Well I've just begun my sixth week here at the New York Aikikai and I thought I'd give everyone a brief update. On the bright side of things I just moved into the Deshi quarters upstairs and got my own bed!! Good bye sofa and dump trucks (the sofa is right near the open windows)!! Things are going well as far as my general standing in the dojo. I'm getting alone well with the other Deshi and seem to be keeping up with all of the chores that they can throw at me...my body is a different story however.
Lets start from the bottom up...
taking ukemi for Alberto (quite powerful) for iriminage as I swung my outside leg around, I slammed my right big toe into the mat. VERY jammed. That happened several weeks ago and I still can't bend it.
Spending 5-6 hours on the mat everyday has a nasty way of drying out the skin on your feet which in turn cracks...and bleeds...mmm. Glamorous I know. Makes it a little hard to walk let alone practice aikido.
Two days ago I way taking ukemi for a sandan (third degree black belt) and didn't judge the distance to the wall correctly. My right heel collided with the concrete wall at full speed. I haven't really been able to put any weight on it since then. I'm laid up icing it as I type. I just got done with one of Toshi's classes where he decided to use me as uke the entire time...we worked on jujinage and iriminage breakfalls...my heel was not appreciative. It's quite swollen at the moment, hoping the ice will help.
What next...oh yeah, Donovan did two classes in a row this last monday with nothing but suwari waza (techniques performed on the knees). Since then at least two instructors a day have done suwari waza. Both knees have more than their fair share of blisters.
Moving on up the line...I've just stopped putting tape on both of my wrists. Worked hard with nikyo and kotegaeshi a week or so ago and I just got done paying for it. While I'm on the subject of wrists I'll tell everyone about a girl I've dubbed "wolverine." I took Harveys randori class on tuesday (which makes the count for that day 6 classes) and this particular girl was in my group of 4-5 people. The specified attack was katatetori (wrist grab). Whenever I was nage (the one being attacked) and I threw her she didn't exactly let go...she basically drug her nails down my arms and hands until she had nothing left to hold on to. My forearms and hands look like they've been mangled by some small creature. Annoying yes...but when you think about the fact that five hours a day of sweating and contact with other people grabbing your wrists prevents the formation of scabs...infuriating is a more appropriate word. And let me remind you again how much I sweat...and sweat stings in open scrapes and cuts, yes it does. One of the instructors asked what happened and my response was simply "grrrr, oh my god this girl just wouldn't let go..." the instructor cut me off right there and said "WHOAAA buddy, WAY too much information about your personal life" They've been messing with me ever since.
Anyway, two days ago I jammed my right thumb pretty bad taking ukemi, against my own knee no less. That hurts.
My left elbow is still severely hyper-extended from my first week here and Toshi popped my right elbow earlier this week. Shihonage is not fun, nor is jujinage. Did I mention that Toshi used me today for jujinage breakfall demos!
On Wednesday of this week Toshi pulled me out of a group to use me for his own curiosities. He was "experimenting" with various techniques trying to see what he wanted to teach for his next round. I'm not sure what he was trying but he rammed that pointy part of his shoulder (I think it's an extention of the collar bone?) into the left side of my ribs. That was the night he took us out for dinner...I had to milk it for all it was worth. I didn't think too much of it at the time but I'm definitely thinking that it's either a bruised rib or quite possibly a cracked one cause it's quite painful. Ukemi is hard because it hurts to use my stomach muscles and deep breaths are on the painful side of not possible. Have I mentioned that Toshi used me for breakfall demos today?
Oddly enough my back is doing ok. Let me stress the *ok* part. It's not wonderful but it's better than I expected. My shoulders seem to be doing pretty good, knock on wood. And my neck is ok. I've gotten a few bloody noses and lips, and I damn near bit the tip of my tongue off when I caught a full on atemi to the chin and my mouth was open...won't do that again.
I think it was Edwin that told me I'd have to figure out how to train and take ukemi with injuries...well I'm definitely learning. My ukemi is improving by leaps and bounds, still sucks though. I have yet to take a day off and tomorrow there is a memorial seminar for Butch, a former instructor here who recently passed away. Sensei and Steve Pimsler will be teaching for a few hours and then we're hosting a large party upstairs in the Deshi area and on the roof with much drinking and carryings-on...which the Deshi get to clean up after :)
So among all of this I'm having one of the most amazing experiences possible! This isn't pretty or glamorous and many of the members ask me why the hell I would do this to myself but I know this is exactly where I need to be.