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Old 03-05-2011, 03:38 PM   #51
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

Trapped…I know I am not, but I feel that way. Trapped by the ice, the snow, by March, by winter, by giving my cross country skies away when I started Menopause. I gave away my skates too. I thought I would never want to skate again. I never wanted to dry off either after my showers. That is changing. Next year I will buy new skies. I dry off after every shower with little thought of resentment that next time I will just have to dry off again. I am not going to buy new skates. It hurts too much when I fall. The ice is very hard.

I am feeling less trapped since we came back from our speedy trip to North Carolina. We were back on the mat today. Very achy, breaky, whiney, yet there. Each fall was noticed. The mat seeming much harder than last week. I only missed 2 classes. It seemed like weeks off and hard to get jump started. Tomorrow will be better. The ice is broken and Advil helps ease the aches and pains.

My bokken fluttered the wrong way because Ron said my wrists were stiff. Of course I think he is wrong...it is my stiff shoulders. I listen anyway and relax my wrist and my shoulders relax too. It is so good to act open-minded. Then he says I am turning the wrong way. "I can't be'" I think, "I have been doing it this way for 5 minutes." He demonstrates again. Sure enough I am doing it my own way not wrong just backwards. How gentle and compassionate I am as I correct myself and turn the right way again and again relaxing my wrist and then my shoulders as the bokken arrives just a split second after my hips and all that relaxation. It is very hard to be sarcastic when one is centered.

I told the little story to class about the couple that travels with Ron and me. His negative mind is Erving and mine is Mildred. We sent them off together for a trip to Alaska but noticed that part way through Virginia they were on their way to North Carolina with us uninvited. I suggested that I throw them out into the Chesapeake Bay. Ron agreed. So I blew them off my hand out the open window to float crankily down on the choppy waters of the bay of Chesapeake.

During class I suggested that Erik think of a name for his inner critic…he said the first name he could think of was Fred, so off Fred went to sit on a rock behind the dojo until Erik let's him back in his mind room. Dora sent Lucy out to sit with Fred. Anne just kept practicing. She doesn't say much, at least out loud. Class got smoother after that. The technique was difficult. A tenkan after a slight irimi and the big relaxed sweep of the arm while uke grabbed with both arms taking a wide ride and then falling softly on the mat. If uke got all their weight on nage's arm and nage tried to lift, nage couldn't move and the mind can get belligerent wanting to blame uke. By relaxing more and moving what we can…which is ourselves, nage sweeps and turns and uke follows and falls under the draping arm. I watch the opportunity to blame my uke pass as I take direction from Ron and move as he suggests. All uke's weight disappears like Mildred and Erving disappearing into the Chesapeake Bay.

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 03-05-2011 at 03:40 PM. Reason: no breaks.
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:40 PM   #52
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

My children’s and adult’s aikido class is a long time in coming. It is a dream I have held for a long time. Aikido is all about communication and connection. What better place for parents and kids to hang out together than in our aikido dojo?

Right now my class is small and super fun.
I have 3 kids and 2 parents. Eric has 2 daughters, Emma and Paige and Naomi has a son Jesse. I just finished class. We were all laughing very hard as we ran and connected and stopped and started and tried to catch and get away.

Class started with a breathing exercise, and then we did some warm-ups with our stick. Then we all threw our sticks on the floor several times to see what happens when you drop your stick. You pick it up, of course. Next we did two different exercises where we hit and defended with our sticks. Then Erik did a leading and following exercise with our sticks. Then we did a throw based on the leading and following exercise and the earlier stick exercise. Unconsciously everyone seemed to get the connection because we all did very well with the throw.

Next we did back rolls. Erik worked with Jesse and I worked with Paige. Naomi sat with Emma because Emma is four and had had enough. Both Paige and Jesse felt very successful with their back rolls. They have been working very hard on their rolls and showed much improvement. Paige could go over both shoulders and Jesse could go over one much more easily than before.

We then did an exercise where you use your voice to defend yourself. When approached you say loudly “stay back” or “no” or “leave me alone”. Each person plays both attacker and defender roles. Then we did a kokyu nage where you put pointer and middle finger in the soft spot of ukes throat. If they don’t stop moving forward they gag themselves. The kids cracked up over that and when we settled down we practiced pulling nage along with us and nage escaping anyway they could. We were quite effective and had a grand time.

Lastly we played elbow tag. This game is the most fun. You must be able to run and giggle at the same time. Emma had rejoined us by now. So we had six. We ran and sweated and had a lot of joy. The last thing we did was check out. I said “who is going first?” All three of the children’s hands shot up. Jess liked that he did good back rolls and had a lot of fun with the stick. Emma liked the back rolls and the stick. Paige liked that she could do back rolls on both sides without hurting her neck. Naomi liked that the kids did such good back rolls. She had a general good time and really appreciated how Erik helped Jesse with his rolls. Erik liked the stick work and had a good time and I liked the whole darn class. Aikido is good for kids and for adults and for me. I love providing the space for parents to play and learn with their children. I feel blessed to be able to share this martial art that I love with my children’s and adult’s class. I can’t wait till next week.
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:58 PM   #53
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
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Re: winter thoughts

Hi Mary,

Enjoyed your class description, it remined me of when I first started my kids and adult group up just over 10 years ago. There are two parent and child pairs that were with me then, still practicing now. And one pair that have been with me for about 6 years. It's been brilliant to see them all on their shared journey. What a great way to spend time with one of your kids eh?

I had 2 of my own start with me when they were younger, but who both went on to find other passions in music and dance.

good luck with building and maintaining the class.

regards

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:56 PM   #54
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

Thanks for the encouragement, Mark. I taught children's classes in the past...I wanted this to be different. I love that some of your students are still with you. Ron and I have 4 offspring between us. They have all trained a little but none wanted to keep on...Maybe one of our grand boys will?!?
Best,
Mary
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:10 AM   #55
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

Yesterday Ron and I practiced a short jo kata with spatulas in the living room. He was resistance at first but why not? The flippies were a little weird yet when we demonstrated before the class it worked just like I knew it would.
During Ki exercises yesterday we did a ki testing where first we tested for one point traditionally at the shoulder. Then we grabbed our partner’s arm; ryote tori, pulling gently, consciously helping them establish and develop the centered feeling. Then the puller dropped their partner’s arm randomly. If the partner was not centered and was cheating just a little it was revealed by their loss of balance.
I could feel the pull from the arm going down my legs as I focused on my center. Practicing centering is such an interesting way to experience our bodies. The head mind is quieted as we rely on our centered feeling, 2 inches below the belly button. I feel plugged in, in question and open to subtle direction. I love it!
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:45 AM   #56
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: winter thoughts

Hello again Mary, I always read your threads with interest. The centering exercise reminded me of a comment my husband makes from time to time. He is from another martial art and he says that it is the centering which impresses him about people who have worked on that aspect of Aikido. It's hard for me to put it into words but I know what he means. It's that the arms, etc. are connected to the hips, or, of course the one point, there is a very solid feeling if you try to budge someone. People from other martial arts are often surprised by this.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:38 PM   #57
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

I understand what you are saying, Diana. I, too, am pleasantly surprised how it works every times I let it.
Mary
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:49 AM   #58
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: winter thoughts

Hi again, Mary, did you suspect someone from this area would post today on Winter Thoughts? Well, last week I was raking the lawn and moving old flower pots and stuff, you know I'm always saying Chuck and I are going to practice Aikido outdoors this spring... and here it is one of the scenes you mentioned at the start of the thread. Hope you all aren't having trouble driving, and thanks for teaching me to look even deeper into the snow scenes and notice the colors of the trees and the shadows and the sky...
Your thread on what is your dojo like is a winner too, people keep posting and I love reading it. Thanks again!
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:29 AM   #59
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

Thanks, Diana. Your encouragment and positive attitude is like a fresh spring breeze.

Mary
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:40 AM   #60
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

Snow falling. Snow blowing. It's another new day. Yesterday’s promise of spring is hidden behind a veil of flowing, blowing white. Yet the daffodils wait patiently ready to bloom with a little caress of sunshine. I enter into my day at though it is my uke. Paying close attention to what is through my center.
I went visiting last week to another dojo. It has been many years since I have been out and about. Things got shook up and are gently falling back into place. I appreciate Marc and George’s warm welcome and willingness to share. I am interested to see how this integrates into what I feel.
All is well.
Mary
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:55 AM   #61
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: winter thoughts

Sunshine today…what options it brings. A walk? Sweep the kitchen? It is such a luxury to have these choices. Many people do not.
I think first I will get the mail and then what?
Mary
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:42 PM   #62
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: winter thoughts

Great to greet the day with an open mind and see what happens.
Some days are like that, you are a wise person to do that.
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