I went back to the aikido class again today. It was much more relaxed and I got to train with two different people. There were more people on the mat and we looked at two different entries for tai no henko. Then we looked at techniques from morote dori. It’s a good class and I learned a lot which is what I’m looking for at the moment. At the end of class sensei said that in his club I am nidan not 3rd kyu which was a huge confidence boost and certainly makes me feel better about teaching. There were two other women there tonight which is always a good sign.
The aikido may be going well but I’m getting fed up of being in Glasgow. It’s raining all the time and my bones are starting to rot. I think I’m going to go home tomorrow but since I just ordered a new bathroom for Hannah I will be back down next week to fit it and hopefully get to another aikido class. I know I said my days of major DIY projects were over but we priced the job with someone else doing it and it came in at £6k. Even with fancy panels and floor tiles we have bought it all for about £1k so I’m going to try and fit it in a week. I may end up regretting he idea but Hannah will get a nice new bathroom.
I’ve been on my travels. After two fantastic days with Sensei Hendricks I spent a week mountain biking in Wales. Welsh trails are far easier than Scottish ones so whilst I loved it all, Gary became quite frustrated at the lack of technical challenge.
A woman on the aikido course was sure she knew a teacher who would be just right for me and he is even in Scotland so a couple of introductions later and I found myself at his dojo. It went well. His aikido has a beautiful rhythm to it which helped my peanut brain to follow and remember more easily than I sometimes do. I spent 3 hours with him teaching me non- stop and whilst I did get brain-fried I didn’t want to stop. Some things fell into place for me particularly for yokomen techniques. The link between shihonage, kotegaeshi and iriminage must have always been there but now I understand them all a lot better. I’m going back tomorrow. It will take many more visits to decide if I have found a teacher but at the moment I’m pleased to have found someone who is a possibility.
I spent a week at Bath University doing my final residential. It was every bit as bad as the first time I stayed there. I had two bad falls, burnt my leg and ended up full time in wheelchair. Yesterday I finished and drove to Salisbury for the Pat Hendricks course. I was intending training yesterday afternoon but I just couldn’t get my legs working in time- I knew I would look like I was struggling and everyone would be very concerned so I decided to be sensible and rest. I was I little disheartened when I went for dinner but was soon joined by two aikidoka who had been at the course. We had a really lovely evening of stories and I even had a glass of wine! It turns out other people share my opinion of certain people in the aikido world. It’s not that we were gossiping but we were talking at length about my lack of teacher so I needed to give reasons why my options are as they are. I rarely say this but talking and explaining made me feel much clearer and helped me to still feel very much part of the aikido world.
I’m always worried that I exaggerate Sensei Pat’s seminars in my head but training today was as inspirational as the first time I attended one of her seminars. As usual I wore a white belt but it felt like I was fooling nobody. I had a chat with Sensei Pat about my lack of teacher situation. She told me that I already have a club with the kids and I should just expand it to include adults. Her thinking I’m good enough to do that was a massive boost and I’ve decided that is what I’m going to do. I’ve been given details of two possible new teachers but neither of them are under sensei Pat which is a shame.
Training today was so ordinary but so amazingly wonderful. I kept learning things and thinking to myself that that particular thing would be the one thing that I would make sure I didn’t forget. I remember the atemi in kaiten nage that I think is useful, a crash to the floor technique from morotedori that I liked and thought would be great for the kids. Heaps of pointers in ikkyo to the point where for the first time in years I felt like I could do a half decent ikkyo. Not taking too big a step out to the side was one of them, not grabbing the elbow but using the hips to cut with elbow down, not moving the back leg when taking them to the floor…I’m sure were others.
I’m in the luxury of a hotel room which feels amazing after living in student halls for a week. My bed is calling and I need to sleep. Never been so happy to be covered in friction burns.
Last class. Only Roger, Sensei and I were there. It was much like any other class. It ended, we went home. No speeches, no tears, no acknowledgement of the ending of anything.
I entered a mountain bike race at the weekend and not far into the first lap the person in front of me stopped on a downhill section. Half afraid I would run into her and half afraid of why it was that she had stopped I tried to stop on a steep, technical section. I went over the bars, off the track and down an embankment of tree stumps. I did at least 3 full somersaults in what was my most spectacular crash ever. Surprisingly I was ok- of course I couldn’t tell the Marshall or any of the people trying to help me that I was ok for a little while all I did was lie on the ground wondering why the broken bits didn’t hurt. Turns out nothing was broken and I’m just a bit bashed up. Dark purple bruises on both legs, a cut knee, bruised ribs and the need for a new helmet since the bike landed on my old one. I am very lucky. I wonder if aikido helped me? At one point I remember the bike hitting my arm which was in front of my face so perhaps things would have been worse had I not been so highly trained ;)
Tonight kneeling was tricky but mostly I managed ukemi ok. I sat out of the grab the legs technique and the rugby tackle one. We did morote dori ikkyo and iriminage and yokomen iriminage before looking at two more jo dori. I was then paired with sensei for kumijo 2 then 1 into 2 then kumijo number 4. The weapons stuff is just beginning to come together for me just as it’s all about to end.
We have one more week with sensei. My main emotion about it now is guilt. I can’t help but think I’ve been a rubbish student and that’s contributed to him wanting to quit. Amazingly self-centred I know but the reality of it is that I need to find teacher number 4. What kind of crappy student needs 4 teachers? Most people seem to be able to find a forever teacher but mine all quit or give up on me. Perhaps the 4th one will work out or perhaps it’s time to hang up my hakama. Overly dramatic, yes, I do know this too will pass but at the moment it is only the thought of my students that is motivating me to continue.
Sensei was away and we were in a squash court tonight. Roger took the class. We started with the 6 count jo kata taking it down to one count a step at a time. Then we did the anti kata to turn it into a paired practice. I had done the anti kata before but totally forgotten it so it was good to learn it again. After that we did the ken suburi followed by the first kumitachi.
There is always lots of standing with weapons so I had a couple of sneaky sit downs as standing for that long is still difficult. This weeks news is that not only is my sensei quitting but his sensei is also stopping teaching. I don’t really like him yet I still find the news upsetting. It’s all becoming quite overwhelming and I feel my mood trickling downwards. I did hear from an iaido buddy this week and I’ve assured him I will put in some serious training now my aikido commitments have eased off. Perhaps I can concentrate on iaido to keep myself sane whilst a new aikido teacher appears.