I went back to my Bujikan Budo Taijustsu class for the first time in more than 18 months on Wednesday night, and it was fabulous. I’ve been out for so long because of two injuries (one from class, one not), and inertia.

In some ways, I feel like a total beginner again: I’m fat, weak, and inflexible. My combat endurance can probably be measured by a double handful of seconds with a couple fingers left over. In other ways, it’s like I never left: The Sanshin No Kata flowed like always, and I was picking up a tiny bit of my uke’s intentions during waza.

In short, it was a sweet homecoming. But now, the work truly begins. In my time off, I internalized a little something: This is my journey, and I’m driving the bus. That’s cool, because I get to choose my course, but I’m also the mechanic, the porter, and the gas boy, at the very least. So while I get to pick my scenery, I also have to do the work.

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