I thought about putting this in my blog since I'm describing a lot about my personal experience. However, I hope that personal experience serves well enough to reflect the training for it to be appropriate here.
I just wanted to give a quick description of the Taisai so far. I was only able to make it to yesterday and today, missing out on all the festivities after keiko (beer and pizza yesterday, and Mrs. Barrish's delicious food today), but thoroughly enjoying every minute I was able to attend. I was able to see a number of people I haven't seen for years, and meet some new folks, some coming from as far away as Russia.
Friday I arrived in the nick of time, about 5 minutes to 6pm. As soon as I was dressed I heard the banging of the taiko, signaling the start of class. As soon as we bowed in, Sensei sent us all outside to enjoy the sunshine with boktoh.
The following videos are from a previous Taisai, but to give an idea...
We started with a little of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXSS5...eature=related
Moved on to some of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDoJr...eature=related
And did a few other forms.
After awase practice we went back inside to work on taijutsu. I have to admit I was a little frustrated at the end of friday's training. I had a blast, but years of working in construction and not paying enough attention to relaxed movements has left me rather muscle-based. I had a heck of a time getting out of my shoulders and not leaning onto my partners. I drove home feeling a new level of determination rising up.
I had a hard time sleeping that night and woke up at 5am. I woke up tired and feeling decidedly like *not* doing misogi. The determination I went to sleep with was replaced with a strong desire to simply sleep; to not make the 50 mile drive and remind myself how poorly my Aikido has become. Of course I went anyway. It's rare that I train anyway, so I wasn't going to miss out on an event like this.
It was cold, but strangely enough, once I was in hachimaki and funadoshi I wasn't so uncomfortable. I used to do a lot of misogi and it felt like I was still more or less acclimated. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and the water pure...Coincidentally, todays doka helped turn some of my initial lack of motivation around.
I stand in the mountain stream
So pure! The splashing sound of water against the stone.
Yet where is the person
Who with such purity can speak (of the Way).
After misogi the warm tea was especially enjoyed along with a nice discussion. Soon we did chouhai and the ireisai for O Sensei, the sun shining in through the side sliding doors. It was very nice.
Then it was more keiko! As with the previous day we went outside to enjoy the sunshine, though this time we were down by the river, which was just amazingly beautiful. You really couldn't have asked for better weather. I felt like I did a better job today. I certainly had a better handle on the boktoh forms, which felt good on a personal level.
Going back inside for taijutsu also felt a little better. Some of the techniques were a little more familiar, but by then I already had a complete attitude shift. I was just happy to be training, and focusing on learning. I really cannot remember when I had so much fun and I smiled the whole 50 miles back home. I felt great physically, mentally, and thus, spiritually...though I have been dog tired ever since. Still, the motivation stayed with me enough that I went for a walk with the wife and little lad, which turned into a run with the lad.
Doumo arigato gozaimasu, Sensei!!!
Take care folks!