I had an awesome time at karate today. We did go hon, san bon and ippon kumite. My school will do this every day. Along with blindfold training, I think it might really be something. Go hon teaches posture, san bon footwork and ippon eyes. My uke, Gilles, was really coming at me. He tapped me on the face with a backfist and as sempai, I joked about his control. Oops, he said. But I was so happy. It felt like what I'd been looking for.
Then we did some juniko where my uke, Nicole, asked me if she hurt me. I told her not to ask me that. Then she just went at it. Good technique. She's has a sharp mind, engaged with what should work and what shouldn't. She threw me once and I pulled her down off-balance from the mat and she said that she was going easy on me. And I told her not to do that. She smiled and stopped going easy on me.
After class, Sensei put a returning student, Helen, with me and told me to teach her Bassai. It was slow going. But it was so satisfying. I could see her mind at work, trying to put the footwork, sequence and technique together. And I was surprised and humbled by how much I actually knew, how much I had to give. She said, "You're instruction is excellent, I just need to practice this a lot." What a thing to say to someone! I felt honoured.
I think I might be onto something with this dojo idea. I think I've actually figured out what my heart wants. If every class was like yesterday's class, I could do karate every day forever and never complain. Gilles, Nicole and Helen taught me an important lesson - one that I kinda knew but was made resoundingly clear. A dojo isn't about a place. It's about people. It's about trust. It's about love A dojo is about going somewhere together.