I just got back from seeing The Two Towers. It was okay--not the quality of adaptation of the first movie. I very strongly encourage everyone to read the books. Please. Save our culture.

I did an aikido class tonight at Valley Aikido. It was...different. The differences aren't well-defined in my head yet, but in general it's much rougher and less kind, both in movement and in teaching style. They're fans of Shibata-sensei (of Berkeley Aikikai, the place I declined in favor of Aikido of Berkeley) and Chiba-sensei of San Diego Aikikai, both of whom I have been warned of repeatedly as being "bone-breakers", so others in that teaching lineage are likely to be similar.

(This is why we choose our teachers with great care. We give to them a measure of authority and trust: "I believe that you know more than I do, and I will trust you and follow your instructions in return for you honoring that trust and helping me learn". For me a big part of that is trusting that the teacher will know and respect my limits.)

(Trust is an unhappy topic with me these days. Moving on.)

Well, the teacher did in fact teach the same way as Shibata, and I'm starting to realize exactly how warm and fuzzy my part of the aikido world is. The Aikikai style is very aggressive and fairly abrupt, lacks a lot of the grace I like about the Iwama style I study, and the vibe is much more what I would expect from a karate or kung fu dojo (turns out Chiba-sensei studied judo and karate before moving to aikido, so there's your answer). One of our black belts has actually came over to Iwama because she was tired of the hard-driving approach of the Aikikai (they're siblings, as these things go, so the ranks transfer over). I'll take a few more classes there before I leave: it's good to get some exposure and better understand my own style, and imperfect aikido is better than no aikido, from most points of view. The kicker is that I have to decide if I have the mental and physical awareness to be prepared for somebody using more force on me than I'm used to.

Not sure where my mental state is. I let a little bit of it out today, but...I'm so tired, so weary, so hurting. Clearly I need to watch more television.