I have returned to Aikido.

The pandemic nearly destroyed our dojo. When we were able to return to practice our rent went up. Due to reduced membership we could no longer afford it, and our landlord would not negotiate. I negotiated a deal with the city’s Parks & Rec department for us to teach our classes there and we share the revenue. This is how a lot of classes are done there. It has worked out well, but I was just not ready to return to class. Things at home were not settled down enough from the pandemic and other issues. I practiced a few times, but it wasn’t really time yet.

I’ve never considered myself to have “quit”. I knew I would go back to practice. When I started back in December 2006 I made the commitment that I would never voluntarily quit. It just wasn’t time  to come back yet. I needed more time to deal with things at home and my own battered mental health. This year it was time.

I’ve been back at practice for about 3 weeks now. I assumed I was in horrible condition. I was wrong. It’s not like I’ve been totally inactive the last 4 years. I’ve been skating a lot. Anyway, as it turns out my fitness level needs improvement but I’m pleasantly surprised. My body isn’t very sore. My ukemi (falling and protecting myself when being the “aggressor”) are still pretty good. I am rusty and need refreshers on some details and of course need a lot of practice, but that’s always the case in Aikido.

After one practice my mind felt clear again. I feel like I have energy again. Everything is just better.

What really makes me happy, however, is that my friend David has started. Like all of us, the last few years have been rough on him. He says he feels good. He’s engaged with practice. I can already see the change in him. It is really great to have one of my oldest friends at practice with me. I hope he really gets a lot out of it.

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