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….

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Chapter 33: A two week vacation and strangely....I've finally got my endurance and fitness back!

We recently started back as a club after a two week break for Easter. I normally dread these breaks as I find my fitness generally takes a nose dive but this time I can honestly say I was glad of the break as after a recent kidney infection I developed Flu a week later and so wasn't exactly in fit shape. However, although I missed Aiki like mad over the last two weeks, I'm now feeling much much better.
I was kind of dreading the first session back mainly because I wasn't sure how I would hold up but was determined to keep up come what may, even if it killed me. I was also dreading it because as usual at this time of year it was quite a cold night, which usually means that I take about half an hour to warm up. But I went along anyway.
I knew it was a cold night when one of the first Dans (who is quite hardy-never seems to feel pain or the cold) comes in and turns the heating on, yes-he turned the heating on! Ha! it seemed I wasn't the only one feeling cold that night!
The instructor then turns up and suggests that if we're cold, we should run around to get warm. I wasn't so sure- I didn't feel like I could survive the session, never mind tiring myself out BEFORE the session had even begun. But hey, at that point I was too cold to care.
So I start running round once, twice, three, four times-I don't know how many times I lapped around that mat...I only know it was much easier than what I was expecting. I eventually stop and realise my heart rate was only slightly raised and I was only slightly out of puff. Not bad I thinks, for a two week break anyway.
The session then started with running around. Again, I had no problem keeping up. A great improvement considering two weeks ago I was lagging behind everyone else. We then worked through various techniques. At one point, my partner (a blue belt)and I decide to work on some kneeling techniques. I have a slight problem with the second technique, I can't seem to get the timing right but I realise how much I missed my Aikido when there is a mock howl of anguish from my instructor as yes, I did the technique wrong yet AGAIN and He says 'what did I say about that technique again? After all that work we did on it?'and I think 'I've really really missed this'. I could He wasn't really cross, more amused really.
This carried on until we finished up with Hikitat. Normally Hikitat finishes me off but this time I managed two rounds before I broke a slight sweat. Yes! I realise that I'm finally feeling fit again.
That however, was without factoring in what I call PAA or Post-Aiki-Ache in the morning. But you know, I only had that 'nice' Aikido ache- the ache that feels like you've progressed a little further in Aikido.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Chapter 32: Can you train without participating in Ukemis?

Recently I read and commented on a post on an American Uchi Deshi's blog about 'Just show up'. Its strange how the kama of meditating on these things have an effect on you soon after.
After commenting on that post I developed a kidney infection a few days later. Now I find its my turn to ponder 'Do I show up?'. I will be honest, I hurt too much to train (obviously), its to be expected. But at the same time, its the last Aiki session we will have as a club for two weeks due to Easter, I show up even if its just to watch or cry off? How can you practice safe Aikido if you can't breakfall?
I decide to phone and speak to my instructor. I explained the problem, I wanted to train but couldn't, could I still come? It turns out it wasn't a problem, we could do a session based on movement and I didn't have to breakfall. Yay!
So, I showed up. I decided to work with a lower grade and did some work on basic movement without ukemi. And I have to say, although I had been in a lot of pain all week, I didn't feel any pain during the session at all-in fact, I felt better for turning up rather than moping at home...strange really.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Chapter 31: I have a late New Year resolution...I really have to stop doubting myself about my Aikido

I didn't make any New Year resolutions this year, because I didn't have any really. I have decided (rather late in the year) to make one. I have decided to will really try to quell the little voice in my head that appears at every Aiki session when we try something big, you know, the one that says 'why are you here? you're waaayyy out of your depth! you can't do this, who are you kidding?
I decided this after an Aiki course this weekend. There was an afternoon course this weekend about competition in Aikido with a grading afterwards so me and two others from the club decide to go down. It was quite good really, we got to meet up with a few other people that we knew from other clubs and got to have a go at some Aiki-jujitsu. I managed to learn a really cool choke hold that a 16-17 stone guy couldn't get out of! Hee Hee! I can't wait to try the 'floor wrestling', I have a few takedowns now in my arsenal, so hopefully I won't get squashed this time!
Afterwards came the grading and we decided to watch since there were some high Dan grades grading. It was quite a privilege and really cool to watch as you can imagine.
I decided to make my resolution about no more self-doubt after watching two blue belts (who were going to grade up to brown)go through their Kata at the beginning and I have to say, they were good, very good. I suddenly realised that the little voice popped up again, you know...the one that makes you feel very inadequate about your own abilities. It was then that I realised that if I was to succeed any further in Aikido...then I would have to start leaving my self-doubt at the door of the dojo. So, no more letting the little voice in my subconscious mind becoming part of my conscious mind...It really is a self-esteem killer.