Hello all. I thought I'd take this lazy Sunday morning to briefly go over the New Years class with you.
I went to Colorado for Christmas to visit my parents and take a bit of a break from the mat. I had a great time but I was itching to get back! I flew back into NYC just a few days before New Years and I had several different people ask me which party I was going to. As it turns out I didn't even have to leave my home.
The annual ritual here at New York Aikikai is quite simple. On New Years Eve we have the regular morning and noon classes but not the evening classes. We shamelessly recruit anyone who is foolish enough to accept the offer of helping clean the dojo for the New Year. Now I know I said that we cleaned the dojo before the X-mas party but it got a little dirtied up with all the partying so we have to do it again...but this time for real. I dusted the ceiling. I washed the walls. Gutted and rearranged the laundry room (lets not forget that I am THE Laundry Deshi) among MANY other little intricate duties at the whim of Sensei. With the help of maybe eight to ten other people we finished just in time to have a few pieces of pizza, a beer or two, and a short nap before the real evening class started.
To my increasing surprise 50 or more peole started to crowd into the dojo around 10:30 at night getting ready for the New Year. Class started at 11:30. Sensei got onto the mat in his usual fashion and made a short-sweet and to-the-point speech and got the class started. At Midnight we had a quick celebratory pause for hugs, kisses, and cheers and then got back to hurting each other. I try not to focus on the obvious and odd contradiction of this situation. Once the class ended at 12:30 everyone jumped into the showers and put on their best partay clothes and got the party going. I barely had a chance to fold Sensei's hakama before he snagged up the deshi to prepare things. Music, lights, and alchohol are all sent down from Sensei's office to be set up. In some odd twist of fate I wound up being the designated bar tender for the evening serving wine, very nice scotch (compliments of Sensei's expensive taste) and warm sake. Throughout the evening the dojo filled up with what must have been close to 80-100 people. Good people, good music, good drinks, and good fun! I think I stumbled up stairs around 5:30 or 6 in the morning and there were still a few people singing at the karaoke machine (ouch).
Things were nicely planned seeing as how the dojo was closed for the next two days for recovery. Since then things have fallen back into their regular schedule of 30 classes a week and chores galore. Currently I am preparing to take a flight to Florida for the Florida Aikikai Winter Camp which should be a great time. Lots of people from New York are going and I hope to see some old friends from Atlanta as well. I'll be spending as much time as humanly possible at the beach and making sure that the hot tub at the hotel works properly.
I hope all is well