On Thursday I woke up with blurry eyesight in one eye. My heart was filled with doom as I convinced myself it was optic neuritis and I was heading for a relapse. It turned out to be nothing more than a bacterial eye infection (major relief) which was sorted with eye drops. Drops meant no contact lenses which meant no aikido on Friday. Some clubs I would happily train with glasses on but not that one.
I did manage to go down to iaido on Sunday and feel like I made some good progress. I feel like they don’t expect too much of me and are content for me to chip away at a snails pace. I once again found myself wishing I had done more strength work. Even with my light iaito my muscles were burning and my arms shaking. They offered that I could use my bokken instead which was helpful. I’m trying to develop an iaido cut rather than the aikido cut I’ve been practicing for many years! It made me smile to see sensei also trying to change a kata he had been doing differently for years too. I do think it’s harder to undo habits than to learn things for the first time.
Aikido tonight was just two of us and sensei. Training was even more different than usual. It was a faster pace, slightly more intent and there were no pauses. We worked in a three and I really enjoyed it. The techniques seemed quite random as in I could think of nothing that connected them. It was only when sensei said we had both passed third kyu that I realised it was the syllabus that we had been doing. To finish up sensei asked what we wanted to do and we did randori. I did it in 99% Iwama style. When the pressure goes on I flip into old style but mostly I managed it. This time uke chose the attack which was much better- I don’t have the brain processing power to think for uke as well as myself. We worked hard, I like that…I actually feel like we did something. I would have liked to spend more time on each technique but I know we were changing quickly so we could get through everything.
So how do I feel about being 3rd kyu? A year ago sensei made grading type noises and I came out in an irrational panic about getting stuck as a 3rd kyu for another eternity. Now I’m fine with it. It holds no fear. Perhaps I care less or perhaps, dare I say it, I trust sensei.