Class 8, I believe, was last Tuesday evening.
I’ve been a bit slow putting together enough connected thoughts about it to make a proper blog post. Now I’m just giving up and blurting out some unconnected things.
First, I got a surprise at my PT appt on Monday. My PT was very happy, told me to cancel my upcoming appointment, and gave me the go-ahead to roll, fall, and whatever else I want to do. “But if you land on that shoulder again, don’t come crying to me.”
Class was on Tuesday. I figured it would be best to start with rolling practice (solo only, I mean), and just do back rocking-falls (not all the way over) as uke. I wasn’t quite confident enough to do forward rolls out of techniques. That seemed like a conservative and rational plan.
Strange though, how our brains are not rational. I say “easy, soft rolls that I was doing quite happily and with confidence before I got injured, so no problem.” Brain, on the other hand, says “Uh, no way. We’re gonna die.” So I was thinking too much, and being too cautious and tense, and nothing worked well (except the sitting-backwards-and-rocking-back kinds of falls). I couldn’t do a simple slow back roll to save my life. Have you seen that Garfield (the cat) cartoon where John (the owner) asks Garfield how he manages all 4 feet when he walks, and Garfield gets to thinking about it, and then can’t walk because he’s so confused? It felt like that.
Well, OK, I did *one* back roll very nicely after class, but when I tried to do it again, it was gone. I rolled on my spine, and thunked my head on the mat, and rolled with my shoulders stiff. The more I tried to get it right, the more I got it wrong. No injuries – I didn’t do any damage – but my brain got to say “See, I was right! I told you it was going to hurt.” This could be an interesting downward spiral if I don’t get it stopped, pronto.
I didn’t do much better with anything else in class, either. Thank goodness there were a few brand new students, so we went slowly over some really simple stuff. Over, and over, and over. Which I really needed. There were a couple of things that finally started to click.
Strangely, I could not grasp irimi. The simplest thing ever. I kept stepping too far, turning too much, turning the wrong way. I wonder if we get any better at learning as we age? Something got me thinking this morning about learning to write letters as a little kid. Do you remember doing drills, following examples, tracing letters, and practicing, practicing, practicing? One would think you could hear “Look, it’s like a pointy teepee, with a bar across the middle,” and that would be it. But it took ages, and it wasn’t easy. Aikido feels like that. A lot of it is simple, but for some reason it’s hard to remember “oh yeah, I step *this* way…”
Another thing this class pointed out (strongly) is that I’m pathetically out of shape aerobically-speaking. We did the same throw many times near the end of class, in a pretty good rhythm. I grab left, I go down, I grab right, I go down, you grab left, I throw you, you grab right I throw you, repeat. That was great, because it finally started to really flow, without thinking. But dangit I need to spend a lot more time on the elliptical trainer.
Speaking of which, I asked my PT about setting up an ongoing exercise program I can do at home (correctly), for strength and flexibilty, so my muscles are supporting my joints, so I can hold myself in proper posture for more than 2 minutes, etc. He referred me to a trainer who is a PT herself (and so won’t have me doing stupid things that will just get me injured). I’ve got two sessions with her the week after next. Very excited about that.
Next week I’m off work, so I might get to do a few extra classes. I’m hoping I can convince my brain that it can shut up and just let the body relax and roll. “Thank you for sharing, brain. You can sit down now.”