Martial arts have been a major part of my life. I moved to Ohio in 1994 to train in a relatively obscure martial art. My mother had a cancer relapse in 1995, so I moved back to Mobile. I moved to to Atlanta in mid-1996, because it was almost halfway between my wife's parents and my family, there were jobs to be had- and I could train. I trained in two dojos in the Atlanta area until I enlisted in the Army in late 2001.
At Fort Lewis, I was fortunate enough to find a 5th-degree black belt in my art, and trained with him for several months. I've trained here and there with interested novices, but haven't had any formal instruction in at least seven years. A few months after I moved to the area, I thought of looking up Bujinkan dojos in the area. Lo and behold, there are many. I tried to visit the closest THREE TIMES.
The first time, somehow the wrong zip code was attached to the address I typed into Google Maps, which had me wandering around at least 10 miles away from where I needed to be. The second time, I missed, retraced, called, re-missed- and finally found the complex I was looking for about when training ended. The third time, the weather wasn't great, and I found the complex in time- then spent 45 minutes or so wandering around on foot, looking for the group. No dice. I gave up in disgust after that third time, thinking that maybe it wasn't meant to be.
I've been training with one of the officers from my new unit. He wants to improve his hand-to-hand skills, so we've been meeting once a week while I teach him a simplified curriculum of things like chokes, breakfalls, and punches. Before we started training, I'd begun thinking that I should probably give the DC dojo another try, now that I was getting more familiar with the area. When my trainee asked if we could visit the local dojo, it seemed serendipitous. I checked the schedule again, and sure enough, classes meet on Mondays- which I usually have free.
My training partner told me we could park on the base on which I work. And finding the group of martial artists practicing on the lawn, from the direction we walked, couldn't have been much easier. I participated in the belt training the class was having, and it was a good review. I'm a little rusty, and I especially need to work on my Japanese terms, but if I can get to class regularly, I wouldn't be surprised if I can get my black belt in less than a year. Finally.
And hopefully, I'll be back in fighting trim soon, because right now, my back and thighs feel like they've been worked over with a bat. But I can deal with it. :-)