April 1st is no joke at Mugenjuku

I am writing this post at 8pm on April 1st.  I was going to write earlier, but I fell asleep after our first day of training.  I lay down for “just a minute” and the next thing I knew it was several hours later and I was shaking with chills.

Our day started at 7:30AM (Kyoto is 13 hours ahead of EST, so it was 6:30PM in New York on March 31).  A little cleaning of the dojo, then two training sessions, a lunch break, and a third training session.  Finished by 2:00PM.

Training today consisted of some circuit training exercises, as well as practice on following commands, producing kiai, sitting in seiza properly, and moving in shakko-ho.  All easier said than done.  The conditioning class ended with some rounds of modified burpees.

A burpee is when you quickly drop from standing into a push up position, do a push-up, then pull your knees into your chest and jump into the air. A modified burpee is when you start with backward ukemi and go into the push-up position as soon as you regain your footing. The first two or three are sort of fun, then all of a sudden you desperately want to stop… but you can’t.

Although physical exercise is difficult, especially when you are fat and old like me, the memory strangely fades into the background when you stop.  But there were psychological stresses today, too, and those are what tend to stay with you.

First, there is the fact that you never know how many of something you are going to do. In CrossFit, you design a workout or get one from the trainer, so you know you have to do, say, 20 burpees. In kenshusei, maybe you have to do burpees for the rest of the class (everyone knows about 1000-sit-up day for example). You never know. That is a huge stress on you the whole time.

Second, you are asked to breath through your nose. For me, this is extremely difficult. It feels like you just can’t get enough air, like you’re just moving snot around inside your nostrils, but not actually getting to fill your lungs.

Third, after a while, you just aren’t doing anything correctly anymore.  Last class ended with continuous breakfalls, and I could swear that for some of them, I was just face-planting into the mat and falling over.

All things considered, an embarrassing performance today, but I get to try to do it better tomorrow.




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