just keep showing up.

Back to aikido tonight: I'm testing for 3rd kyu in September, so it's time to get my ass in gear and train more regularly, and start polishing the specific techniques. There was a girl there tonight that I see constantly at seminars and gatherings around the area, because she trains in Sebastopol. I've had a crush on her from the moment I first saw her in 2002, but I've always been intimidated by her because she's really pretty, incredibly hot, very good at aikido, and typically shows no interest in me whatsoever. In accordance with my not being so easily intimidated these days, I did venture to introduce myself tonight and chat a little bit; for the moment, I'm saved from finding the courage to ask her out by the fact that she lives in Sebastopol, which might as well be Oregon for everyday purposes. Maybe I'll see if she wants to grab some dinner and hang out. Because, you know, my life can only be improved by trying to make a pass at some seemingly-perfect woman who lives 3 hours north of me.

I love the give-and-take of aikido. Someone remarked after class how I tend to throw someone and then smile as I get ready for the next attack. I hope the smile isn't too smug; I admit to a certain amount of self-satisfaction, but it's also just being nice. O-Sensei impressed many people with his friendliness in downing opponents: people would come at him, land on the floor, and open their eyes, not being sure how they got there, but see this smiling Taoist immortal looking at them. Martial artists, especially Japanese, can be quite dour, deadly serious about everything...part of the joy of aikido is the idea that taking something seriously doesn't mean being negative, it just means staying focused and engaged and aware of what's happening. I think the redemption of my self-satisfaction comes in my turn to take falls, where I give myself over to my partner and trust that they won't hurt me. And I push back at my partner, within what they're capable of, so I won't fall down if he doesn't break my balance. It's a constant dialogue of bodies, as I attack at a certain speed and my partner responds in a certain way and I give up my attack and just go where my partner puts me, whether or not that leads to my falling down. The way we do aikido is quite simply who we are inside, and we share that with each other on the mat and it's a curious, powerful experience.

I have a sudden need to be more productive at work, at the same time I'm trying to re-center myself after the general crappiness of this past weekend, and I'm tired and unfocused and don't really care about my job. But I'll do it, because I went up the mountain and I know I can do anything I want.