt good to sweat again. The Chicago heat and humidity have been running high lately, but we're all training as hard as we can despite the weather. I've never trained when it's cold outside, so it'll be interesting to be on the mats when the weather begins to turn. But for now, a good sweat makes me feel on top of the world.