I had a mixed reaction -- not to this particular class, which was very welcoming and went to pains to make it manageable for the newbie. But just in general with hating not being competent at things. I was really happy during the warm-up stretches and such, which a) felt good, and b) I could do reasonably well and pick up quickly. Legacy of years of dance classes, occasional yoga, and those three months of karate in college, I guess.
But then we moved into the actual aikido moves, which they took pains to explain slowly and carefully, and I'm sure I wasn't worse than any other beginner, but still. I was slow, and confused, and did things wrong over and over again. I hesitated to do things that might hurt people, even though that was kind of the point of the exercise. I couldn't bring myself to shout hai! I'm particularly bad with my feet, it seems -- I keep picking them up instead of sliding them, and lifting up on the ball of my foot with my back leg, instead of keeping that foot planted. I think part of this is my dance training actually getting in the way -- so much of those beginner dance classes were aimed towards lift, towards air. Whereas here, I think staying grounded may be more the aim.
I can learn these things, of course. It was a one hour initial class -- no one expects me to be magically good at any of it right way. No one but me, that is. And this is where being the bright kid in the class fails me, because it is so tempting, always, to just stop doing anything I'm not easily and automatically good at. That habit, learned in grammar school, got me into big trouble in college. It's why I flunked calculus -- not that I couldn't learn it, but that when it wasn't easy, I stopped trying. And in general, I didn't study in college, so my grades are unsurprisingly skewed -- A's in English and anything else that came easily. Mostly C's in everything else.
I learned (somewhat) better eventually, in grad school. I learned how to study, at age 30. I just wish I didn't have to learn that lesson over and over and over again.
The next step at this dojo would be to sign up for six beginner lessons, for $65, which seems like a reasonable price. The regular sensei will be back for Monday's class, which is unfortunately at the same time as the stitch-and-bitch at Buzz, so I might or might not get to that one. But I think I may try the six class beginner sequence. Because when I did the third move right, and got to force our sensei down, to the floor, and lead him into a roll -- it felt great. I burst out laughing, and everyone else laughed with me. Because it was surprising, and also delightful, to have it actually work. Does that make sense?