Enjoying the first beautiful, quiet morning of a 4-day holiday weekend. No classes for a few days, but the two last night were so rich it may take 4 days for everything to sink in. The first offered a powerful new perspective on familiar techniques, and the second taught calm focus under pressure. I am so lucky to have such amazing teachers.

I’ve been much more relaxed, and really enjoying training, having discovered and let go of my energy on testing. Last night when Sensei was walking around watching our practice I was still trying to get it right, of course. But instead of worrying that he’d notice my mistakes when I made them, I was hoping that he would. He did, of course, and provided very useful feedback and clarification. So grateful for amazing teachers, and for being able to take responsibility for my own attitude about learning.

And now, a few days with my sweetie pie, family, and friends, puttering in the yard, time with the critters, and riding Rainy for the first time since starting Aikido.

A much better day today (day 13 of 16). Not great, but better. And a lot of fun, in any case. There were two classes this evening, one with Sensei, and one with one of the yudansha. I managed to do some of the techniques reasonably well, but on the whole it was one of those days when I can’t tell front from back, in from out, or left from right. I got a few techniques inside out, upside down, or just plain screwy. Back falls weren’t happening so well, and I don’t know why. Sigh…

On the positive side, I was happier with my front rolls tonight. A little rounder, a little quieter. We did a short jiyuwaza in the second class, which was fun, and I did much better than I have done recently. And kokyu dosa really seemed to come together at the end of the second class. A nice way to end the evening.

Tomorrow night is a weapons class, with Sensei. I’ve only done one with him before – the first weapons class I ever did (I found myself in it by accident) – so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s class.

Tonight’s class was weapons. We usually focus on one weapon per class, and tonight it was jo (my favorite!). We did the first 12 jo suburi, and a combination of several at the end. I think I’ve only done 1 through 5 or 6 before tonight. I definitely had not seen the bigger swirling-the-jo-around techniques – those were fun!

I really like weapons classes, for the opportunity to work independently and slowly. It’s possible to focus on the mechanics, alignment, center/base, staying relaxed, breath, posture, and so on, without the rush of doing partner practice. I wouldn’t want to train like that exclusively, but it’s nice to be able to break things down and work on what you need to work on.

I also like that once I get something basically down, I can practice it at home on my own. (I keep a spare jo in the barn for that.)

Tonight I was really happy about most of what I did (not really lost at any point). I felt much more solid and settled than usual during the techniques. Between techniques, however, I caught myself being a bit busy and unfocused in the way I was moving. I’ve seen what that looks like in videos (it looks ridiculous and goofy), and have been trying to be more conscious of it. So tonight I tried my “being someone else” approach (see that blog post). Sort of “how might this look and feel if I were…?”  It worked beautifully. No “trying” just doing. And then feeling what it felt like to be doing things that way.

There was a second class tonight, normally for 2nd kyu and up, but tonight anyone could stay for it. I was very tempted, but also very tired. I would’ve been the only one below 4th kyu. I decided to stay if by doing so I would make an even number of students (6), but as luck would have it the number came out odd with me (7), so I passed on participating. Probably for the best, as I was really wiped out from little sleep and a very fast-paced day at work. It wasn’t until I was on the way home I remembered that I also had to get the barn ready for a feed delivery in the morning, so it’s a good thing I didn’t stay later.