Today was the first day of aikido lessons for my sister and I. We're taking them at a small organic farm a couple of towns over, the classes are taught by someone who used to teach aikido to US special forces, and the training is focused on real-world application of the techniques.

It was a lot of fun. My knees are sore and scraped, and my sister's hip is bruised, but we both had a good time. I was exhausted by the end of it. The training begins with about a half-hour of zazen, followed by some chanting and stretching exercises.

There are only three other students present besides my sister and I, and two of them seemed to be relatively new at this as well. My sister took several years of Karate, and I took several years of Judo, but years of disuse lead to us having to relearn things like how to fall correctly.

Both of us have some difficulty with spacial relationships and reasoning, so this (which is more complex than either judo or karate) was challenging, but the techniques that are taught are a lot of fun.

There are a lot of similarities between aikido and Go, at least it seems that way after one lesson. Students are taught the correct way to execute aikido maneuvers, and the "practice dummy" of the pair (since the person who is attacking isn't doing aikido, which has no offensive moves) is taught what the "best response" is to prevent injury and optimize the outcome for both parties. "Turn your head the other way, that way if you're struck you at least live to fight another day", the instructor said at some point.

My air conditioner is installed and humming along at a comfortable 64 degrees Fahrenheit, my ultra-high thread count sheets are freshly washed and drawn, I'm pleasantly exhausted and have two more aikido lessons this week.

There's only one thing missing....

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