Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Pakua Diary April 25, 2004 (Improvement Class 1)

In order to advance beyond the grey belt, I am required to take at least sixteen Improvement classes *and* have the approval of my master. My master being who she is, I could have the approval yesterday, but that's beside the point. (The other options are to have three private classes with a master certified to teach these classes or wait six months and take a seminar at the end. Still require master's approval.)

I was nervous - The class is held at a school I've never been to and taught by a master I do not know. I'd have to introduce myself, figure out where to go to change, maybe explain the whole kerchief thing...

Turned out to be no reason to worry because the first person I saw was Master Dominique. She wrapped me in a big hug and nearly bounced from excitement - "*Her* student was here. Yay!" My little master really is very cute that way. Ah, to be eighteen again. :) My class consists entirely of grey belts. Two are unable to get to this class for logistical reasons - one works, one is just unavailable. The third is not permitted to take mixed classes. I've been busy since getting the grey belt - this was the first free Sunday I had. And I'm her first to take the class. So she was excited. Me, I was relieved. I wasn't a stranger anymore.

I changed into my uniform and kerchief and Master Eric knew enough to ask about my touching rules. I'll spar only with other women and the master (master because it's a professional thing like a doctor.) I'm starting to get very comfortable in that kerchief. I had it on all Friday, for example, because the choice was that or have the door closed on a cool but humid day.

We ran around the dojo. I tried to run as much as I could, but eventually I had to walk. Master Eric walked in to say that I should walk if I needed to walk - to push, but not to the point of pain. This was the right thing to say, as it made me run more than I would have, but not feel guilty when I felt the need to walk.

He called us to line up. I got into my usual position of "lowest". I would love to be in a class with people other than grey belts and higher. Or to teach.

There was some discussion of the purpose of the class. It's...strange. It's a class but what it is is a series of one on one lessons. We do the twenty-four movements,one movement at a time per person. After each movement, he gives an improvement or two to *that* person, and then the next person comes up. We should pay attention to the other improvements but realize that no instruction is for everyone - what is right for one person isn't right for another. Given my physical limitations, that makes sense to me.

So we went over that and the form of the reports and there is minor bookkeeping - our names, our masters, if we have students, how many improvement classes we've taken and how many reports we've written (in my case, if I'd written any.) Then we start the class.

I'm...well, I need improvement, but I'm not terrible, I don't think. He compliments my movements while making minor corrections such as I should keep my toes in and my back straight and what to do on each count and to keep my eyes open. I do make one big mistake. I went out of order with movements. *Sigh*. I'm not the first or the last to do that, but still. *Sigh*.

And then there was one on one sparring and a lesson on how to move in and out of line if called to the front of the room, and I was told to keep my hands in fists for the fighting position.

It was actually a very relaxing class. It wasn't the best workout, but I learned a fair bit, so it's all good.

Meanwhile, because people are telling me I'm smaller, I took a look at my body yesterday - not something I do. And there is a definite change. Where I had deep rolls, they're either shallow or non-existent. I'm amazed. But then, after sixteen months of this, there should be a change, no?

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