I've discovered a new least-favorite technique to have applied to me: yonkyo, a wrist lock with the added bonus of a nerve pinch. It really hurts, in a startling sort of way, inasfar as you first notice you can't really move your arm, then you notice that it hurts, and it takes a few seconds to localize the pain down to the one pressure point.
I learned this courtesy of Saille, a nice woman who comes to class every Saturday. She plays pretty hard: she likes to use a fair amount of force, and to have people respond in kind, not only for learning purposes (resistance lets you know when you're doing a technique properly) but also for the martial aspects, in that someone attacking you will probably be doing so strongly. She also did a rather disquieting thing where she had my elbow a short slip away from breaking it in the wrong direction--not maliciously, but a habit she seems to want to develop for combat. I asked her nicely not to do that, and she stopped. It's so simple, sometimes.
I've not been feeling quite as "here" this week, my mind scattering off in directions while I'm driving, having imaginary conversations. On the other hand there's nothing inherently bad about that, and in any thing that we work at--aikido, Zen, other sports, job, school--we go through ups and downs, two steps forward and one step back, we think we've got something learned and ingrained and we slip. I guess the process of mastery is to not stop when that happens, to keep going, and the slips become smaller and less frequent.
I realized on Thursday or Friday that I fell into that trap with work where I was putting things off until some time in the future: "When this project is done I will have more time for aikido". But there's always another project (in fact I have another one starting on Monday afternoon), and because my team actually plans ahead, I don't know that it will ever not be busy. And it's always right now, and thinking there will be time later for activity X is precisely how people waste their lives working unpaid overtime pushing papers in a cubicle for a company that doesn't care about them instead of spending time with their kids. It's not "next week" that I need to start balancing work and aikido and everything else--it's right now. So I start that this week, now that my first project is about done and the higher-ups have tangible proof that I'm good at what I do.
This fuzzy state of mind I've had is probably more crap working itself out in my head. It's also likely related to the tension in my body that wasn't there a week and a half ago, in my shoulders and legs. It feels good to have things processing, though.