It has been a very difficult year for training. It hasn't been the toughest but the hardest to find a rhythm. I lost a few months to cancer surgery, a few weeks here and there to injuries and a number of classes to schedule conflicts such as my daughter's soccer games. Even last week was lost to Storm Albert's aftermath.
Tonight, I was talking with Joelblow about the challenges we've faced this past year and whether a black belt test was still a real possibility for next year. I agreed that we weren't nearly in range but that I was considering tonight a new beginning. I was rusty, not in great shape and had no consistency or focus in my training. That said, I intended to make this class the launching point. It would take some time but it was going to start now.
Tonight we had a big class and went through a typical warm-up. My only real weak point was sit-ups. Doing them on my own, I find that I can easily to several sets of 50 pushups. The pace in class is a bit faster than I do when training alone and this causes me to lag behind. Overall my fitness level needs lots of work. I can pull off a full day work hard around the yard or even the recent half-marathon run but those are gueling versus effortless. It's probably a good start to join the warrior workout on Thursday. I think it's time to try and do more.
We spent the middle portion of class working on various guard and mount self-defense techniques. I worked with one of our newest students, Leo. I'm guessing that he's about thirty years younger than me. He's also very strong and athletic. As I said to him tonight, he's going to be very tough to deal with once he learns more and uses his power more judiciously. I also trained some with Sempai Jake and he had my number tonight. Usually I can deal with him but tonight he was thrashing me. Another sign of my lack of regular practice.
For the end of class, I was paired with Big Dave to do brown belt aikijitsu. Dave is great to work with but his size and strength are always a factor. Add to this the fact that he seems to be getting stronger while I've slipped back in the past year. We hacked our way through a few different techniques and I left class intact aside from a few scratches that Leo left on my hands.
It wasn't a rousing return to the mats but I stayed with it and will consider it a step in the right direction. I'm not sure where the coming months will take me but I'll looking forward to getting back into a training groove.