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About The Following Blog

The following blog has been written purely for those wanting a first hand knowledge of what it is like to step into the dojo for the first time as a complete beginner as a Martial Artist. Through practising a Martial Art, you will gain many things such as self-confidence, self-respect and life-long and good friends. I hope this helps you to see into an amazing world of which you have never seen before and that I have had the privilege of belonging to and knowing.
Although I have not put my name or any name to this blog, it does deserve a dedication- a dedication to those who help people to train, who teach, reassure and most important of all- those who never give up, no matter how many times they hit the ground or a mental brick wall, with themselves or others. But above all- those who are ready to begin their own journey, it begins with one step….

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Chapter 74: A New Year, A New Way

So here we are again. A lot has happened since my last post, namely I have had my 4th Laporoscopy and have recovered reasonably well. And for anyone wondering if the surgery has made me pain free- um, no. If anything the endometriosis is worse than ever.

I have returned to participating in ukemi and attempting (when pain levels permit) to train twice a week. I think I am an odd 1st Kyu preparing for Shodan, the most difficult thing I find about training at the moment is that some ukemi and some of the Koryu kata can be painful not remembering what I have to do in each technique!

Anyway, due to the fact that there are some aspects of Aikido training are nigh near impossible for me to perform at the moment - I have found a new martial practice, Iaido.

I didn't just decide to do Iaido because I am struggling with Aikido at the moment, I also have always loved the sword and Jo work I have done. My only regret is that I don't get to use my weapons in the dojo enough.

Iaido may seem a strange art to practice. One thing that was strange at first was the fact there are no opponents - it is a non contact art. But I am really enjoying Iaido, I am finding that it is feeding back into my Aikido practice and it doesn't aggravate my pelvic pain. A lot of things we do in Aikido make more sense now!







Saturday, 20 September 2014

Chapter 73: Training goes up a level...and down a level

Wisely or unwisely I have started training for my 1st Dan. Perhaps this is wise you may think as it is the next step after achieving 1st Kyu. But in my case I am not so sure.

The problem at the moment is training seems to be aggravating the endometriosis. I noticed at the beginning of the year that I seemed to be bleeding and in pain after training, and no, it was not at the point in the month when I expected it.  I started to keep a diary of when it happened, and it seemed to be worse following ukemi. And yes, I did ask my Doctor but they didn't know why-suggesting it maybe adhesions and the endometriosis returning.

So I now am not doing any large ukemi, and at the most am doing sit down backwards ukemi, but even this is giving me some problems with the pain. I am still working on kata and techniques for 1st Dan, but some weeks this is extremely painful.

I am currently waiting for my 4th surgery, which is also my third in 2 years. Hopefully following this, I should have less pain and I can go back to training properly for 1st Dan. There are some weeks I do think that I am slightly insane for carrying on training, but I don't really have a choice. Exercise does, to some extent help with the pain. In all honesty, I am not even sure if this next round of surgery will reduce my pain levels enough for me to achieve 1st Dan so I am continuing on, in the hope that one day I can grade.

Anyway, onto the point of this post. I knew training for 1st Dan would be hard physically, but never thought I would feel emotionally and mentally drained as well. Each week, I get some thing akin to what a Dan grade should be able to do, and at the same time I can't get a technique right that I was perfectly able to do the previous week. This week was especially difficult. Last week was bleeding week but I trained anyway. This week is usually my tired week. And yes, come training night I was shattered. What didn't help was that I had a cold and my bus isn't running properly due to roadworks so had to walk nearly 1.5 miles to the dojo from work. So I was already wanting to curl up and sleep when I got there. Then there was the pain. I was doing 1-17 with the tanto, and my hips really didn't like this kata this week! Oh well, I slept really well anyway despite my cold so there are some benefits to chronic illness causing exhaustion.

My question is not why is training for 1st Dan so hard, but why is it that you can do one thing right one week and then just not get it together the next week?

Chapter 72: What is the difference between a Sensei and a Senpai?

Yet another strange random blog post. What is the difference between a Sensei and a Senpai? A good question I think. This is something I have been pondering over the last few weeks following a few training sessions.

What started this train of thought was that one night at the beginner's class I was addressed by my name and then 'Sensei'. Perhaps I should explain that at this class I am the highest grade after Sensei, so I guess it seemed sensible by my classmate to address me as such, especially as I was helping to teach.

But my first thought was 'Arrgh-No! I am not a Sensei'. I then explained that I wasn't a Sensei, but since I knew this person liked to follow etiquette I suggested Senpai instead.

Again, this happened at another class the following week with another classmate (who is a lower grade than me) who was very insistent that they address me as 'Sensei'. Their point was that because I was taking the first part of the class as Sensei was talking to a parent (we had just finished the kids class before hand) I was teaching and therefore was 'Sensei' not 'Senpai'.

I would just like to say that I try and encourage people to use my first name only on the mat. If they are insistent on following etiquette, I try and encourage them to use 'Senpai' but only in place of 'Sensei'.

I'm not sure what to think to be honest. I try and help lower grades where ever I can, and indeed at a grading this week I had someone come and personally thank me for the help I had given them. But I am not sure if this makes me Senpai, or just a helpful higher grade.