Wedding, Pirates, Aikido
The wedding was fabulous. It's nice to be able to sincerely gush, surrounded by other sincere gushers, about love and friendship and a sacred relationship, and know that you are in an irony free zone. Sincerity and ernestitude are underutilized. I want to experience them more often. It was also just a really good party. However, I think I'm going to have to take up ballroom dancing. Both the bride and the groom were gifted with a large number of very graceful and youthful older relatives, most of whom could dance up a storm. Our generation's pseudo-hip-hop air jabbing and furtive wiggles just didn't hack it.
I went to an impressively decorated pirate party on Saturday, where I saw a really nice sword. I mean, from my point of view it was a really nice sword--I don't know anything about fencing, though I've always wanted to try it. But besides the edge not being razor sharp, there was no reason for one to doubt its authenticity. The tip was sharp enough, and the thing was big enough, that it certainly seemed potentially dangerous. So I had a question--could one get arrested for walking around with a sword in full display? For reasons I won't dive into, involving a member of my blogroll, this turned into "If one person is walking down the street with an open sword, and another one is walking down the street carrying a large plastic owl, who is more likely to get arrested?" With strong roots in experimental physics, the relevant people decided to simply find out. But as I've already noted, CA is nothing like New York, and even in a city, that late on a Saturday night there was no one to interact with their experiment. Thank goodness. After all, there are technical legalities
and then there are the "disturbing the peace" kinds of arguments that DAs can often make and win.
We got to practice some Aikido in a park yesterday, and while the ground beneath the deceptively soft grass is itself much harder than a mat, I'm still glad. I think a weekly lesson alone wouldn't have "stuck" to me so well, and another difference between Aikido and dance is that it's proving rather difficult, so far, to practice Aikido on one's own. The first day I stayed some to observe the more advanced class, I remember that Peter kept talking about the importance of contact
. Besides conjuring up 80's era PBS jingles
in my geeky brain, it made me think about how even though Bharat Natyam is very much a soloist's art, I really, really loved having partners to dance with. I'm trying to think of other physical activities that have that kind of one-on-one engagement with another person. Rock climbing and tennis come to mind.
Scott showed us a little bit of the magic rolling I am so enthralled and intimidated by. I don't seem to keep my neck rolled in enough, but I think at this point only practice can get me to the next stage, as opposed to more technique. It was a little maddening to kneel down as he knelt down, put my hands on the ground as he did, bend down on one arm as he did, and then flop over sidewise while he executed a graceful forward somersault. My friend Emily Cooper
picked it up in a jiffy. But I think that sense of maddening frustration is healthy, because it might get me to the park more often to keep trying.
The falls I've been describing are called ukemi, and Aikdidoists are called Aikidoka. This vocabulary list
looks like it will be pretty helpful. It finally spelled out the formal end-of-of-class thank you phrase for me--Domo Arigato Gozaimashita
--and explained the derivation of Kiai
, which is the name of the Dojo's newsletter
. You can read a note on what it's like to live in the Dojo from Jennifer Velasco
, the kind uchi-deshi
I mentioned before. Scott says her ukemi
are beautiful to watch--"she's like a yo-yo." I didn't get such a clear view of her last week, but I hope I get to watch the advanced students practice more often as my schedule loosens up. Many of them have kyu-tests coming up--wish them luck.