Sunday, June 13, 2010

aikido, soccer, beer, nachos

After going to bed at 2 A.M. after the birthday party, yesterday I woke up and got myself (late) to the bus station to go to Santiago for the day, to visit Aikido Hakusan again, and then meet up with Steve (who lives in my house), Field Director Allyson, and Jessie, a volunteer from last year.

We watched the England vs. U.S. World Cup game at California Cantina, seemingly along with every white person in Santiago. There were a bunch of families with young kids, and hordes of high school and college-age kids. Who the hell are these people? Foreign exchange students, expats and their children?

The game was all right. The American goal came from the English goalie screwing up and not getting a good grip. The sheer awesomeness of our goalie is the only reason we didn't lose 8-1: the U.S. was on hard-pressed defense for about 2/3 of the game. Supposedly we took 12 shots to England's 18, but that doesn't count the ball being in our end of the field most of the time. It was sad.

Then we ate pizza, then coffee and chocolate cake, and then I rested at their apartment for a little bit before heading back and walking into the house at around 11 P.M.

Oh, but the aikido. I love aikido. I haven't trained since the bad dojo experience in April, and I think I lost track of how much I missed it, until I went back to Aikido Hakusan. The people train with joy, and I got to be a black belt again, and play with people, and help people and learn from people. I got to do that unspoken "I'm messing with you" thing that we do, which takes on an extra-special flavor among people with more experience. The head teacher, Manuel Ruiz, is awesome, and because the dojo is in the lineage of Yoshinobu Takeda, he knows Jane and Neville from Aikido West, I guess from training together in Japan.

I don't really have the words for it. It was perfect, and hopefully I can go back a couple times a month.

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