It’s kind of funny how every trip, the first 4 or so days just seem to go on and on. Getting so much done, and it feels like the trip will last forever. Then suddenly, the end of my time is looming…. This trip, it probably had a lot to do with the intensity of the weekend. Three training days in a row, and especially with that late night.

Everyone new to this art gets excited at the beginning. Focusing on the patterns they are learning, and feeling confident in their new-found knowledge. I wasn’t immune to that when I started out. And I’m certainly not the only one. I smile now to see reminders posted by people I know (and people I don’t) in response to those who think they’ve found the end at the beginning of the road.

The words may vary, but the concept is the same — It’s not the patterns, stupid….

And it’s not a devil in the details, it’s the Heart. At some point the depth of Kinbaku opens to a student like walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon, and seeing the vastness of it for the first time. That vista is intimidating, and exciting.
And then it becomes work again. At least it has for me. It’s the music within the music. The subtle, living, breathing details…..

I made some music through my first four sessions. But Sunday training wasn’t my shining hour. I was missing my marks, feeling confused, and not well-engaged. Pretty sure that was mostly from being tired. And Sensei was tired too. He snapped at me some. My frustration fueled even more mis-steps. And his frustration was evident as well. In other words, we’ve definitely been in a more-positive sync than that session.
Still, it wasn’t without merit. Struggle can teach a lot – maybe not as much as success – but it teaches.

One sharp reminder for me in this, is Muganawa. One of the precepts of Osada Ryu. Sometimes, getting the fuck out of my own way is really, really hard.

Yesterday, Day 9, I spent a lot of time recentering, reviewing everything I’ve learned. And taking a nap. Sensei and I had a meeting last evening with a couple people about something that may or may not happen in the Spring. A lot of good conversation, a particularly good meal (including a wonderful paste made from Yuzu and chili-pepper) – the intention of which was basically me being introduced to them. The meeting went well enough. And has gained me the opportunity for quite a special training tomorrow.
Yeah, I know – that’s a lot of words around something not at all well explained. Basically, I need to see how this goes. Where it takes me. And whether or not I am granted the opportunity, just being considered is pretty humbling and exciting. More to come on that….

And today – well, it’s actually the evening of Day 10 now. I took the day to walk the city. Shopped a little more for Christmas presents. Got out of my head, and let the day lead me on a no-pressure walkabout…

It was much cooler again today. Overcast and breezy. In some ways kind of refreshing. In others rather imposing. I was looking forward to a bath to help take away the chill, but sento was closed for some reason. I guess a basin-bath will have to do. It’s raining a little now too. I haven’t had to use my umbrella on this trip. We’ll see what it’s like when I head out to dinner.

So – I need to wash, and get something to eat. I’ll observe some of K’s lesson tonight, and have date to tie….