Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More developments

A few interesting things.

The other night, Shimizu-san (the very kind-hearted man who usually waits for me after practice so we can take the train together back to our homes, which are relatively close) said something very interesting. I forget what we were talking about, but he said (basically) "We're lucky that everybody in our dojo is very nice. Some dojos have very strange people." I asked him what he meant by "strange" and he said, "Well, some people who do jodo are a little bit odd... they like to practice really aggressively and try to hurt or scare other people. If you join their dojo, you have to put up with 1o or 12 years of being bullied before you get accepted into their group. And during that time, you have to endure all kinds of bad things. These people have a problem with their hearts..." I thought, wow, where have I heard that before??? That comment definitely resonated with me. (Some Sei Do Kai folks will know exactly what/who I'm talking about...)

Next interesting thing: there is a jodo seminar scheduled for next weekend in Nagano, which is a really beautiful part of Japan that I've never been to. Mountains, hot springs, jodo, and (most importantly) drinking! Sounds good to me. Kind of expensive, though, especially since I'm trying to save a bit of money for a trip to Kyoto next month.

Random observations: Furukawa Sensei is unreasonably strong. He does this thing where he holds the jo around the middle with one hand and smashes the sword (which you're holding in 2 hands) and it almost flies out of your hands. Also, he is very difficult to push when you do tai atari. I understand how people need to use concepts like "ki" to explain how someone can suddenly make themselves seem heavier than they really are...

I am in one of those periods where I am doing everything wrong. My technique is constantly being broken down lately and criticized. But these periods of rebuilding are good; this is when you actually have some chance of coming out the other side with improved techniques. Just sitting in the rut of your "status quo" practicing the same way over and over is useless, so I'm happy to be given corrections (although they can be kind of harsh sometimes).

It's all in your mind: lately I've been coming home from practice feeling really exhausted. I drag my sorry ass up the stairs at the train station thinking, "Wow, I feel like a wrung-out dishcloth" but if I say to myself, "Just pretend that you don't feel tired" suddenly... I don't feel tired! It's hard to explain but I think that at least 75% of it is mental. Another related thing: my right knee has been killing me lately, especially going up stairs. I started walking in different ways and if I put my weight on the heel of my foot instead of the toes when I go upstairs, it doesn't hurt. I can't think of a physiological reason of why this is possible, so it must be mental, right? Anyway, kind of interesting...?


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