Sam Thift's Training Journal

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Sam Thift created the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

Just kicking things off here...a little test post to make sure I'm understanding things properly...

If I gather correctly, I will use this area to be posting assignments, in addition to posting them in the appropriate course area under the training forum?

For example, for the first exercise in Creed 101, I should be posting my response both HERE in "my training journal" AND in the "Creed 101" forum...? Right?

Cheers!
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

You can...

Many use this space more like a diary - "... I tried the lighthouse meditation again and got better results..." or "... I had an insight into *that* line of the Creed..." or "... While at work, I was able to use the body language lesson to determine..."

You can also use this journal to track what additional practices you are doing ... exercises, books that reinforce or inspire, life commentary, etc.

It's yours; use it as you will.
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Johannes (Yoshio) replied the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

Nothing really to add to what Kol Drake already said. PTD (Personal Training Diary) is what the word already somewhat includes a diary about all which You feel is linked to your personal training and growth. You are more than welcome to have a look into other people's PTDs and if not otherwise stated most of us are happy for any comments or help which is shared with us in our personal PTDs.
So, just find your own style and start writing and should You run in any problem of have a question, don't hesitate to post it in your PTD and for sure some of us will come back to it and give You our point of view and answers.

Qui-Gon Jinn: "We cannot control our emotions, but we can decide how we go along with them."
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Sam Thift replied the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

As part of my PLP I chose to take a beginner's course at Nippon Kan Aikido. The 6-week course began last week, but we were out of town, so I missed those first two classes (1.25 hours each).

Last night as I got off work, I went through my usual sequence of creating excuses not to go..."Well, I missed the first two classes, I don't want to be 'behind', maybe I'll start with the next class in August"..."Well, I forgot my water bottle at home today, so I didn't drink enough water throughout the day and am probably rather dehydrated"..."Well, it was a long day at work, hitching up the trailer to drop it off for some electrical repairs this morning, taking an unfamiliar bus route, and I won't have time to unhitch everything and make it to the class anyway"..."Well"..."Well"..."Well"...

I remembered listing Aikido as part of my IP hours in my PLP, listing it first even, with the projected "Completed By (Date)" of July 26th. The only way to meet that goal was to go to the class. There are still 10 classes left in the course (9 now), each at 1.25 hours, so I could still meet my 10 hour goal to satisfy that portion of my IP for Novice.

I also remembered the excitement my wife showed when I told her I was thinking of taking the class. Naturally, she has been "nagging" me to find some activity to do (I've gotten a little soft around the waist line since I stopped Krav Maga last year). In addition, being a native Japanese, she was more excited that I would be learning an art form steeped in her cultural background.

So I spent about an hour after getting home from work hydrating, letting go of my "Well(s)", and went to the class. It is housed in a very old building (in the decades sense, not centuries), which is attached to a rather neat "traditional" countryside Japanese restaurant. The entrance to the dojo is separate, and one can immediately feel the warmth and peace emanating from inside as you make your way past the check-in desk, remove your shoes at the threshold, and step barefoot onto the cool creaky wood of the short hallway around the corner to the dojo.

As with most martial arts training, there are various etiquettes of behavior exhibited by students and sensei alike, that embody the reverence and peace of mind necessary to practice an ancient art form. Knowing some fundamental Japanese language skills, I had no problem following the ritualistic forms of bowing and showing fealty towards the dojo itself and the sensei, and jumping into the counted movements of our warmups was almost natural.

Aikido is commonly referred to as a form of "moving meditation", a Zen-like art of mind, body, and spirit, and less a combative martial art. It does not focus on violence, the use of strikes and submissions common in many martial arts, but instead follows simple body flows and maneuvers to disarm, deflect, and discourage an attacker from continuing their path.

One who studies Aikido can expect to spend quite a bit of the class on their back, learning up front how to "fall properly", rocking along the back and returning to a standing position without the use of their hands to aide them. It is relatively low impact, it will not challenge one's physical strength, but the motion is constant and sweat will fall profusely.

Size matters not. Although a beginners class, most of us wearing generic "gym" attire, and despite having just spent their own 1.25 hours training, most of the general members stuck around to help us out. Ages easily ranged from mid-20s, to mid-60s, male and female, short and light to tall and heavy. We had a 1-to-1 ratio of beginners and general members, in addition to the sensei, the general members ranging from "white" belts, to "green", "brown", and even "black". Aikido does not put a premium on, nor hardly focuses on the color of one's belt (it is used more as a sign of mastery of certain dedication to the practice). The general classes are basically "open mat" time, with mixtures of students from newly graduated "beginners" to those donning the "black" belts with a decade or more of adherence to the ways. It is said that one cannot expect to "learn" Aikido in short order, a few months, a year, or even a decade, because it is a continuous practice to synchronize those aspects of our mind, body, and spirit, we may not find in our regular daily lifestyle. Particularly in today's world.

It can be "boring" to the individual seeking martial arts training for self-defense or more combative purposes. I get that. The pace and flow of the class was markedly different than the Krav Maga training I was involved in up until last year. Yet the demeanor of those you work with, the very pleasant and genuinely helpful attitude general members bring to their work with us "beginners", is unmatched in other martial arts I have participated in. From the moment you enter the dojo, step onto the mat, begin the warmups in class, and before/after every encounter with another, all students supplicate themselves and offer an "onegaishimasu" or an "arrigatougozaimasu", the most pleasant forms of "please" and "thank you" found in the Japanese language.

It was "warm" in the dojo (nearly 90 outside and the older building lacked central air, fans, or basic ventilation), my body today is sore in ways I did not quite anticipate, and I probably dropped 5 pounds from sweating alone. Yet I felt reinvigorated and refreshed, in all senses, as I made concerted effort to keep my focus where I was and what I was doing at the moment throughout the class. I can certainly see the Zen-like qualities such a beautiful training style can offer, and look forward to developing my relationship with the art when I return for the second class tomorrow evening.

May the force be with us all.
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Sam Thift replied the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

Yesterday I encountered some interesting subconscious emotions....

On the one hand, I was planning to go to my second beginner level Aikido class, and I even wanted to.

On the other hand, my subconscious was developing a litany of excuses for me to skip it. "Oh, you are still sore from Monday, take another rest day first" and "Well, you worked a long day today and you're pretty tired, maybe just go home", and the like...

It was somewhat incredible, albeit annoying, to find these thoughts cropping up in my head, challenging my motivation and my own decision. Yes, starting something new can be uncomfortable. I have not done any good solid physical exertion in a few months, so breaking a little sweat for 75 minutes was different to me again. But, WOW...I was somewhat shocked at how easily those hidden elements of my psyche were willing to throw in the towel.

I went. It was not easy to get in my truck and drive over to the dojo straight after work. It is along a normal path home and I could have easily turned left at one point, almost did out of habit/muscle-memory. But I ignored those odd temptations begging me to just give up.

I have not given up much of anything in life that I have set my sights on and made a commitment to...quite likely nothing of any measurable significance at all. I am glad that I was able to overcome those feelings and hold up my end of the PLP.

*****

Aikido remains very intriguing to me. The people I train with come in all ages, sizes, shapes, physical conditions, experience levels, and cultural backgrounds. Yet there is zero "gym judgment", there is an overabundance of willingness to help, and there is a high level of humbleness, piety almost, and sincerity in the rituals and traditions of the practice. It is hard to think of ones self, or judge another, or feel uncomfortable in ANY way at all while in that dojo.

It is peaceful.
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Johannes (Yoshio) replied the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

The last two post of You had been a very interesting read for me as it perfectly describes my own experiences in all the ways from my mind giving me reason for skipping training to, when finally at the Dojo, fully enjoy the peacefulness and comradeship amongst those in the Dojo. In general my experiences with those truly following martial arts in a "Do" aspect had been that there is little to no ego and that all of them are very friendly, helpful and humble people.
So, I feel very happy for You that You are able to make similar if not the same experiences. Keep on going as the reward is much more than the effort one is putting into the training and often on levels one is first not really aware of. :meditate

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Sam Thift replied the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

Since my last post here a couple weeks ago I have attended my beginner's Aikido class three more times (I skipped the class the night before Independence Day to take the child to see some fireworks), last night being the most recent, with a few more thoughts to share.

I have gotten over those weird motivation issues. I feel like it must have been some of those early going "butterflies" if you will. But more or less I have learned from the demeanor of others who attend the class, be they beginners also, newly graduated white belts, yellow, green, hakama wearing brown or black belts, or even some of the senseis (is that proper plural) who tag along to assist as a general member. No one in that dojo has a "better than thou" attitude at all, but instead is overly humble, not competing or comparing to each other, but simply there to enjoy the work and experience together. Everyone from the front door in is genuinely interested in helping you grow while benefiting from the opportunity to grow further themselves.

I find this rather unique and interesting in Aikido compared to other more combat oriented martial arts I have practiced. It is appreciated.

On a side note, having mostly gotten over some of the initial soreness that tends to follow exercising new muscle groups, I have instead turned towards pulling various muscles in my thighs, quads, and groin. At first I attributed it to poor stretching, poor hydration, or perhaps slight overwork of those areas in ways they have not been used recently. Monday I pulled my left groin pretty bad and it took me the full 48 hour recovery period to shake that out. Last night, on the very first forward shoulder roll following our warmup exercises, I pulled my right groin...worse than I had pulled my left earlier in the week...and spent the rest of the class pushing past the discomfort, probably assisting in the additional strain on my now tender left groin. I'm sure my coworkers think I am the worst, walking around all hobbled like.

BUT...I learned what it was that was resulting in these little injuries. I was not focusing on what I was doing. I was simply trying to go through the motions rather than controlling myself as the motion went through me. In rolling forward I was hesitating (had a nasty experience attempting a forward shoulder roll in full combat gear while training in the military years ago), and thusly was not following through the full roll properly, but rather leaving my legs behind to simply follow after. I am about 6'4" and roughly 240 lbs, with some tree trunkish legs that carry considerable dead weight when left to their own devices.

Once I figured out this floppish way of performing the roll was leading to my legs getting yanked afterward and thus pulling those neat little muscles, I took the lesson of the moment to focus better on what it was my entire body was doing during the movement rather than worrying only about my head, or neck, or arm, etc.

In order to act properly, whether in Aikido or our day-to-day lives, we have to remain FULLY aware of everything we our doing throughout the entirety of our being, lest we leave something behind and pull our muscles.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Sam Thift's Training Journal

Another reason why most of 'beginning Aikido' is learning how to 'hit the mat' -- so you don't get hurt.

Great that you caught the reason 'why'... hope you can heal and move forward with no further injuries.

In order to act properly, whether in Aikido or our day-to-day lives, we have to remain FULLY aware of everything we our doing throughout the entirety of our being, lest we leave something behind and pull our muscles.


Boy, you have the right of that...
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Jax replied the topic: Re:Sam Thift's Training Journal

How are you doing now Sam?


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