There was a very different kind of feeling on the mat tonight. Someone I used to train with at Tenshinkan came along and Roger came too. The numbers of beginners was down since one has had an accident falling off a bus and one had a parents evening thing tonight. That meant beginners always trained with someone experienced and sometimes got two experienced people to train with. Everyone worked really hard. We only did iriminage and a couple of kokyu nage but that left time for Roger to take the class for weapons. He did 6 count jo kata and some jo deflection thingies.
We are having a break for the school holidays and it was a good way to end the term. I’m feeling more positive about the adults class again now.
With the adults class more than the kids I’ve felt like I’m staring at a blank canvas with the same feeling of startled emptiness. Once I start I’m ok but that initial wave of standing and having to create from scratch something that hopefully I can become proud of, or at least not detest is quite a challenge. With a new club I decide everything. There are no established traditions other than those I pass on. Discipline too is down to me. I decide what is ok and what is not. Twice tonight I had to assert my authority, it would seem that adults, just like children, need to test boundaries – nothing major but enough to bring out the teacher in me as I repeated my instruction with a tone of voice that expected it to be done.
Numbers were down tonight as the new lady from last week didn’t turn up and neither did my senior student from kids club. We mostly did basics again but ikkyo from shomen instead of katate dori. We got crash mats out for what I thought might be fun and they hated it- all complaining of feeling sick from too much rolling. They really don’t seem to be very tough at all. I know it’s hard being a beginner and it’s good for me to practise patience but they are a bit soft. Maybe they will toughen up with time or maybe I just need to lower my expectations.
I went down to Glasgow on Tuesday and watched their class. I think I learned as much watching as I would have by doing the class. Watching how sensei helped the new people with weapons was really useful and with renewed confidence we did the first 5 ken suburi tonight. Hopefully my elbow will be better soon and I can go to some classes to train – I’m missing the challenge of not knowing what’s coming up next. It’s been ages since I’ve trained with the beach club so I need to visit them soon.
Tonight he club felt completely different again. It would seem I have three committed newbies who are in it for the long haul (for now) and there rest are coming and going. There was one new lady tonight but the one that came last week didn’t come back. I’m sure if they all came on the same night they would support each other but one comes, feels like the odd one out in a room of men and never comes back. The one that came today said she would be back next week but I’m not sure she will be. My friend from Tenshinkan didn’t show up and I got a message to say he was away.
I feel sad tonight since I found out that a friend has died and it was his funeral today. He was one of the people from the club in Glasgow that I train with now. He was Sensei’s right hand man- second highest grade in the club and he died very quickly after just a few weeks of knowing he had cancer. It’s hard to take in and I only met him a few times. Last time I was down training with the club at the end of August he was there helping me and encouraging me to start my own club. I’m heading down to glasgow tomorrow. I’m still too injured to train but I just need to see everyone. It’s blown a huge hole in the club and I hope they can get through these difficult times. I silently dedicated the training tonight to him and did the techniques that he helped me to improve.
Last week I was a bit like a rabbit in headlights with the whole starting an adults club so I hadn’t really advertised. This week I made an effort to spread the word and five beginners said they would come along. Unfortunately two of them didn’t come but two extras that hadn’t been in touch did come. So we still had five new people, one returner from last week, my senior student from kids club and Gary. One man with cerebral palsy and his mum came to watch ( and he joined in the weapons) and a friend from Tenshinkan visited to say he couldn’t stay this week but will come next week. So it feels like I have a real club!
It was interesting talking to my friend who came last week. She has decided not to come back because she found the closeness of it too overwhelming. She knew what we did but when she was actually doing it she struggled with getting so close to men. Her stress came out as silliness and she was then more stressed not to be taking it as seriously as everyone else. She says she might try again but wasn’t there tonight.
I wasn’t looking forward to training tonight because I had a bad crash off my bike yesterday. Gary and I were cycling along the road to do an off-road route on mountain bikes when he lost concentration and rode into the back of my bike. He is completely fine but I took a chunk of flesh out of my elbow, bashed my knee and have some nasty road-rash grazes from sliding along Tarmac with shorts on. I couldn’t continue the cycle and had to get a lift in the car home. Today I have limited movement in my elbow and a sore knee. Having said that, I ended up having a fantastic time teaching tonight. Everyone is really keen to learn and the time flew past. After the warm up we did tai no henko, iriminage, an irimi type kokyunage, kotegaeshi and finished with first three jo suburi. Mostly my elbow was fine but not so fine when I forgot about it and landed a side breakfall on it.
I’m looking forward to next week already and starting to plan.
I did it. I taught my first ever adults class at my own club. It was a small class- I did no real advertising just one small post to friends on Facebook. The students mum didn’t show up but it was a PTA meeting tonight and a guy I used to train with at tenshin kan said he was coming and didn’t show but there were enough of us. Class of five but one had to go early this week- hopes to do a full class next week. It was quite a random session since I wanted the beginners to experience a range of things but was very aware of their limited ukemi. The three experienced guys did some tanto dori and I was really impressed with my yellow belt student who performed well under a significant amount of pressure with two ukes with weapons.
It was lovely to see Roger again and I’m absolutely delighted that he agreed to teach some weapons. This means my students get to learn from someone good and I can hopefully improve my weapons work as it is still my weakest area.
There was only one thing missing and that’s cups of tea. I need to see what I can do about that. I’ve always wanted a club that drank tea together like the iaido club that I occasionally attend.
I had to laugh today at school when one of my new junior pupils came to collect a form for him to join the Association I’m with. The form says two photos are required and the pupil asked, ” of what?” I replied that it was his cat they wanted a photo of “ok” he said and went to walk away. I stopped him and explained I was joking that it was him they wanted the picture of to which he replied ” which bit of me?” I was really tempted to tell him it was his foot but he seemed so confused that it would have been cruel so I hope he turns up tomorrow with two photos of his face, all of his face and yes with some hair is ok!
Kids club today went well. We had eleven on the mat and we looked at sankyo and tenshinage. Some of the more experienced pupils are starting to fall really well but one boy who has only been training about a year moved so well that I was able to show good strong throws- I’ve never done that with one of my students before. He is taller than me and very strong so I guess a young adult more than a child. One of their Mums is going to come to the adult club and one of my colleagues says he is going to come too – the numbers are creeping up without any real advertising effort on my part.
When I came home I didn’t really feel like I had done much training myself so for the first time in ages I asked Gary to train with me at home. We are back to learning soft high falls and I’m determined I’m going to get them this time. We watched a different youtube video and have managed the first two stages well. Then it makes a giant step to leaping over a held arm…might take a while to work up to that one since I just revert to my old roll/splat once the height increases. It’s maybe just reprogramming the reflexes and like I say I’m determined to learn them. The video also has backwards roll to feet which looks really cool so maybe I’ll try that one next!
Ok panic over I’m getting better again. A chest infection apparently- you know how old ladies go a bit doolallie with UTIs well apparently high temp and not enough air does the same to me. I managed kids club tonight but Gary was there as backup. We did nikyo mainly with free practice at the end. Then at the very end when the kids had gone I got Gary to throw me around lots. I miss taking ukemi. Couldn’t do much before I was tragically out of breath but at least my brain is working again. Body still a bit weak and wobbly but will get better again soon I hope.