Posted: January 19, 2016 in Spiritual Journey

Yesterday was my first time in training in over a month. In fact, truth be told, I’ve struggled to make it regularly to training for at least a year, each time I make it to the dojo I’m met with smiles and well-meaning enquiries of “are you going to start coming more regularly?” to which my answer has routinely been a noncommittal “I’ll try.”

I won’t pretend that last night wasn’t tough. I was painfully aware of how unfit I currently am. My kicks were more like half-hearted flailings and time and again when doing press-ups and the like I found myself contributing a handful and stopping just shy of collapsing into a heap. the class was mostly white and yellow belts and, looking down at my black belt I felt acutely embarrassed and part of me really really hoped they were;t looking to me to set an example of how to do it.

There were good bits. Punching and upper-body stuff felt natural and fluid. When we did some pad work I was able to hit fast and hard without much effort, which I guess shows I haven’t forgotten everything. And the juho (soft techniques) in the latter part of the class went well. That and the familiar friendliness and positivity of people I’ve been training with for years was all still as I remember. And by the end of the session my foul mood from the day had dissipated and, as is so often the case, I felt more grounded in my body, which, between missing tempo and not doing much rope, is something I’ve really not had for too long.

After the class, as I was heading out (wanting to makes a swift exit, what with it being a school night), I spoke briefly with sensei and told him that I was, frankly, a bit embarrassed, both by how rusty I am and how unfit I am. He shrugged it off and said that in a few sessions I’d be feeling better. That interaction was important to me. Firstly it was about confronting my embarrassment, acknowledging it, and my current situation. But more than that it was in trusting sensei to respond in a positive way, a way that wouldn’t leave me feeling shamed and angry at myself. There’s a difference here between knowing that, if he didn’t, I would be ok. I might be angry, hurt, but it would not destroy me. But that doesn’t feel like trust to me, rather, that fact that it didn’t even really occur to me that he would say anything negative, that feels warm, and friendly and safe. Is that trust?


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