Monday, August 27 Training + Student Teaching

NSS is back in town after a two week or so hiatus where he was off somewhere. Now that JWS and NSS are here, the shihan-level instruction has started once again.

Today we focused on setting down and centering. Centering – not just physically but also (from my wording) a metaphysical sense – since the body and the mind balance each other out to form a new thing. This thing being the person who does the technique – whatever it may be. NSS has a different take on Aikido given his time with O’Sensei as one of the few white foreigners who had the chance of spending personal time with O’Sensei.

Regardless today was a “fun” filled day because I was his human rag doll uke for a while. Now NSS is known to be quite physical in his teaching style due to his time in the Marine Corps and as a cop back in the 50s. Technique and presence are off the charts yet his concentration is centering and allowing “the system” around us to “move us”; just concentrating on technique is seen as limiting and (I agree) quite stifling in practice, form, and in practicality.

Mix this in with some settling techniques and *poof* you have an unorthodox class where most Aikidoka would have a hard time dealing with, let along those who train under him frequently. There aren’t even names for the techniques that he does; if anything piece metal techniques that he uses to bring out metaphysical presence of ourselves in whatever way shape or form that he wants to show us that day.

Yesterday was weird; for some reason I was very, very uneasy around him. NSS wasn’t in his bad moods, but I was frequently watching my back when I whenever he was in close proximity around me. I would literally turn my head towards him, but just my mind was going nuts.

Never felt this way before around him, I have been known to be somewhat paranoid about things would later turn out to be harmless so I’m hoping this one of those cases. The training ended with nothing on NSS’s side, with the exception of him roughing up my hair in a demonstration in front of the class and in handshake.

The handshake itself seems innocent enough. It was a demonstration for a technique; as we were shaking his hand suddenly rotated to be on top of mine – a tactic common among CEOs or men in positions of power to assert dominance over whoever they’re shaking hands with (read this in a book concerning body language). Almost by instinct my hand started to counter turn against his. I’m sure he felt it.

Whatever, I’m keeping an eye out for these things. But the whole training left me in a weird daze despite my immense satisfaction of the training. The last indication that something might be amidst was when I stopped by the dojo office to say good night to JWS. He responded with his usual “See you later” from behind a screen but there was something about his voice that gave me the impression that he was…

Sad? Concerned maybe. But my point is that he wasn’t his usual, neutral self.

All in all, it seemed that Monday was just buzzing with activity. My mind going nuts whenever NSS was around me, my spider senses going off, the apparently good training, and JWS’s heavy tone in his good-bye. More to come at a later date.


Almost forgot: today was my second day at my student teaching position! So far so good, but I will admit I feel overwhelming during the day, especially at the upcoming assignments, labs, and solo weeks where I will have to teach the class myself. Feeling like I’m way over my head in this again – just like the days leading up to and during the first few days of the camp with the Italian students.

My master teacher is all right, too early to make a judgement but I feel that somehow we have some personality traits that are the same, which helps when communicating what needs to be done and when. And the kids? My master teacher states they’re the quietest she’s ever had in the 7 years of teaching that she’s done so far.

I hope it stays that way until December. Till next time ladies and gentlemen!


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