Yesterday evening, after voting, I took my first trip back to the dojo since my ankle injury. There is a small exercise room in the back of the building, and I spent half an hour doing stretching and balancing exercises, walking briskly on the treadmill, and using the stationary bike. It did feel good to be somewhat more active again.
I talked with several of my fellow aikidoka, who asked how I was doing and wishing me well. I very briefly looked in on a class, nearly at capacity, and watched people tumble, heard the resounding slaps on the mat.
At this stage, I realize that getting to full recovery to where I can practice aikido once again is more mental than physical. It’s more about being sure and confident in my movements. Once I’m able to jog without pain, I need to do conscious, deliberate practice on rolls– small ones backward and forward, large ones walking, hopping, and running into them. Relearn the footwork as if I’m starting anew.
I don’t want to rush into things, although I really miss being on the mat. My ankle feels stronger and more stable every day, though, so I am hopeful I’ll be back in the swing of things soon.