Sometimes its hard to tell if I am improving or not. In Aikido it is usually subtle changes that make all the difference. I can say that I am now familiar with a wider array of techniques and openings than I once was.

I think the most significant difference is my awareness of surrounding people, including uke. I can tell with more accuracy the trajectory a person will be thrown and aim my uke away from that spot. I can also get out of the way, instead of being hit, when a person is thrown at me.

All around I feel more centered and balanced. I am also a bit more comfortable experimenting with different styles of throwing. Some styles such as Steve Pimsler’s or Claire Keller’s make a lot of sense to me. I struggle with Donovan’s and Hal’s styles. I find I can visually understand them but making them work for me is incredibly difficult.

On the other side of things, My ukemi feels much the same, except that when people really chuck me it hurts a bit less. Members are continually telling me that I’m improving and most of the time I believe them. Training here is like concentrated Aikido practice anywhere else. I feel ready to take my first kyu any day now. Though I have to wait for Sensei to give me the heads up. I don’t even know what my hours are anymore.

Good luck to everyone in Florida. I hope I get to come and see the new dojo soon.