Here we go again. Tuesday August 2 2011 marked my third week of formal training at the dojo. And boy, was it different than what I'm used to.
First off, our class size was much smaller than usual. I think at last count there were 6 of us as opposed to the usual eight or ten. Not to mention all except one were pre white belt. Note that this estimate of class size and makeup does not include Sensei because although he is still technically a student, he led class last night.
Also of note is the fact that last night marked Chad's first day of Hapkido, as well as his first day of formal training. While I have no problem with Chad jumping into formal training right away, it made me realize how lucky I am to have Sensei's private guidance and teaching. The dojo environment is wonderful, or I wouldn't spend so much time there and feel so at home, but it can be overwhelming because of the strict ettiquite we observe, and the high expectations of our instructors.
Chad and I got to the dojo early and were greeted right away by Master Markus and Master Eric who were very excited to finally meet Chad. Sensei arrived shortly after and worked with me on calming and focussing while we waited for the earlier class to finish. I was so in need of relaxation that he performed a nerve strike which left me deeply asleep for a few minutes, and just cradled me so I wouldn't hurt myself.
When class began I was instructed to teach Chad the proper dojo ettiquette. So I taught him how to bow into our training space, hands together (palms touching) at chest level, while bowing from the waist. Then we were told to stand at attention, arms at sides and greeted by Sensei with the traditional greeting/bow which we mirrored and answered.
We went through stretches and strike repetitions, though we didn't do as big a variety of strikes. That would be because usually Sensei is trying to accommodate multiple belt levels. Then we were told that we were going to spend another session working on Brush-Trap-Strike. Also covered were wrist releases, joint locks, and counter grabs.
I really struggled last night. Part of that was because with so few people at class, I was paired with Chad because I have the skill to teach him. This was really hard on my anxiety, because I didn't want to throw a punch at Chad any more than he wanted to throw one at me. However, my job in this situation wasn't to be Chads fiancee. It was to be a martial artist, and a teacher. Later, I was able to talk through my anxiety with Sensei and he said that despite my discomfort with the situation I did well and made him very proud.
At the end of the lesson, I led Chad through the closing ettequite and we exited the training space. Like me, Master Eric presented Chad with a cane so that he could also begin weapon work. I am glad that Chad and I are being trained in the same techniques but again, this also messes my anxiety up.
Hapkido is something that was unique to ME, as a skill. Chad and I share a lot and don't get me wrong that's a great thing, but sometimes its great to have a skill or hobby just your own. It doesn't mean I'm not proud of Chad's progress, of course I am. But Hapkido is something that was special and made me stand out from the crowd. Now once again, I felt anyway, that I wasn't special anymore. The truth is, my mind needs time to accept that this is another thing I now share.
But that will come.