A Much Better Day

I sure didn’t get everything perfect today, but I did a lot better. 5-½ hours of sleep instead of 4, and actual meals (big, hearty salads), meant more energy. Last night’s bath, plus a few sessions with ice packs, had everything feeling better today. More water, less coffee, more focused.

Not perfect… Still not enough sleep. I didn’t eat or drink enough this afternoon. Having a good dinner now, with ice packs scattered about as needed, and heading for bed ASAP. I’m glad I seem to be able to get things going in the right direction, instead of getting more sore, and more tired.

Tonight (day 6 of 16) there were two classes, so I did them both – 2 hours, total. It’s the first time I’ve trained on a Wednesday, because I usually have another commitment in the evening. So these classes were new ones for me.

The first class (open to all students) was the biggest class I’ve done, aside from the Nadeau seminar in July. The second class is “only” open to 6 kyu and above. (I’m 6th kyu – that’s the level where you’ve proven some very basic competence at simple things – graduated from kindergarten, essentially.) There really is no set pattern to how classes are run, aside from warm-ups, but this week in particular, with a variety of yudansha teaching while Sensei is on vacation, they are even more variable. It’s great to hear things explained in different ways, do new exercises and techniques, and experience a little different temperament to each class.

I finally learned something that has been driving me nuts for months. I’ve seen the ukemi for tai no henko done two ways – staying rooted where you are, basically, or sort of spinning to face Nage (and keep your own alignment). I failed to see the pattern to when it was done one way versus the other. It seemed capricious. I’d almost accepted it as a koan of sorts – someday it would become clear to me why each way was randomly wrong half the time. (I suppose I should have, um… asked?) At any rate, someone (and I’ve very sorry that I can’t remember who) pointed out that the difference is static practice (kihon waza?) versus doing the whole thing in-motion. Oh!

Something I was especially aware of this evening, although it’s always the case, was the attention to detail, kindness, patience, and generosity of spirit of everyone I have the privilege of working with. Everyone is careful with their partners, thoughtful in giving perceptive, helpful feedback, and really warm and caring about each other. (And I’m not just saying that because I know some them read my blog. Really.) It’s a wonderful environment to practice and play in.

I found out today that yet another student will be signing up for the Aikido Bridge seminar. So that makes at least 4 of us from Aikido of San Diego who are going. Yay!

For the last couple of days the muscles under my left shoulder blade have been in spasm. Patient trigger point work last night and this morning helped, but even so, by the time I got to the dojo it was the sort of thing that made me not want to even take a deep breath. I considered not going to class, but I’m too stubborn to wimp out. Fortunately, like last Friday, a good workout with a lot of rolling got it feeling nearly perfect. Much, much better. (Domo arigato gozaimashita. You know who you are.) By some great stroke of luck, I was also able to schedule a massage today for Saturday afternoon. Really looking forward to that!

In the second class we did a simple, short jiyuwaza (freestyle series of attacks). By that time I was pretty tired, and really did a rather pathetic job of it. One thing I am proud of, however, is that I was able to mostly stay connected visually and energetically with my partner, in both roles (Uke/Nage). I was focusing on them, not the attack. As Nage I think I managed to mostly keep coming in and offering, not backing down. But then I couldn’t seem to manage a single coherent technique. Oh well…

We had the opportunity to try a two-uke jiyuwaza (randori?) at the end of the second class. I would have loved to done it (in either role), but I was just too exhausted and dehydrated (in spite of drinking water all through class) to do anything else. I hope we have the chance again, when I’m not wiped out.

All in all, a tremendously fun evening. I left the dojo already looking forward to tomorrow night. But for now, a hot shower and sleep.