Training Log – June 11

JWS’s birthday was on June 9th. 64 years old and still chugging along. One of my friends a long time ago thought that he was 40 years old – he was shocked when I told him his real age.

I came to training early; I had wanted to see the kids class earlier because I was for a long time one of the children’s instructors at my dojo and I felt it’d be a good way to ease myself back into the atmosphere. JWS had also asked me to come in and be a substitute the week prior but I had work that day.

The 9th being the first day that I had been on the mat since the retreat last month, it felt good to be back. The feeling I would describe the experience would be akin to steam bath – or Superman regaining all of his powers by being near a yellow sun. JWS, in his wise and scholarly way, said a lot of things, many which I’ve forgotten. However, what really matters was that I was able to basked in the glory of Aikido as it is spoken through him.

After the training, he held the surprise party for him. Beer, more beer, wine, chips, salsa, lasagna, some homemade pies (pies!), along with the usual soda. While the whole class of 20 got ourselves comfortable, JWS and two of his friends put on a show for us: JWS on trumpet and the other two on electric guitar and bugle. It’s too bad I didn’t get any photos or footage of the scene. However if any of you were to imagine a scene from a sleepy street side cafe with a jazz band playing in the background, that was the scene at my dojo. I have to say, it was a surreal in some parts.

~

For today (the 11th), I got to go to NSS’s class. Finally after a month I got to experience his teaching once again. Being his uke is always a pleasure. I wasn’t his sole one, but I’d say for about 40% of the time I was up there.

And boy was I challenged; Just being around NSS is a practice of Aikido itself! It is a practice of being calm, cool, and centered. Being able to settle yourself. It was weird today since before class I was getting stomach cramps for some reason. Fearful that my high falls would aggrevate my situation, I was surprised that all that falling on my side actually helped.

Folding NSS’s hakama away, it was just another of my trainings; one of the rare moments in my current life where I can actually work on myself and my own problems. Problems where outside of the dojo I rarely would have time to practice and train.

Again, like at the retreat, NSS focuses more on being centered and settled rather than the techniques themselves. This is one of the reasons why I make it a point to come to his classes; to paraphrase him

functioning knowledge is better than technical knowledge of the martial art.

This is of course, despite the fact that he has the tendency to be physical to his students. All right that’s it for now, my next training probably won’t be for another few weeks. Until then I hope you question how you approach things: Do you approach things with route memory and memorization? Or do you allow yourself to settle into a better place, better version of yourself, and then do what is at hand. Till next time!

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