w [2s,6v] A
There has been pretty much the same group for 6 or more classes. This is nice when it happens, as it allows me to do some more advanced techniques, which keeps the staff interested, some of whom have been taking the class since the beginning, gives the vets some new "aha" moments, and quite honestly, keeps my energy and interest up. It also allows me to get my basic points across from a slightly different perspective, and build on their physical memory and knowledge base. When someone is struggling with a new technique I can just say "center", or "relax" or "bring their center to yours", and they can remember those points from previous techniques.
There are also a couple of vets who really focus on their technique. I can see them consciously taking a breath, relaxing, trying to move from their center. They are beginning to know when a technique doesn't "feel" right and ask for help. My shy vet made a point to day of coming up to me before class and saying he had to sit out and watch, he was "just in a lot of pain today, otherwise you know I would be up there." Another vet had hurt his thumb this morning but he insisted on taking class. I finally had to make him sit out and ice the hand, it was so swollen. He really didn't want to, so I had to pull rank as sensei.
Sometimes it isn't much, but it is these small things that keep me going even when circumstances or my own moods pull me down. Aikido continues to be my own spiritual wellspring. It still helps me keep on an even keel, to deal with my own doubts, my often irrational irritation and anger. It is what enables me to claw my way back from the musty, dusty, darkness. I only hope that I can open this resource up for even one or two of these guys.
(Original blog post may be found here