Class #1 is under the belt! Here’s the recap:
The first third of the class focused on traditional meditation, paying respects to Ōsensei, warm-ups, and sitting in seiza. In the image below the three images to the right are seiza. Aikido sure likes seiza! You’re pretty much back in it every time sensei showed the class some darn thing. I finally reached the point where he could see my pain and thankfully let me sit cross-legged. He said my seiza endurance will improve with time.
When class started he separated me from the rest of the class. They got to work on a nifty jo strike whereas yours truly was taught basics. I practiced the proper way to get in and out of seiza (image above). Then I practiced a half back roll exercise that had me switching between a right knee forward and left knee forward kneeling position. I also practiced standing up into one of the basic aikido stances: hanmi.
Apparently I didn’t stink the dojo up too bad so he graduated me to rolls. He showed me three ways to start a front roll. One was a yoga-like pose with my back leg sticking back for balance while my hands stretched out on the mat. This is the one that I stuck with. Also, I quickly realized that the way I learned to roll in taekwondo is not going to cut it here. Then another layer: front roll into hanmi. And another: back roll, then back roll into hanmi.
By the end of it I was drenched in sweat and my legs where on fire! He paid me a compliment (or took pity on my frustration) by saying that few new students make it to rolls in their first class, so there is that. (Ahem, and lets bracket out my age for now…)
Then he called class and we were back into seiza for a closing round of aikido etiquette. The few minutes of closing seiza where pure hell. To make it worse we had to shikko (knee walk) over to him. This sucked on an order of pain I have not felt in quite some time!
- Ankles, knees, calves, and front of feet hurt
- Hips are sore
- Gi burns on my shoulders
- Weird pressure marks on the front of my feet.
- Wife shaking head at last two points 🙂
I really like how this sensei structures this class. Compared to that mess of an aikido class I sampled in Indianapolis this is great! Partially owing to the large class size, in Indy the newbies were told to keep up and try to mimic. Nobody there ever took the time to break it down into steps for me that could be assembled into a sequence. If this is how sensei teaches then this dojo will be a good fit.
Past this, I’m sore as hell but nothing is broke.
Class #2 this coming Monday!