Andare, Partire, Tornare

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Sweat and the smell of a dojo

Sometimes, the best cure for a bruised heart isnít hard work or repose on a manly bosom, but sweat. Sweat, and being flung around on a mat.

Iíve been feeling a little bruised recently Ė the combination of the anniversary a few days ago, the usual money woes, and, freaky as it makes me sound, the reading of too many history books, like the current one on the 1930s that Iíve been ploughing through currently. Reading about the Great Depression and how it affected France, Germany, the US, England, and Japan isnít exactly uplifting reading, and itís left me with a pretty sorry view of the human condition. Um, not that my view was all that great to begin with.

Iíd been pondering the idea of starting with aikido again Ė itís been twelve years since I last stepped on a mat, and my desire to do something about my general sluggy ways led me to do some poking around on the internet. I found Capital Aikiki, which is way the hell and gone over on Georgia Avenue, in Maryland, but last night I made the trip out to see if the general vibe in the dojo was what I wanted.

I was made to feel welcome, integrated into a group, and immediately put to work, doing some basic throws. By some quirk of muscle memory, I remember how to fall, and although I kept putting the wrong foot forward (literally, not figuratively!) and occasionally had to stop and think hard about which direction I was supposed to step, it went very well. I was terribly nervous, but everyone was so friendly and easy-going that it faded as class went on. The place smelled right, in a way that I can't really describe, but recognized the second I walked into the room. Best of all, I got to move, sweat, roll, throw, and basically burn off some of the negative energy that Iíve felt hanging over me like a little black raincloud. Something about the damp hair on the back of my neck, and the slightly sore feeling in my knees and back from using muscles that have been long dormant just felt so damn good. Iím hoping to go tonight to attend a weapons class Ė itís been so long! The only problem is that itís a long trip there, and there were still remanants of rush hour traffic along 270, so Iíll have to leave early to get there in time.

Now all I have to do is remember how to tie the knot on my belt properly Ė it kept coming undone, damn it.

2:16 p.m. - 2004-09-14

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