Archive for November, 2013

Bujinkan, Month Eight

by on Thursday, November 28th, 2013

In light of the previous post, there is a brighter side to all this. I’m doing well at my new hobby/instrument/art. And have received positive confirmation of that fact too. A few of the visitors have complimented me on my skill after having heard that I’ve only been training since last March. That feels pretty good, at least I feel like I’m more comfortable with the forms.

Since I have earned bragging rights, and bruises, my instructor told me that he thinks I’m at a turning point in my training. He said, if you’ve never left the dojo and felt like crying, then you have never really trained. Well now I’m really training. Besides, they say that bruises are the medals of Bujinkan, and I’ve gotten plenty of those. He said too that I’ve come very far in a very short period of time. It was a compliment to my hard work. I don’t know how fast or slow it’s supposed to go, I’m training at a fast pace because I feel compelled to. I’m pressuring myself too, because I hate being the lowest man on the totem pole; the weakest link or runt of the pack.  So I push myself hard and practice. Just the way I am. I want to be revered.

Well, I’m not there…yet. But I’m done bragging for now.

“We’ll make you want to hit us.”

by on Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Things have not been the same at the dojo for a few weeks now. Around the beginning of the month, when the Quiet Samurai left for Antarctica,  we began to  increase the intensity of our training in hand to hand combat. In fact, it was at the bar where we had going away drinks for our friend that one of the instructors told me flat out, I needed to start hitting people harder in training. I resisted, of course, that has been one of the hardest things for me to learn how to do. I don’t like doing it. I don’t want to hurt anyone and it feels like it goes against my nature to punch someone in the face. The funny thing is, I don’t think I could hurt any of them if I tried.

So I went home that night and stewed on the idea, and it occurred to me that none of them hit me. In fact, several of them are super gentle with me. So how am I supposed to have any clue how hard to hit them when they treat me like a flower? At the next class I put it back in my teacher’s pocket, so to speak. I told him that he and the rest would have to be able to hit me too. A consensus was reached. We all needed to hit harder.

That was about two weeks ago. Intensity has been slowly building in class too, I’m trying harder, not sure if I’m succeeding. I don’t think hand to hand combat will ever be my thing. And this Monday I felt the truth of that hit home. We’ve had some really good classes lately. We’ve practiced a lot with the Bo Staff, I’m getting really comfortable with that. We also worked with a Jute, or short stick.  We had an 8th Don Black belt come down and train with us and even a couple from Sweden who have been training for twelve years. They were very good, very helpful, throwing out many insights to the art.

In fact, it was the night that they visited that I had my big wake up call. It was a big class, there were ten of us. Everyone was training hard, I came late and knew instantly that we were going at a higher level than  before. Mark was showing off harder wasa using more difficult moves. Things I’d never seen before. I was doing all right, I followed everything fine. The first thing I remember was practicing punching directly at  Uke’s face. (Uke is the name for your opponent, usually the one who ends up on the floor) The exercise was to have intention.

A couple newer members of the dojo, two guys I haven’t trained a lot with were all pumped up that night too. Apparently they never got the memo to train lightly with me. But that’s ok, this is what I’ve been working towards. One of them took several hard hits at my arm, finally after he hit a nerve and made a welt on my elbow, I had to take a break for a couple minutes. It pissed me off though, since he had been hitting me hard, I got mad and yelled at him that we were training, it wasn’t a real fight. He kept it up though and every time we were paired up he beat on me harder. His friend too, who I don’t think likes women very much, takes me down like he’s trying to make me quit altogether.

I guess that was the little light bulb in my head that put me over the edge. Between the two of them, my ninja sense told me that they would prefer I don’t come to class. They would like me to quit. I felt in my heart that ultimately, that was their intention. And, that was what made me really angry. I went home pissed off. I was angry and wanted to cry. And when I talked to Mike about it, he wanted to come to class and beat them up for me. Which made me angrier. For one thing, the point of my training is so that I can beat them up!!! The last thing I want is for someone to come out and protect the little woman who is unable to help herself. F*#^ that!

I never did cry. Well, except when I posted a comment on FB that I hated training and was trying not to cry, trying not to  be such a girl, and my instructor reached out to me. Then I cried a little. But besides that, all the frustration and anger makes me want to train harder. It makes me want to kick their puny little asses. (In and out of class.)  Ok, that’s probably not too healthy, but Josh E. said it best. That night, when I was still fishing my punches at him, he told me, “We’ll make you want to hit us.” And this from one of the guys who I feel friendship from. Something deep inside me is hurt by that comment, but I know with all my heart (and ninja sense) that he is trying to help advance my training.

Now I’m crying. Because I’ve finally found the bottom line. It’s right there, all wrapped up in what Josh said to me. Because I know what it’s like to want to hit someone you love. I know what it is to be so angry that you want to hurt that friend badly. For me, it’s the main reason I train. Because there is someone who I love, that I am that angry with.

You’re an asshole Bryan. I’m sick of you hurting my family, our family. Bujinkan is my therapy for dealing with my emotions for you, brother. I hate you. I love you. You make me want to hit you.