Last night I went back to jujitsu for the first time this year. That was weird. Not so much missing a whole year's training – the dojo has been shut for most of 2020 because of the Vid. It reopened a while ago, but first I had a cold so I couldn't go in, and then I had a back injury and then I ran out of excuses.
What was weird was having such close contact with other human beings. We just don't do that anymore. It was only senior belts last night, and not many of them. About half a dozen of us, all up. Sensei Darren was instructing, which is always a tough night. And he brought in his weapons kit, which should have made it tougher, except that I've spent a lot of the pandemic working on my tonfa technique so at least I had that. We only switched to our personal weapons preferences at the end of the night, however, so most of the time I was training with a weightlifter called Dan on close-in knife work.
I was rubbish.
I probably died about 20 or 30 times.
Normally I only die two or three times but if you're not constantly training, the skills do degrade. I also felt the pain a lot more. When you’re on the mat three or four times a week, you absorb a lot of pain. But unless you do something really stupid, like breaking your arm, you get used to that constant discomfort.
It could be discouraging. Hell, it is discouraging. But such is life. And so I bend myself back to the wheel of the art.
It still feels weird to get right up close with other human beings, though.