well, I guess going to dojo is working out pretty well so far... the guys there are nudging me to work harder so I can get to the next rank (in this case, green belt). I'm pretty happy to hear that--it's encouraging to know that if I work hard enough I can do it ^^ Though this is going to mean not landing on my wrists during falls anymore... and a host of other things, too. Though I think the bruises will be worth it.
Yesterday, we went to sword class and were surprised to find folks there to practice with! One of the black-belts (D.) is just getting into sword, and the other we normally practice with has bad joints, so bad enough weather means he might not show, but he did. J. (dojo leader) also was there, and we practiced some new kata from a friend who trains in Japan in a different sword style than we normally do.
Maybe I should explain what I mean when I say "sword class". When we do 'sword', we are practicing kenjutsu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenjutsu), which is using a katana (full-size curved Japanese sword, often called "samurai swords") to cut and stab at imaginary opponents. Other flavors of this include iaido, the art of drawing smoothly, and iaijutsu. The difference between a -do and a -jutsu practice is that "do" translates to "way" or "path", and is more an art form that arose from the practical dispatching of enemies that a -jutsu more closely resembles.
Confused yet? ;)
Anyway, we put on hakama (http://web.mit.edu/jpnet/kimono/gifs/man-hakama.gif), which in this picture are the stripey pants (ours are black). Yes, they are pants--heavily pleated and wide-legged, and then the sword goes under the obi (wide belt) worn just underneath. The swords we use are usually iai (hence iai-do and iai-jutsu), which are blunted katana used for practice. Sometimes folks bring their cutting blades to practice on sheets of paper, but that's not very often.
On a related note, I suspect Tyr has been poking at me lately.
In addition to increased martial arts practice, things have come to a point where I have a court hearing soon: hopefully I can convince the judge that there's sufficient evidence to warrant the restraining order I applied for a couple weeks ago. I won't get into too much detail here, but with the combination of justice and martial aspects increasing in my life... I need His help.
And in order to get that, I need to develop a better relationship with Him. I really haven't had much of one with Him in the past, but I think maybe They think I'm ready for one. Considering that in the past I mostly revere the Vanir--Nerthus, Njord, Freyr, Freyja, Heimdall--this marks a big change in my life.
I've always thought of the Vanir as more earthy, primal, and defensive Gods, while the Aesir are more closely related to society and human things, like law, war, marriage, and all the ties of relationships (be they business, friends, enemies, colleagues, etc.). So I guess I'm growing up, as I become introduced to and better able to handle such adult tasks as conducting my own legal affairs and graduating from college and getting the proverbial "real" job.
This too hurts, though--going through such messy things as getting a restraining order instead of being able to resolve the issue peacefully and leaving my childhood behind for good in a way... it's hard to let go. Yet as this all happens, I'm finding that my potential is shining through and that dangit, I'm *capable*. These challenges are what I need to grow (there's Nauthiz again!) and realize my limits as I do.