Physical Training Oct 2005
Our Sponsor, SDKsupplies

Seeing Up Close

Copyright © Paul Schweer 2005. All rights reserved.

There is a scab on the back of my neck.  It is long and thin, all the way across.  It feels rough under my finger tips.  It has been there for a few days, tender and raw for a while.  It is healing now.  Last night I asked my wife what it looked like. 

She said, "It looks like a big scab." 

It is left over from Friday night. 

Ian has been coming to the dojo for a while now.  He and I are both aikido students.  I’ve been at it for a few years; he is fairly new to aikido.  But he’s not new to martial arts.  He only practices aikido these days, but Ian is a judo guy from way back.  And he is large.  And very strong.  And young.  Enthusiastic, energetic, athletic... what have you.  I've asked him a couple of times to throw me around after class.  This past Friday was one of those times.   

Working with Ian has been educational.  Nothing concrete yet, more along the lines of seeing up close and without doubt repeated hints of just how very much I don't know yet.  Have I had a few moments of success?  Yes, and they have been sweet.  But mostly there has been my taking fall after fall after fall.

A few moments stand out in my memory.  One of them was Friday, and it left a mark.  Ian had gathered my gi lapels in his hands and let my movement take out the slack, then -- did I mention how large and strong he is -- he twisted and pulled.  I put the heel of my hand on his chin, but... things got fuzzy quick... my posture broke... something went funny behind my eyes.  (It seemed I was being sucked into hell.)  I tapped.  Returned to sound and light.  And pulled my gi collar away from my neck.

Is it safe for me, an aikido student, to free-style with a judo guy like Ian?  (It appears to be quite safe for him.)  I think we are both looking to get each other while, at the same time, looking out for each other.  I don't think it gets better than that.  I think it's a precious chance to get better, one I will miss if trying to stay safe. 

But I don't think risk of physical injury is the primary thing preventing my asking Ian to play more often.  I have an inflated opinion of my own skill and, like the scab on the back of my neck, this delusion is brittle and ugly.  And clearly visible to all but me.

Our Sponsor, SDKsupplies
Physical Training Oct 2005