I think Mr. Mulligan asked Bob to teach Friday nights for a while. Not sure how long he'll be teaching but I'm sure he'll stay at least for the time being while we have all the 1st kyus practicing for their test. Maybe it's a permanent thing. No idea. It's very generous of him to take the class over. He's been teaching for a couple months maybe.
We actually had a beginner join us on a Friday night. I think this is excellent. Up till now, beginners weren't allowed as it was an advanced class night. I see no reason not to mix the class right now. People at different levels will practice at their ability. And if someone wants to really throw the crap out of someone they can grab a more advanced person. Although, between injuries and lack of ukemi, I can't think of too many people I can just throw without holding back. More on this later.
I suggested to Bob that I or someone work with the beginner at the beginning of class to try to work on her ukemi a bit. We can get her rolling hopefully. He was concerned that it would cut into our shodan prep but I don't think its much of a problem. I told him I'd be willing to help her. As far as I know, I'm not slated to test for a while anyway. In fact, I sometimes wonder if Mr. Mulligan wants me even training at his dojo. Today he got bent out of shape over a misunderstanding about a check I sent in. The comment field on the check clearly states that the check was for the purchase of two gis. It was in small print and hard for some people to read. But the point is, rather than asking me about it, it was more like an accusation.
Considering my 11+ year past with this dojo, it was kind of insulting. There was a period of time when I was out of work. Mr. Mulligan was kind enough to allow me to train for a period of a few months(for free) until I found a job. After I got my financial footing again, I started to repay the dojo for the missing months. It was not expected. I didn't have to do that. I did that because I appreciated the help, and I wanted someone else to be able to get the same break I did if they needed it. I really don't think it was necessary to call me over tonight by giving me the finger and start accusing me of trying to cheat the dojo. I tried to explain but couldn't get Mr. Mulligan to understand. I just looked at Bob and pleaded.... "Some help here". For some reason when Bob told him the same thing I did, he started listening. The experience was most disappointing. Once he understood that the check was for two gis and not one gi and dues, I then was called a greedy bastard for buying two gis. This is his odd way of acknowledging that I didn't do anything wrong. Some people find it charming. I find it disrespectful.
Now, If my purchasing two gis is a problem, I would normally volunteer to pick up more for the dojo. However, my desire to go out of my way was quashed by our conversation. Not fun. Not fun at all.
An interesting conversation occurred a week or two ago. There is a 1st kyu who will be testing for shodan soon in class. He attended a seminar up north. When he came back, he came back with a couple cool tachitori techniques. He did make one comment though. He was amazed at how good the yudansha took ukemi when called upon to take ukemi for demos. He said they looked fantastic. He expressed some concern that once he passes the Shodan test that he will attend a seminar and get crushed because he didn't think his ukemi was up for it. This thought was not lost on Peter. So the following week, even though the 1st kyu wasn't there, we worked on ukemi a little. Peter had us doing some breakfalls. Nothing I need to practice really. Always willing to work on ukemi though.
One other bit of interesting tonight. There is this guy named Alex who trains by himself just before aikido starts. He works out on the wood karate floor. He's in incredible shape and is often practicing weapons, If there is ever any trouble I plan on hiding behind him. He's often taking on impossible poses, and doing insane push-ups. One of his things the past month or so is to work with an oak staff. He's pounding the crap out of a support column. Most of the strikes are fine but he was doing this one strike that was end on. Sort of acting like a battering ram on the support column. You could hear it reverberate throughout the whole building. I suggested to him that maybe he might not want to strike the support column with that much direct force. If it's cement filled, I have no doubt that he's shattering the cement inside. He said that maybe he should skip that exercise. I'm surprised no one's told him to cut the crap. Bob made a comment a couple weeks back but it wasn't direct enough for Alex to take the hint.