2008 is certainly kicking lots of new sand in my face; with Tom lending moral support to Mark's new venture, Integration Training, I've been taking the Tuesday classes at our aikido dojo. When I first started training I kept a diary online (much of which was lost in the Great Hard Disc Crash of 2005 - and may yet be restored); I may end up doing a similar thing for a little while now.

Whilst I've taken two classes so far (and they've both been rather small, with 2 or 3 students each), but a couple of things have stood out for me:

  1. I have a sudden appreciation for how much I daydream or "tune out" when I'm normally training; in the classes I take, this isn't an option, and I really felt the additional attention I was giving it. The first time around the difference was striking, by the second it wasn't such a problem. But still: I've been spending far too much time asleep and am kicking myself (ineptly);
  2. Having 3 other people in white pajamas copy your every move is a bit surreal. We were stretching this last week, and I became suddenly aware that, as I moved from rotating my left ankle to concentrating on my right, 3 others were doing the same. It's slightly sinister...

As for what we've been doing: really simple stuff. 20 minutes of makko ho stretching, a few warmups, and then taking a single idea and seeing how it's applied in a few of the simplest techniques. So the first class was looking at the circular kokyu arm-shape in ikkyo, iriminage, shihonage and suwari waza kokyu ho; in the second we went through the same set of techniques but concentrating on ukemi and stretching.