Right now in Japan, we are in the thick of the rainy season, and less people have been showing up to aikido. Everyday is very very warm, usually partly overcast, a little rainy every day, and extremely humid. The best adjective I can think of for the weather now is “thick”. I’ve never sweat as much as my entire life as I do at aikido these days, and training could be considered a little less than comfortable. Is this the reason for the lack of people showing up lately? I couldn’t say for sure, all I’m doing is putting two and two together. Perhaps this is the counterbalance to infrequent deep winter training. I’ll never forget my very first day going to aikido: January 7th in the deepest snow that Kurobe saw this winter. I walked for 40 minutes through the knee high snow, to find only the sensei warming up. We tried to talk about aikido concepts, he called the next senior member who showed up late, and showed some stuff. After that for a couple weeks, it was maybe 6 people at the most. Usually about 10 to 15 come to training. However, I am no stranger to seasonal trends of martial arts. In northwest Washington, I noticed both in my Kenpo dojo and Shima dojo, members were equally infrequent in deep winter months as well as high summer months. I’m not one to judge those who’s participation is determined by the seasons, but those martial artists I’ve always looked up to most are those that show up no matter what. Also, I find great satisfaction in looking back at the myriad of weather I’ve shown up to class through. One of those things that helps let you know what is a “good” or “bad” practice day.
Anyway, tonight there were few people, but they were all the best and my favorite, and practice seemed to be a little clearer tonight. Again, I’m thankful to my wonderful seniors in class, who don’t seem to mind dealing with the sweaty white belt gaijin.