Archive for January, 2014

New Year Training

by on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Well, I  haven’t  put a word down since at least November, since we celebrated the holidays of 2013 in a big way this time. We traveled to Atlanta to see the new baby and celebrated with parties and friends, too many. And at the end of it all I joined a few training friends for a long seminar up in Minnesota. Since then I’ve been resting. Sleeping.

I rode with a friend, since I hate driving when I have no idea where I’m going, and I’ve never been to Minneapolis before. We shared stories of our youth and talked about plans for the future. When we arrived Saturday night, our trainer held court in his basement and refreshments were passed. There were others, a group of people who belong to the Minneapolis Dojo and we got to know each other a little bit. By the time we went to our hotel to check in, it was midnight. As I settled into bed, I called home, but Mike didn’t answer. It was early for him to be in bed, but I thought perhaps he was sleeping and surrendered to the dark myself.

I had slept hard, but woke late with stiff and sore shoulders from the hard hotel mattress. It was the coldest day in more than 15 years. The temperature that morning broke records across the midwest. It was -30 with wind chills at -50 to -60 degrees. I made myself ready, had one cup of coffee and a banana that I’d brought from home and tried to reach Mike, who wasn’t answering. On the way out the door, upset and not hungry, I forced myself to eat a tiny muffin. I was worried that Mike didn’t pick up my calls, I’d tried the home phone and his cell more than numerous times, every five minutes for over an hour to be more precise, and was about to call my neighbor to check on him. It was upsetting me.

Of course, he finally picked up his phone, as we’re walking out the door, and making us late. He’d been pissed off that I didn’t call him the moment we arrived the night before, and was punishing me. It worked, I was unnerved, and a bit freaked out. I felt unjustly ‘punished’. He’d made me upset, and so my head wasn’t exactly all wrapped around the idea of training that day. I think of it as his way of making his presence known, and to inform me, indirectly, that he was unhappy I gone and done something without him.

When we arrived at the dojo, the cold air followed us in with a cloud that clung to us and then snuck away, dissolving into the corner. The dojo was a heated garage, and thick frost coated the inside of the windows. We quickly changed into our Gi’s and class got underway immediately. I had no time for sullenness, and no time to process Mike’s reaction.

We began with some challenging rolls, ukeme and cartwheels, I felt injured right away due to my stiff shoulders. But we didn’t stop. Today was not a day for pussies. We trained hard through thirst and hunger, finally breaking for green tea (a tiny cup) and thin unsatisfying cookies at about 2pm, I could have eaten a big meal by then. I had begun to feel the effects of missing breakfast early that morning, but our focus was on the training and the day went by relatively quickly. Though I typed the day’s events into Marks phone on the way home, I couldn’t tell you everything we did. There was so much new information, and for the most part we didn’t follow forms, we were given instructions to be creative and let what ever happens take you in a new direction.

Near the end of the day, our trainer came over to help me with a wasa we were working on. I punched at him and he hit me hard. The shock of his strike hit me harder than the blow itself. Though my arm rang like a bell. And through my exhaustion I felt the tears well up. Even willing them away wasn’t working, but though the teacher saw it, he told me not to stop. He encouraged me to continue,  “You need to feel this.” So I came at him again, and he hit me hard in the arm again. We finished the form, but I was left with tears streaming down my face. And though I tried to shake it off, the tears waited, threatening to emerge again for the whole remaining two hours of the class. It was all I could do to hold myself together.

At the end of the day, he was right, I had needed to feel that. We talked, and he said that if I knew I would react that way it could come in handy in a situation where I was being attacked. I would need to learn how to move through the emotion, and react with out getting stuck there. Its something I think I can do.

Move through.

That’s the message, isn’t it? Because I’m still angry at Mike for punishing me the way he did in front of my friends. I never had a chance to move through.