Randori, Day 1

Today was the first day of the Randori Intensive with George Ledyard Sensei at his dojo, Aikido Eastside, in Bellview, Washington. This is going to be a short post because I’m tired, and tomorrow starts early and will make today look easy. :-)

I had a great trip up on the train. I will post photos eventually, but it may not be until I get back. It’s a pretty busy weekend here. I’m lucky to be staying with a friend whose also doing the seminar (she’s done it several times before, too). We had a lovely day yesterday, out walking among trees and along a lakeshore.

This morning was a relatively small group on the mat, so tons of personal attention. Immediate, specific, detailed feedback and coaching. Some of it is familiar, some is similar to “how we do things back home,” just presented in different ways, and some of it is flat-out new or different. No pretense of “beginner’s mind” here — I really have to stay open, watch and listen closely, and try to do what I see and hear without thinking about it.

Attending to so many things at once is the most challenging part. I remember to irimi behind my partner, and forget to keep my base. Or I keep my base and forget to drop down into the technique. A lot of it is new info, but a lot is also stuff I know, and forget while I’m focusing on something else. So that’s a fun challenge.

It’s mentally and physically exhausting. Mostly mentally. I always have this experience when going to a new dojo – everything is different.

I’d best be rested for tomorrow. Off to sleep. :-)

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