Archive for February, 2009

Time on the mat…

Eight days to my test…

Body’s holding up…mostly. I went for chiropractic and a massage the other day: my chiro had to close the clinic so that he could spend the afternoon putting me back together, and my massage therapist said it felt like she was practicing on a barrel of walnuts. But they managed to patch me up and sent me home with an armful of ice packs.

Seniors keep telling us we’re ready, usually right after they say something like, “that was good, but do it this way.” As a consequence, I have about ten ways to do each technique, none of which, on some days, work at all. Sigh.

And I’m going broke washing my dogi, never mind the test fee.

Ah well, I am enjoying the process despite my grumbling. I’m having some good “Aha!” moments and am learning a lot about the value of being relaxed (still have a ways to go on that one!). It’s interesting, too, how aikido can reveal so much about one’s personality in regards to one’s willingness to ‘enter in’, ‘follow through’ and ‘experience/feel’ each step without rushing ahead (guilty!). Gives you a few things to ponder about life off the mat.

Ooops, gotta go - it’s time to put my dogi  in the dryer.

Eight days to go…



Assume the Best

Our shodan test has finally been scheduled about two weeks hence, so I’ve been spending as much time on the mat as possible. Last night being Thursday meant that it was the ‘Instructors’ class, a special class for seniors with the focus on restoring crispness to techniques that may have had a few edges ground off.

Sensei wants us to lead the rest of the dojo by example (whether we actually teach a class or not) and so he usually spends a couple of days researching a technique, or ‘family’ of techniques (last night was a variety-pack of shomen iriminage) to present to us in as meticulous a way as possible. This often includes a historical perspective, relationship to sword technique, and variations particular to different teachers/dojos.

Then he drills us relentlessly. (But in a joyful way!)

Practice is stopped immediately if we’re not catching on, or missing a particular detail that he wants emphasized. But he is just as quick with praise and encouragement, and doesn’t waste time criticizing us. He takes pains to offer his best to us and expects the same in return. Or rather, let’s say he assumes it.  I get the sense that he already sees us as masters and maintains his commitment to that vision until we can realize it in practice. And we feel good when that happens. I hope he does too.

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone assumed the best about everyone else, and remained committed to that vision until it was manifest…

I want to leave you with one more thought:

“It is not the water that wears down the stone but the unceasing relentlessness of the individual drops.”