Day 7 – they rested

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

Like God in Genesis, Payet-sensei and Crampton-sensei took today off. All training today was conducted by Carter-sensei with Nick’s assistance.

I was very sore today despite feeling very good last night after my 1-1/4 hours ukemi practice. When I went to bed last night, I felt limber everywhere and energized. When I got up this morning, I could barely move anywhere, the bottoms of my feet hurt, my knees were screaming, and the back of my legs were sore as hell. Plus I was exhausted.

Today was the first day of training I thought I can’t do this all year. We had a fairly light workout today, but my legs just got progressively more sore as the day wore on. I think I may have pulled a hamstring yesterday. And my knees were just about ready to burst at any moment. The pain was bad enough that it really inhibited my ability to do anything properly. It’s one thing to have a sore spot that you work around, it’s something else to have pain throughout your legs to the point that it’s difficult to move them.

The only way past this point is to concentrate on the moment. Can I go all year like this? No. But maybe I can make it through tomorrow and the next day and the next, and then there’s the weekend. It’s the only way, weekend to weekend, hoping to recover from minor strains and major soreness enough to make it through another 5 days.

Keiko session 1 included back of hand push-ups (yes, that’s right, back of hand–for strengthening against taking kotegaeshi) and ukemi train for half the class. An ukemi train is where everyone kneels down and one student starts doing forward breakfalls over the backs of the others. After each person, the last student gets up and follows while the first one kneels down. You get the idea.

Keiko session 2 – Actually I don’t remember much of it. Essentially, my memory of this time is of intense pain in my knees–just lots of pain and thinking, what the f— am I thinking trying to do this course as a 30-something with arthritis? I can’t even sit still, let alone do suwari techniques, let alone ever be comfortable or enjoy this.

Keiko session 3 was rather interesting and started off with kiai practice. Probably I’ll be hoarse tomorrow. Then we did blind kihon dose to try to feel our body position without using visual cues. Very difficult. Periodically, Carter-sensei asked us to open our eyes, and at one point, Nick found himself turned a full 180 degrees. We all had a good laugh over that–wait, laughing in Yoshinkan? Shhhhh. The day ended with shumatsu dose ichi practice, including an interesting single-finger version. If you’re doing the technique correctly, uke can grab just your index fingers, but you can still control him. Pretty amazing. Of course, I couldn’t really do it well.