Well, it has been a very wet week here in the hills above Cambridge, NZ. The South Island has suffered severe flooding and a state of emergency has been declared in certain areas. However, training continues here.
My instructor, Chris has been overseas and left me to run the classes in his absence. The reality is that only a few of us are left to train while both Chris and Nat are gone so during the week we trained at the Hamilton Dojo and on the Saturdays we trained at the Te Miro Dojo.
I have been thinking about the way we train when Chris is away. We are left to work through our training problems and must rely on our own muscle memory and notes to do the techniques correctly. We have video footage of Threadgill sensei and notes of senior students to look at as well.
One tool we use are the key principles of the Ryu. If what we are doing is not working we return to principles. The more we train, the more we see the principles emerging in different techniques. It is empowering to solve a problem and push through our training on our own. Many times Threadgill sensei has mentioned one point or another and we think we are doing it but we are not. Then we have an epiphany during our training and realise he had been telling us that all along.
We watch our posture and structure a lot. We check the position of our shoulders compared to our hips and elbows. If our shoulders are ahead of our hips, we are often using too much arm force and not letting the lower body provide power. We watch the spine and check to see if we twisting or bending our spine in unhelpful ways. Things like this help us stay true to the training.
I have also enjoyed training over intense cold days (well as intense as it gets in our temperate climate) and very wet ones. There is something invigorating about trudging out to the cold dojo and forcing my limbs to get moving to warm up. Then afterwards feeling the warm glow that only post-training brings. Staying active in the colder months is important for health in my opinion.
The last couple of weeks has been satisfying and affirming of where we are in our training while our teacher is away.