June 10-11, 2006
I got to sleep in on Saturday, a very rare event. Sensei cancelled the 9:00 AM class due to the seminar. He never does that, so it was a nice change of pace. The seminar didn't start til 1:00, which was also a change. They have always started at 10:00 on both days. Someone asked Patty, Harvey's wife, why it was starting so late this time. She said something about people (the bigwigs, I guess....certainly not me, LOL) getting old and tired, ha.
Of course, since I thought I had SO much extra time....I was running around at the last minute. <grin> I did get there right on time...I bowed onto the mat right when the first class was lined up and bowing in. Whew. Ray Farinato was teaching. I don't know him, so I was excited to try out his class. Unfortunately, all I got to do was warm up and practice for a few minutes. The first technique was a kokyunage, the second (same partner) another kokyu. I threw my partner four times, he threw me.........and someone else threw their uke at the same time. In the same place. BAM. As my sensei said, it was "like two coconuts" hitting eachother. Ow. That hurt more than the wall at winter camp!
I got off the mat. Someone said that I was smart to stop training; I said two years ago I might not have been that smart. A WS yudansha got me an ice pack, then told me it might be better to go hang out up at the registration table, more fun than just sitting in the back room at the dojo. So I went up there, walked in with the ice on my head, someone asked what happened, and I started to bawl. I think there's nothing quite like a blow to the head.
I hung out up there for awhile. Patty K. did something that helped me calm down. I think she called it jin shin or something. She held onto my finger, that's all I really remember. Well, whatever she did, it worked. Someone gave me some advil, too. I stayed up there until around 3:15, when I saw people walking around with bokken. I figured Sensei was going to do a bokken class....and figured that would be ok to do. My head was feeling much better.
That class was pretty cool. We worked on ichi no ken, which I know really well by now. The movements, anyway.
Sugano Sensei's theme seemed to be that first you learn the technique, then after awhile, you learn the philosophy. He talked A LOT, more than I have ever heard him talk before. I think that pretty much wraps up what he said. I have attention issues, so the more someone talks, the less I hear.
I grabbed my dig cam a couple times to take photos. He was using my sensei a lot for demonstrating, so I got some cool shots of the two of them. But after he finished with ichi no ken, he went on to having us practice different timing and ma'ai exercises in pairs...so I decided I had better start paying attention and stop going for my camera everytime he stopped to teach! Good call. It was confusing enough sometimes, even when I DID pay full attention. "WHAT does he want us to do???" I asked my sandan friend partner a few times.
This class was held outdoors, behind the dojo. It was a beautiful day, albeit a bit windy. It was crowded out there, too....so you had to be really careful where you swing your bokken. Luckily, if you did get hit, it was light enough not to matter. I also got my ankle stepped on. The ground was a little muddy, so I slipped here and there, too. But it was fine...interesting to train on a different, more "real" surface than zebra mats or canvas.
That was a long class...and the last one of the day. Hang out at my sensei's house for a bit, putting together my appetizer contribution for the party (pickles and olives), having a little snack, chatting with about 7 or 8 other aikidoka. Sensei hadn't heard about my injury. He said something about these things being dangerous.
We headed over to the party around 6:30, after sensei reminded us that we had the appetizers so we'd better get there on time! "Oh yeah!"
The party was really fun, the food really yummy....especially the desserts. <grin> There was a nice fire going, which was GOOD because it was COLD out. What kind of June is this???? If I wasn't inside or by the fire, I was shivering. It was really nice hanging out with everyone, people I knew and people I didn't. Seems a lot of people came up from the city and NJ. I meant to take pictures, but somehow I just never went to get my camera out of the bag. Weird.
I left around 9:20. Usually I end up staying WAY too late and I'm exhausted by the time I make the hour long drive home. When I left early, one of my teachers said that I was finally getting smart, ha.
The next morning, class started at 10:00 AM. Sugano Sensei taught two classes that morning, with a 15 minute break in between.
I had a really good time. Sensei seemed to be emphasizing how to teach other people. I'm not a teacher yet (except for the kids) so I think a lot of it went over my head. We did some tai jutsu, some jo, and some bokken. We worked in lines for most of it. One of the early line throws, I was not anywhere near awake yet so it took me awhile to catch on. Another kyu was trying to tell me what to do; I told him I wasn't awake yet. Heh. A dan who doesn't practice very often then told me the wrong thing to do...so my sensei told me the right way...luckily he was in my line! Once I woke up, I was fine. It wasn't even a hard throw. Sigh. I really should drink coffee....or just not do aikido in the morning!!!!
Interestingly, I feel both more safe and more anxious when my sensei is in my line at a seminar. I feel better knowing he's there for me, but a little anxious because I am afraid I will screw up. I was in his line a few times, though, so I got a lot of practice dealing with that issue, heh.
We did this very confusing shomen sankyo to kokyu, which I can't even describe. Dammit. I was hoping to get to class tonight to practice it with Sensei watching (one of the dogs is sick so I have to take her to the vet tonight)....my partner at the seminar was a newbie. Sugano Sensei came over to help him out once, so that was cool. It had three atemi in it...fist to the side, fist to the face, and an elbow to the side.
Then we did a cool/scary iriminage, with a couple atemi. The punch to the face was pretty scary (and painful, even though my partner was only barely hitting me). My partner was my former Wed. AM teacher, so it was fun. At one point, I saw my sensei was watching us, my partner grinned at him. Then he said, "Don't cry!" I said, "I'm not crying, I'm laughing, because I KNOW we'll be doing this one in class tomorrow!" <grin> He said, "Just think how far ahead you'll be!" Damn. I wish I wasn't missing class tonight.
We did some of the same bokken exercises from Saturday. I think my being required to attend weapons class every week for over a year really paid off. There were a lot of people (kyu and dan) that didn't seem to have that much weapons experience. I really should thank my sensei.
Besides being told to hold my bokken straight out in front instead of in hanmi by someone in my line (??), it went pretty well. I get a little frustrated with weapons sometimes, more than with empty-handed techniques. I was tired, too. Seminars wear me out. I wonder if that will change the longer I do aikido. This was my 22nd seminar, how cool is that? There are 20 stamps in my yukyusha book, plus the two I attended before I got the book at 5th kyu. There are WAY too many pages in that book, though...no way will I fill it before shodan!
After class, one of my friends, another nikyu, was putting away the dojo bokken, and couldn't remember which way they face....toward the kamiza or away. He asked my sensei, and he told him to ask Sugano Sensei. And he did. I think the answer is "it depends" but I'm not sure. I didn't hear the whole answer. Damn. I'll have to ask what he said. For future reference.
(PS Here's what he said, in a nutshell kinda sorta; I asked the friend who asked Sensei:
What I learned from sensei is that kamiza is basically irrelevant in regard to which way they point. It mostly has to do with the intent of useage. If you have it on display like in a museum or just on a stand all purty like, you have it one way. But if you have it set up like you are going to practice with it you have it pointing the other way. I don't know which right now since I don't have one handy. Oh that would make my work relationships interesting if I did. Heh heh. I digress. One side is omote, the other is ura. I think the omote side is out for display and ura for use. But I don't know without looking. Look at your bokken and see which way would be easiest to grab it and use it.)
Sugano Sensei is awesome. Having the prosthetic foot does not seem to slow him down a bit.