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Old 04-21-2004, 08:46 PM   #1
PeaceHeather
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Freaky! Screaming white belt newbie

I admit, it sounds better if I say "screaming white belt newbie" as opposed to "hi, I'm new here, how are you..."

I just signed onto this forum two days ago, I think. My first aikido lesson EVER was about four hours ago. I will be sore tomorrow. I can do two forward rolls in a row, thumping my way through them... but if I do three I get very verrrrrry dizzy.

It's a good thing I knew about the spiritual/mental side of this art before getting into it -- I'm actively listening for all the voices in my head and trying to face them while I'm out there. Jeez, it took me four weeks to work up the nerve to step *onto* the mat in the first place...

(voices: as in, "jeez, you landed too rough again," "this sensei is GOING to lose patience with you if you don't shape up", "holy COW you're out of shape!!", and so on and so on... and also, "you can do this, you're just out of practice," "hey, that was better!", "sensei just said something really kind and it felt GOOD," etc.)

I've heard it said that aikido teaches you who you really are, on and off the mat. I'm seeing that it doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know -- that I push myself much harder than anyone else would -- but what it does do is really drive home those messages. You feel them in your body rather than just rationalizing them in your head.

This, showing up and doing forward rolls and turning around in little circles, is some of the hardest Work I've ever done. I was *so* scared to be there tonight, and I did it anyway, and I want to both celebrate my courage and cry over my fear. Has anyone else ever been there?

Peace,
Heather
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Old 04-21-2004, 09:08 PM   #2
akiy
 
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Hi Heather,

Welcome to the AikiWeb Forums and welcome to aikido! I'm sure you'll find aikido both challenging and a joy. Thank you for your introduction.

-- Jun

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Old 04-21-2004, 09:44 PM   #3
shihonage
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

I find that the first 3 months are the period where one is most prone to giving up.
I sure almost did.

If you manage to stick with it for 3 months, you will find that the road gets less bumpy.
Instead of thinking "I can never learn to do this" regarding a certain movement, your mindset will change to "I may not be able to do this particular thing now, but I know I will eventually, because I already learned some things I thought I never would".
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Old 04-21-2004, 09:49 PM   #4
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Thank you both for the welcome!

I tried to reply to Jun earlier, but hit a wrong button and lost my post... so I'll reiterate as best I can:

Challenge -- heh. Ohhhhh, yes. Already experiencing the "challenge" part of aikido.

Joy -- welllll.... I recently learned to drive a stick-shift (better late than never), and surprised my husband with my focus. I was *going* to *learn* how to *drive* this *car* if it was the *last* thing I *ever* *did*. He had never seen me so determined to do anything before.

Surprise, darling...

Anyway, right now it's kinda like that. I know it will be worth so much to me to learn these things; so even though, right now, I expect to be doing nothing *but* forward rolls for the NEXT TEN YEARS, I still am determined to learn them no matter what. My kidneys may never forgive me.

Thank you both!
Heather
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Old 04-21-2004, 10:55 PM   #5
MaryKaye
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

One thing I hadn't anticipated is that some of the things which were hard and scary and painful initially--forward rolls in particular--didn't just become easier, they turned out to be *fun*. Forward rolls from a good high-energy throw are great--they remind me of body-surfing or white-water rafting. And it still amazes me that I could learn to do this at my age and with my totally unathletic background. Took me a long time, but I did it.

(If you could do two rolls your first class, you have a five-month headstart on me! I was the despair of the dojo for about that long, and then finally learned how to roll literally in the ten minutes between 7:00 class and 8:00 class. We still don't understand how that happened. The people who came to both classes were flabbergasted.)

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-22-2004, 01:32 AM   #6
Josh Bisker
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

shucks, i thought this was going to be a post about someone making a "white belt newbie" scream on the mat.

welcome on in Heather! it's scary and intimidating and rough-n-tumble on top of all that, but it's darn fun too, and will give back to you as much as you put in. if i were to give any word of advice, i'd tell you to not be scared of getting to know people in the dojo - even (and especially) sensei! but good luck and have fun.
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:26 AM   #7
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Mary -- I never said they were "good" rolls... and this morning I learned that it is, in fact, possible to have a stiff and sore butt without having stiff and sore legs. VERY weird -- usually I get those muscles sore when hiking of climbing a lot of stairs or something, so they all get sore together.

Josh -- I only make myself scream, and then only internally. I can't *believe* how loud those voices get... I mean, I've always had them speaking to me, I've always known they were there; I just never quite took the time to really pay attention to what they do when I'm not calm and meditative.

Our dojo is headed by Thomas Burdine-soke three nights a week, and by Matt-sensei and Phil-sensei on Wednesdays. (I don't know their last names, and anyway everyone else just calls them Matt-sensei and Phil-sensei, so...) All three of them feel "right"; balanced, laid back, with good senses of humor and a healthy dose of genuine encouragement. We won't discuss what a hottie Phil-sensei is.

Last night, Phil-sensei was working with me on rolls and saying, "of course you're going to get it wrong; everybody gets it wrong; there are whooooole lot more ways to do each and every one of these moves *wrong*, and you've got to go through them all in order to work your way toward doing it right."

I said, "so I'm *exploring*," and he just grinned and nodded. I proceeded to explore how dizzy I could get, but it's all good.
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:34 AM   #8
John Boswell
 
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Quote:
I've heard it said that aikido teaches you who you really are, on and off the mat. I'm seeing that it doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know --
There are a select few people who "know who they really are" and to go off looking for what you already know is only confusing. I did that some years ago, but found in the end I "knew" me after all. However, one thing aikido WILL do is refine and strengthen the You that you know and you'll end up better, stronger, more confident and sure of yourself in the end. Then those voices in your head will become more encouraging... as opposed to my voices which are numerous and annoying as all hell.

"You talking about me?"

"Sheeesh! I'm busy. Talk to ya later!"

Anyways... Good luck with your training! Don't worry too much about the scary stuff, just keep working at it and the skill and confidence will come in time.

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Old 04-22-2004, 09:54 AM   #9
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
There are a select few people who "know who they really are" and to go off looking for what you already know is only confusing. I did that some years ago, but found in the end I "knew" me after all. However, one thing aikido WILL do is refine and strengthen the You that you know and you'll end up better, stronger, more confident and sure of yourself in the end.
Maybe it's too early to say who I really am. I've learned recently just how much I talk myself down, and one of my practices has been to learn a little self-compassion... which is easy enough to perform when you're concentrating on it, and not so easy when you're concentrating on rolling and on being *aware* of those voices.

So far, I've learned that I'm harder on myself than sensei is likely to ever be.

Quote:
Then those voices in your head will become more encouraging... as opposed to my voices which are numerous and annoying as all hell.
Pfft. I have one who only speaks in song lyrics. You ever get a song in your head, stop to listen, and realize that what you're singing to yourself is actually *relevant* to the situation in some way? Oy.

Quote:
Anyways... Good luck with your training! Don't worry too much about the scary stuff, just keep working at it and the skill and confidence will come in time.
Thanks so much, John! Next lesson is on Monday...
Heather

PS - can anyone tell me what these symbols all mean?
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Old 04-22-2004, 10:34 AM   #10
mrjam2jab
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

I was scared my first time also...I went to the room and no body was there yet so I thought to myself, "oh, well, I tried." but on the way out I thought, "NO. I cant keep doing this" I am known for bailing before I start. and now after a few months of practice I am glad I didnt run away. I could certainly use an Aikido dictionary though...:-)
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Old 04-22-2004, 11:38 AM   #11
cuguacuarana
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

welcome, I'm fairly new here myself, and have only been doing aikido since the beginning of January. I get the voices too, but you just have to keep practicing and try and forget about them. Right? I think that I'm starting to forget about those unproductive voices little by little. More and more, I am just getting excited. Good luck!
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Old 04-22-2004, 12:41 PM   #12
John Boswell
 
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Hey Heather,

The circle, triangle and square are symbols that you will find are very predominate in aikido.

You will find in certain organizations some (or a lot) of talk about "Ki." Whichever philosophy you subscribe to, if you will think of ki as the flow of physical energy... then associate that with those symbols, it will make some sense. Example:

Your basic stance in aikido is called "hanmi". Now, if you imagine yourself standing in a box, your feet will be in the two opposite corners of that box. (i.e. back right corner and upper left corner of the imaginary box. NOW... the o t h e r two corners are your weak points Start leaning in one of those directions and you'll find yourself falling over. Certain techniques will exploit those corners.

Hand movements will usually move in circular motions... hence the circle. It can be in just about any direction but there will be a cirlcle there.

Same thing with triangle: foot patterns will move in that fashion in the shape of a triangle.

Personally, I HIGHLY recommend the book "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere." There are a lot of good explainations and diagrams for aikido moves in there. Some people don't care for it, but I liked it and keep it handy when I'm reviewing tests coming up.

And again... this is one of those things that you'll come to see in time. Circles, Squares and Triangles are all throughout aikido techniques if you look for them. If they ( ) have any OTHER signifcance than this... it's new to me! (and that's entirely possible )

Have a good day!

Last edited by John Boswell : 04-22-2004 at 12:46 PM.

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Old 04-22-2004, 12:42 PM   #13
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Quote:
cuguacuarana wrote:
I get the voices too, but you just have to keep practicing and try and forget about them. Right? I think that I'm starting to forget about those unproductive voices little by little.
Actually... I've been working lately within a counseling system that guides you to listen to your voices with compassion, even the nasty ones. They're only trying to be helpful in the ways that they know how.

One of the wildest experiences is to sit down and listen to one of those guys rattling on about how "you'll never be good enough, you're a klutz", etc. etc. and to whisper to it softly, "Hey. Why do you keep saying that?"... and then to actually hear an answer! So often, my inner critic is either just parroting things I've heard since I was a kid, or else trying to convince me not to do something that I might fail at or be hurt by.

They're trying to protect me; I'm working to thank them.

Those parts of my personality work so hard -- so I try to thank them for that, and try to convince them to trust me, and to release their death-grip on my self-respect. When I do that, often those "voices" (for lack of a better term) will loosen up and free a tremendous amount of energy that I can use for healthy things instead. It's amazing.

Blend and harmonize, respond with compassion, redirect the energy to a better path... isn't that aikido?



Heather
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Old 04-22-2004, 12:46 PM   #14
PeaceHeather
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Lightbulb Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
The circle, triangle and square are symbols that you will find are very predominate in aikido.
Ahhh, now I get it. I was wondering if there was something alchemical going on. Which I'd be fine with... I've been working with "energy", ki, chi, call it what you wish, for several years now.

Thanks!

Heather
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Old 04-22-2004, 02:11 PM   #15
shihonage
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Aikido and Dynamic Sphere, although having truly inspirational drawings, did nothing except confuse me.

It was NOT written in a way that is easy to comprehend.
Reading this book is like trying to read a physics manual - not the best way to aid in Aikido learning IMO.

As a means of secondary learning aid, watching an instructional video would be a lot more helpful, I think.
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Old 04-22-2004, 05:25 PM   #16
Lan Powers
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Aikido And The Dynamic Sphere Has always seemed to be a point of controversy, it seems.
Since it was the first book that gave step by step flow of techniques (although in fairly *physics* language) that I ever found, it gave me my first glimpse of this stuff.
I love it, personally.
Your mileage may vary though.
Oh yes, Thanks for joining in on the forums. Jun has made a great place here, and I think everyone would agree that this is a , I don't know, Lodestone? Haven? Just "regular stop?" Seems to mean more than that, but is hard to express well.
Welcome
Lan

Last edited by Lan Powers : 04-22-2004 at 05:28 PM.

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 04-22-2004, 07:28 PM   #17
Noel
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Heather-

Just remember, when you are nage, there are very few 'wrong' techniques, just a whole boatload of ones that you aren't practicing at the moment

Also, don't get discouraged. We all were newbies once, too. We've just taken a few more steps down the path, that's all.

Good luck,
-Noel
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Old 04-22-2004, 07:37 PM   #18
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Noel, Lan, thanks so much -- I'm a little concerned that I'm standing here trying to create a limelight to stand in, to get such welcoming attention and encouragement.

Lan, how about "waystation"? A place to rest as we walk our path, and refresh ourselves in the company of friends and friendly strangers, before continuing our journey.

Noel, thanks for that reminder. I think that aikido is the right place for me to be, right now, and odd little things keep happening in my surrounding life to help highlight that I've made a good decision.

Heather
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:46 PM   #19
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

So, lesson number two is tonight... the last one was on Wednesday, I was fine Thursday until I sat at my office chair for four hours straight, then I was *really* stiff. And on Friday I was moving like a cripple, and my husband kept shaking his head at me in disbelief. Miraculously, on Saturday all the pain was completely gone except for a couple little twinges.

So, um, is it inappropriate to keep posting things here in my "introduction" thread? I want to keep a record of the things I'm learning, but I don't want to annoy people either.

Heather
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:59 PM   #20
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie



Lesson Number Two.
Monday, April 26, 04

On Sunday morning, I did something to my right hip that felt like a really bad muscle spasm. By late Sunday the pain was just a minor twinge and some stiffness, and today I didn't really notice anything.

UNTIL.

So we get on the mat, we bow in, we start by doing rolls around on the mat to get comfy in our space again, I do my first ever roll as part of the group -- and nearly scream in agony as my hip decides that now would be a good time for a repeat performance of... what*ever* happened yesterday.

Matt-sensei insists that I didn't scream. The irony is that right up till that moment, I felt like I had done the best roll so far in my two whole lessons... but as soon as I had pressure on my low back and hip, the pain started, and by the time I came up on my knees that was as far as I could go because my hip was SCREAMING at me. Soke hadn't seen this, and when he noticed my kneeling motionless on the mat, must have thought I was simply new and confused, because he said, "just do a somersault."

I yelped, "Can't."

"Are you all right?"

Another yelp, "No." Tears are rolling down my face at this point and I go from hardly being able to breathe, to panting in pain. I'm a foot from the wall and I can't crawl over to it to help myself stand up, so I kind of crabwalk on my hands, one knee, and one foot (I was kneeling in a little ball).

"Did you sprain your ankle?"

Third and final yelp, "Hip." You've noticed by now that I'm only responding in monosyllables.

**SIGH**

So I spend the first half of the class walking, stretching, yelping quietly, repeat until I feel like I can move that leg and put weight on it...

Physical: agony, fading to mere pain, fading by the end of the night to "I can walk but dear god don't ask me to do anything like a real ukemi." Along with "Yes, yes I *will* be making an appointment with the chiropractor tomorrow."

Mental/emotional: agony, fading to shame and frustration, fading to embarrassment plus self-comfort (huh - yay me), followed by "I should go home, I can't do anything injured", followed by determination NOT to leave and the realization that I'm learning by watching... followed by no small amount of pride when I realize that I'm not only understanding the moves, I'm getting the principles, seeing possible variants before sensei points them out, and able to help the only other white-belt in class that night. And I got to do about three of the different moves and more or less grasp them. Yay me!

I'm very glad, and proud of myself, that I didn't drag my sore self home before class ended. I learned things.

Here endeth the description.
Heather
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:14 AM   #21
Bronson
 
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Quote:
PeaceHeather wrote:
...is it inappropriate to keep posting things here in my "introduction" thread? I want to keep a record of the things I'm learning, but I don't want to annoy people either.
If you're worried about "annoying people" (though you shouldn't be) you could start an AikiWeb Journal.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:22 AM   #22
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Hmm. Cool. I hadn't seen the "New Journal" button... duh. *grin*

Do journals get feedback as threads do? I've been really encouraged by hearing back from folks after I ramble on.

Heather
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:47 AM   #23
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Good news! Injury located, diagnosed, healed -- I *love* my chiropractor -- and on Monday I should be able to play again. Yay!

Usually, when my hip goes out, it's the ilius -- the wing of the pelvis -- that is out of alignment. This time, it was the sacrum -- the big, triangle shaped bone at the very base of the spine, that the wings come out from. Yeeouch.

Heather
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:44 PM   #24
PeaceHeather
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Da Plan: May 3, 2004
Attend Monday dojo. Play in a limited capacity, no rolling.
Tuesday, see chiropractor just to make sure I really am all put back together again, since I'm still just a bit stiff and tender in the hip joint.
Wednesday, provided all goes well, try rolling again and see if I can do it without agony this time.

Fingers crossed,
Heather
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:53 PM   #25
akiy
 
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Re: Screaming white belt newbie

Quote:
PeaceHeather wrote:
Do journals get feedback as threads do?
Yes.

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