Saturday, August 23, 2014

There Was Apparently Only One Student Friday Night. (oh.... and I showed up too)

Went to Friday nights class.  Turns out that a slew of people called sensei to tell him that they weren't coming.  Someone had an opportunity to go to a ball game, someone else was injured.... etc.  Usual life interruptions.

Usually if there are only a couple of students, Mr. Mulligan will cancel the class and have us work on our own if we like for some open mat time.  Sounded good to me.

The weird thing was that he mentioned the upcoming test and told me that Ariel and Tony were up for promotion for their 1st kyu tests.  Sensei and I have had conversations in the past about the fact that I need to take that test.  I'm not sure if he is waiting for me to tell him I want to take the test or I've annoyed him in some way.

Also odd was the way he suggested we run through the test.  Rather than asking me to run through the test with him, or suggesting that we both could use the practice, he said something else.  He said he had a great class in mind for Ariel and Tony but since it's just the two of us maybe Ariel should practice for his 1st kyu test.  No hint that my presence could be some benefit to Ariel at all.  No thought that perhaps I should be training for the test as well.

So it started out with just myself and Ariel.  A few minutes into class John showed up.  I believe Mulligan asked John to run Ariel through the 1st kyu test.  John did recently take his 1st kyu test and it's still fresh in his mind.  But John's aikido is miles away different from Ariel's or mine for that matter.  He's an older guy and extremely stiff.  And extremely strong.  What he may lack in subtle technique he more than makes up for with muscle.  He could easily injure someone.  Despite the differences, John did come up with a couple of good alternative techniques for the test.

Ariel's aikido looked really rough that night.  But from what I remember, his freestyles are usually very good.  When he's under pressure, his aikido used to get better.

I know that I need a bit of practice but Ariel needs a ton.  Hopefully the test will be put off for a bit longer.  I was going to practice with Joanna but she hasn't been around much.  I'd like to take the test just so the clock can start ticking for the next belt.


At August 29, 2014 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I occasionally like to read your blog. You have a interesting perspective on training and techniques. There is one thing I notice that I cannot understand. Why are you so critical? You constantly criticize your dojo, some of your instructors, and in this entry a fellow student. Of course you have your opinion and of course you have the right to express your opinion, and of course I have the right not to read your blog, but can't you harmonize with others. Rank does not matter, ability does, as you mentioned one of your instructor's point of view. Just thought I would get that off my chest. I will continue reading though.

At August 29, 2014 3:58 PM, Blogger Poxbox said...

I do seem a bit down on the Shodokan dojo lately. Partly that may be because I care about the place. It's filled with some really giving people. However, I'd like to see things run better. I know my getting involved won't change anything so I don't volunteer.

Although I don't think rank is always important, the senior instructors obviously do. They show it in their actions. The last couple of times we had an open mat, I was not asked to contribute in any way. On one occasion I had more experience than anyone on the mat. I was not addressed at all. Someone with less experience was told to merely practice with me. Nothing was said to me about my practice or whether I should learn anything or lead anything. On another occasion a sempai was told to run the open mat. This is more normal. So why wasn't I asked to run Ariel through his test? It's not about running the mat... it's about being shown some acknowledgement. That my presence in the dojo does add to the dojo because I may be a good partner. It's almost like I don't exist.

Peter is different. If he sees me or anyone doing something interesting he may look at it and play with it to see if it works. More recently was being asked to give my thoughts on nikkyo. This made me feel good because it gave me an opportunity to help my dojomates.

As for being critical of students.... I'm no more critical of others then I am of myself. It's recognizing our weaknesses that make it possible to grow. If I say Ariel had a rough class, it just means that he is a work in progress like all of us. It doesn't need to be a permanent state.

This blog was originally written so that I could have a record of what I was learning, thinking, and feeling. Unfortunately it may not all be positive. When I go back and read the early posts, I cringe. But I leave them there anyway.

Thanks for the comment. I'll try and keep it in mind. Maybe I can get in a better frame of mind. The good news is, when I'm on the mat, all of this is just gone. All there is.... is aikido.


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