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Old 01-18-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
Grimkor
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Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Would just like to start off by saying that I've been reading around the forums for the past few days and it looks like a great place for mixed backgrounds and training styles coming together to discuss their Aikido.

A bit about me first, I'm recently new to Martial Arts and Yoshinkan-style Aikido is my first. I originally picked it up to help my social anxiety disorder, I have been training for approximately 4-5 months and beginning of January I earned my red belt. The dojo I train at is very small, only ever about 4-5 people turn up as it's just not that popular in our area and as such I train primarily with the black/brown belts or Sensei.

This isn't a prolem as I get thrown very much into the deep end of Aikido and have been practicing techniques that I shouldn't really be trying. This means I can struggle to do the technique properly but it has allowed me to get a good grasp of the movement and control down relatively quickly for a beginner.

What this thread really is about as you can guess is what we call "Jihu-Waza" but I think others call it Randori, I'm not sure but it's free-style attack/defense between Nage and Uke. Now really this is reserved for mid-tier and above however Sensei has decided to throw me into it extremely early, in fact my first session of Jihu-Waza was a few weeks before Christmas and I must stress that he does simplify it to a single type of attack.

So far it's not been a problem, in fact I've actually found that Kotegaeshi has been my go-to and most comfortable technique in most of the sessions and I've even managed a technique (of which I forgot the name of) that I'd only ever seen in the Total Aikido book before now and never practiced before (which left me a bit shocked and with a huge grin on my face).

My problem I faced was the other night while Sensei was away and our black belt was leading the class for that evening. We ended up doing a different version of Jihu-Waza where instead of typical strikes like Yokoman, Shoman-Uchi and sorts that it was presented in a fistycuffs kind of scenario, essentially the idea was to evade or create an oppurtunity to control Uke. Now in theory it should have been okay as it's just like what I've done before, all he was doing was striking and the Black/Brown didn't have any trouble while I watched but it came to my turn and it was horrid. It was really above me, while I managed to cleanly claim a few kotegaeshi's from straights, a Sankyo from an Atemi/parry and over-extending once with just pulling the punch through my center to trip him it was overwhelming.

I'm not sure if it was because it felt informal, because he was relentless (but slow to help me) and couldn't quite see that I really struggled with it but I almost walked off the mat as my anxiety rose above what I could handle. I know given a real life situation I can't expect the aggressor to lay off but it felt like I had too much on me at the time for training. Basically I could evade, parry, spin off and over-extend the strikes but I just don't know enough yet from my training to really do much against that.

Don't get me wrong I really enjoy Jihu-Waza and my best moments have been in the session... Mainly because it's the only time I've been about to do Nikkyo without any problems and it helps gauge my progress in ways.

I wondered how people felt when they first did Randori/Jihu-Waza and if anyone had advice about approaching it.

Thank you for reading.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:59 PM   #2
dave9nine
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jihu-waza

hi David,
welcome.
im sure others will have more detail for you, so ill leave a brief comment:

at your level there is no need to get flustered or worry about being able to pull off many techniques during a randori/jiyu waza.
at my dojo we tell begininers precisely to stick with one technique and repeat that one. we stress that it is much more important to practice moving your feet in tenkan and irimi and to get the rythm of it--more than anything.
also, if you watch even the masters doing randoris in videos, you will see that they are not really trying to pull off specific techniques that require a lot of hand/wrist/feet articulation; instead they are more focused on moving out of the way and leading attackers down and out based on how they are moving in.

cheers.

-dave
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:12 PM   #3
Grimkor
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jihu-waza

I can understand and agree with what you're saying, Sensei said the same thing to me as did the previous Sensei when he watched me doing it on the mat too with Kotegaeshi in both instances.

It was more the fact that the sort of fistycuffs scenario had a few problems for myself in that I could move out and keep correct distance, but apart from kotegaeshi from leading on a punch I struggled to find an opening because I just am not at that level I feel.

Does that help explain it a bit better or am I just going around in circles? (pun not intended)
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:17 PM   #4
grondahl
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jihu-waza

Sounds like you accomplished the goal of the exercise.

Itīs common and quite natural to be stressed when trying out training with looser boundaries but I think that the important thing is to approach it like "training" instead of "performing". Itīs ok to make mistakes and screw up, itīs ok to be hit or get an occasional "deer in the headlights" moment. Keep doing jiyu waza and you will become better at it and your confidence will grow.

Quote:
David Sturman wrote: View Post
..essentially the idea was to evade or create an oppurtunity to control Uke....

I'm not sure if it was because it felt informal, because he was relentless (but slow to help me) and couldn't quite see that I really struggled with it but I almost walked off the mat as my anxiety rose above what I could handle. I know given a real life situation I can't expect the aggressor to lay off but it felt like I had too much on me at the time for training. Basically I could evade, parry, spin off and over-extend the strikes but I just don't know enough yet from my training to really do much against that.

I wondered how people felt when they first did Randori/Jihu-Waza and if anyone had advice about approaching it.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:19 PM   #5
Amir Krause
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jihu-waza

You are doing fine.

It is OK to be overwhelmed in early training, it should help you not to get ovewhelmed as easily later on.

Enjoy and keep up

amir
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:22 PM   #6
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jihu-waza

We do Randori pretty early in my dojo as well. Sensei pretty much has us focus on moving and not so much on technique at this stage. Until you can stay clear minded and keep moving there is really no use to be trying to close with uke for a technique.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:43 PM   #7
Basia Halliop
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jihu-waza

Well, randori is not my strong point so my advice isn't mostly technical advice. My advice would be to accept the fact that it may feel kind of insane and try not to let the insanity unsettle you or freak you out more than necessary. It's normal that at higher speed and intensity and unplanned, you don't really have time to think and that you can kind of find out what's in your muscle memory (and it sounds like you did pretty well for so few months, to me). IMHO, I would concentrate on basics like tenkan-ing out of the way, getting behind them if you can, etc, and just do your best.

I.e., see if you can use it as an opportunity to practice being more calm under pressure.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 01-18-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:46 PM   #8
Grimkor
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Sounds like you accomplished the goal of the exercise.

Itīs common and quite natural to be stressed when trying out training with looser boundaries but I think that the important thing is to approach it like "training" instead of "performing". Itīs ok to make mistakes and screw up, itīs ok to be hit or get an occasional "deer in the headlights" moment. Keep doing jiyu waza and you will become better at it and your confidence will grow.
I think the performing part is something I've not considered to be the problem, how I didn't think of that I do not know. I know in practice it will become easier but I think looking at it in terms of a performance was perhaps one of the mistakes I made.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
We do Randori pretty early in my dojo as well. Sensei pretty much has us focus on moving and not so much on technique at this stage. Until you can stay clear minded and keep moving there is really no use to be trying to close with uke for a technique.
I can definately see the use of Randori very early on, to be honest the first time I did it I got stage fright as I was being watched by Sensei and 2 other students at the time. Second time though I didn't realise how collective my movements had become and just how smooth they were, I still considered myself a stumbling fool at the time but under the spotlight I managed to prove myself otherwise.


Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Well, randori is not my strong point so my advice isn't mostly technical advice. My advice would be to accept the fact that it may feel kind of insane and try not to let the insanity unsettle you or freak you out more than necessary. It's normal that at higher speed and intensity and unplanned, you don't really have time to think and that you can kind of find out what's in your muscle memory (and it sounds like you did pretty well for so few months, to me). IMHO, I would concentrate on basics like tenkan-ing out of the way, getting behind them if you can, etc, and just do your best.
You know I do keep hearing that I'm doing well for my time, but I keep myself reserved from such comments as it will effect my training on the mat if I let them inflate my ego. I did end up mostly avoiding the attacks by leading the punch or getting out of the way, however that was not the point of the exercise and I soon realised I should stop it. Perhaps next time I should of just spoken up when I was extremely uncomfortable rather then just keep playing along with it.

But I think I may have dwelled too much on what could of just been a "bad session", I don't plan on skipping it tomorrow and I will try and put this bad session behind me at least

Thank you all for your support, it's most appreciated.

Last edited by Grimkor : 01-18-2011 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:02 PM   #9
guest1234567
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

We call Jihu-Waza free-style attack/defense and you are doing well.
But Randori is defense against 2 or more ukes and one has to be always in movement never giving the back to any uke, pushing one against the other and the technique is mostly kokyu nage..

Randori (乱取り?) is a term used in Japanese martial arts to describe free-style practice or sparring, usually with multiple attackers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randori

Last edited by guest1234567 : 01-18-2011 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:08 PM   #10
Grimkor
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Oh wow thank you for that Carina, seems like I never understood what Randori actually meant! Guess I can't edit out my mistakes *coughs*.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:17 PM   #11
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Quote:
David Sturman wrote: View Post
Oh wow thank you for that Carina, seems like I never understood what Randori actually meant! Guess I can't edit out my mistakes *coughs*.
Hi David,

You are doing fine. Don't worry about the performance. It's a training exercise.

BTW, randori does not mean defense against 2 or more uke.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:38 PM   #12
lbb
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

My brother, who is a ski racing coach, once described slalom racing as "a knife fight in a phone booth". What he meant by that is that it's messy, it isn't elegant, and even the best make mistakes -- the whole situation is set up so that running the whole course elegantly is practically impossible. It is NOT a good discipline for a perfectionist, because the perfectionist desire is going to be thwarted. Seems to me that randori/jiyu waza is like that too. If you back it way down or constrain it (for example, only one kind of attack), it can feel like you're in control...maybe you even are in control, with those constraints. But the fewer restrictions there are, the more it's going to be like the "knife fight in a phone booth", where everyone's going to get messy.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:39 PM   #13
Janet Rosen
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

IME both randori and jiyuwaza can mean different things within different styles or dojos, so the only thing important is how terms are used where you're training!
It sounds like you are off to a good start.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:09 PM   #14
Basia Halliop
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Quote:
You know I do keep hearing that I'm doing well for my time, but I keep myself reserved from such comments as it will effect my training on the mat if I let them inflate my ego
I wouldn't getting too stuck on the idea of doing well for your level, but for another reason -- you can easily get dependent on it and have trouble when in the future you hit something more difficult for you or when people aren't telling you that.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:37 AM   #15
gates
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Hi,
You suggest that one of the reasons that you started Aikido was to help with your social anxiety. This to me seems like a wonderful reason to start Aikido or any martial art for that matter.

It is difficult to realize the exact nature and intent of the attacker in your Jiu-waza. Isn't the 'seemingly' confrontational scenario you found yourself in facing exactly the social anxiety that led you to Aikido in the first place. And did you not overcome it?

However you do need to be clear about your boundaries, it would be a crying shame if you got put off, as it sounds you are just getting going.

You could talk to your sensei, "Sensei, I felt under a lot of pressure in the Randori the other day and felt a quite uncomfortable, to be honest I nearly didn't come to the next practice", and explain why you started Aikido in the first place. If the Sensei is worth his salt, he will keep an eye on you (without embarrassing you or making a big deal about it), I have heard only positive things about the manners of Yoshinkan Aikidoka, so would expect him/her to be responsible and look after you. The other thing is that if uke is coming too hard too fast, just slow down, right down, this sends a clear message, "I am just a modest beginner so please be kind to me". I assure you they will understand this message.

Learning to stay calm and perfectly relaxed in the face of the aggression is the key to being one beat ahead of your attacker, and the key to being able to read and neutralize a situation before it starts.

It is the 'real' reason I personally love Aikido as much as I do, and why it is so useful in everyday life. Other martial arts have powerful ways of dealing with aggression, but are over the top for most situations. Aikido is subtle and can be applied to all sorts of situations.

I personally have directly applied Aikido philosophy in work situations, to remain calm accepting a verbal assault from my former boss and then turning the situation upside down. The only way you can do this is if you remain calm but assertive (like the Dog Whisperer !!!).

If you do continue to have uncomfortable experiences, you could always look around at other dojo's. Watch a class first. But it sounds you are quite lucky where you are, so try to stick at it.

There are many paths to the top of mount fuji-yama and they all go up !!!
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:08 AM   #16
guest1234567
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Hi David,

You are doing fine. Don't worry about the performance. It's a training exercise.

BTW, randori does not mean defense against 2 or more uke.
Thanks Demetrio and sorry David for giving you a wrong information, I told you what we call randori.. by checking out with wikipedia I found the following information
Multiple attackers and randori
One feature of aikido is training to defend against multiple attackers, often called taninzudori, or taninzugake. Freestyle (randori, or jiyūwaza) practice with multiple attackers is a key part of most curricula and is required for the higher level ranks. Randori exercises a person's ability to intuitively perform techniques in an unstructured environment. Strategic choice of techniques, based on how they reposition the student relative to other attackers, is important in randori training. For instance, an ura technique might be used to neutralise the current attacker while turning to face attackers approaching from behind.

In Shodokan Aikido, randori differs in that it is not performed with multiple persons with defined roles of defender and attacker, but between two people, where both participants attack, defend, and counter at will. In this respect it resembles judo randori.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aikido
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:18 AM   #17
ewolput
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

In Shodokan Aikido, randori differs in that it is not performed with multiple persons with defined roles of defender and attacker, but between two people, where both participants attack, defend, and counter at will. In this respect it resembles judo randori.

Just to inform you, in Shodokan aikido or Tomiki aikido there is a form of "ninin dori" or 2-attackers format kakari geiko (non resistance randori). This is done in a competitive format and is popular in the BAA (British Aikido Association) and the ETAN (European Tomiki Aikido Network) competitions. See http://tomiki-aikido.wikispaces.com/...n+Championship.
In Japan, the JAA (Japan Aikido Association) is not organising this kind of ninin dori.
Ninin dori is very interesting because many attacking forms can be used.
Tomiki Aikido or Shodokan Aikido is not only tanto sparring but have many interesting randori formats.

Eddy Wolput
shobukai.be
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:30 AM   #18
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
Thanks Demetrio and sorry David for giving you a wrong information, I told you what we call randori.. by checking out with wikipedia I found the following information
No worries Carina, we are here to help each other. Wikipedia is usually a good resource for information but has to be used with caution. Not everything you read here is totally accurate.
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:07 AM   #19
Eva Antonia
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Hi all,

I always translated "randori" unconsciously with "random"; sounds similar, means the same. That may not be a correct translation, but I think it comes near to what it is - you get a random attack by a random number of persons and do what you can do with it.

In our dojo we also started early with randori, but then it is quite adapted at the lower levels. Like "attack XY with shomen ucho", so XY can already think what he'll do about this shomen uchi. Later on it becomes more complex, and for the higher kyu grades it is even part of many exams, even if it is not in the book.

I'm also not very proficient at randori, even if it is great fun. The problem is that I react too slowly, so until the moment I understand if uke comes with shomen uchi or yokomen uchi I either stand frozen (get slapped) or am already halfway doing the wrong defense (have anticipated). But I still hope this will improve. When there are two ukes, sometimes it is easier because one is in the way of the other, or they try to coordinate and that allows to see what technique they want to do. Or they are really good and I don't have a chance to defend myself...

I once saw a randori during a grading exam of a judo club in Abidjan (the judoka trained before the aikidoka, so we just could wathc before training). The person to be tested was a women of approximately my height and weight, and she fought against some tough guys who knew no mercy. I don't understand anything of judo, but at the end she fought them off (had one in a neck lock) and got her grade; it was very elating for a fellow woman to see that this is possible.

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:47 AM   #20
GMaroda
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Hi David! I have social anxiety too. For me, I have trouble with vocalizations. Just don't ask me to kiai and I'm mostly ok!

Sounds like everything you felt is natural. Probably intensified from the disorder, but mostly nothing to get too worked up over. The deer-in-the-headlights thing can be a bother, just make sure your sensei knows you have these problems and WHY. Some people won't get it (which one of the reasons I quit a different martial art after years of training) but I think it should work out ok.

And just remember what everyone here is telling you: jiyuwaza and randori SHOULD push you past your limits. Even good aikidoka can have problems with technique. The great ones realize that and just go with the flow. Eventually body memory and basic principles take over.

As for me (I'm only gokyu), I only worry about evading/avoiding the attack without putting myself into a disadvantageous position. If I can get the technique good, but as long as I can keep follow up attacks from being effective I'm happy! With multiple attacks it's trickier, but basically the same thing. Don't get trapped, don't focus on technique, don't go backwards.

I agree with the others. You're doing fine. And don't worry about it going to your head. "Fine" at your level doesn't mean "super aikido skills." It means "progressing normally". Trust me when I say someone someday will beat any unearned ego out of you.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:21 AM   #21
OwlMatt
 
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

I'll echo many above in saying that there is no need to feel anxious about performing like a beginner when you are, in fact, a beginner. Everyone at your dojo knows this, and no one expects you to perform like a brown- or black-belt right away.

I always say that my goal is to leave every class slightly less confused than I arrived. If you achieve this in a class, you have succeeded, so be happy. If you have not, remember that no one succeeds all the time and don't get discouraged. Moving smoothly through randori is something that takes years of training.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:35 PM   #22
Grimkor
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Just want to say again thank you, I never expected so many replies on the topic!

Tonight's session went extremely well, practiced a lot more blending which is something I've not really practiced enough of outside of shoman-uchi ikkajo tenkan.

Came to the jiyu-waza and it was set to just against a straight punch, kept missing uke but was told to not grab uke (which I was trying to do and I didn't even realise it at the time). Got told to try other techniques, said I can't think of any and was reassured I did and so I had to get creative. Taking what I read here I decided if I couldn't think of a technique the least I could do was to evade the strike and take uke off-balance by over-extending the strike.

Did okay though, I struggle a little with Irimi-Nage at the moment as it's the control from the jaw I don't feel too comfortable with as I don't want to be clumsy and hurt uke but I was perticularly proud that I managed to step back out of the point of impact, kind of blended the striking arm by bringing it around in a circular motion and went in with a shoman-ate that kind of translated into an Irimi-nage lol.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:20 PM   #23
nuxie
 
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Re: Beginner - Randori/Jiyu-waza

Thats awesome David! Glad you were able to overcome and felt better about your class. I myself have been practicing for 6 months and we did this attacking stuff and i stood there and froze HAHA. So they came at me faster so that I had to duck or get out of the way. once i started moving I still did horrible and kept going to an ikkyo... i had to go against three people one right after another they didn't let me go sit and take a break ... I thought it was their way of having a bit of fun with me. We all sat and laughed afterward. Whilst I know it was just a preview of what is to come. I am glad for the experience of taking me out of my comfort zone. I am a super duper control freak and hate surprises. I am learning to go with the flow and trust. Most of all I am learning how to guard my face HAHA. keep up the good work and just know that each time they challenge you its because they believe in you.
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