It was just an ordinary roll, on the tatami mats as in with any other warm up prior to the proper training session, OR so I thought.
We arrived at our first training grounds on Saturday morning, through the infamous Jakarta macet and heavy rain from Bintaro to Depok, where the Universitas.Indonesia is. Our first training session with Sensei-H was scheduled to be with the aikido/societ.y.of-The.Nation/al.Universi-ty.of/Indonesia. The ‘murids‘ there are not only undergrads and postgrads from the university, but also members of their alumni and also working adults living around Depok.
Their training ground is not in a proper dojo, but at the student activity centre, a large open hall. For training, they simply lay out the tatami mats. During warm up, we had to do our rolls towards the other end of the mats and back. That was when the accident happened. I rolled forward and I didn’t realise that my mister, who had rolled faster and was rolling back, rolled into my direction–without him realising it. And so my head collided with his knee in a backward ukemi. The impact of the knee swung into my head in a full force was so blur upon me. I remember a sudden sharp pain. I remember collapsing while clutching my head. I remember Sensei-H came running towards us saying something about it being a very hard impact blah blah. Then I couldn’t remember anything else because it was all so blur. And painful.
Anyway, I think I was on adrenaline rush because I remembered that when I was asked to sit out for a while, I told them (my mister and Sensei-H) no, I wanted to train. In my mind, I came all the way here not to nurse a headache by sitting on the sideline. Sensei-H said it was a concussion and so I needed to see if I was ok before I resumed training. I told him I was ok. And so I trained. At that moment, the pain and the whole after effect of the concussion had not settled down on me yet.
My first sparring partner was a Japanese man. In all of his typical Japanese look, spotting a ‘tocang’ ala Kitaro. Maybe in his late 30s. Ok so, him being a Japanese and me being NOT able to speak Japanese means it is a universal understanding that we use English, right? I mean, that’s what we always assume right? That English is the global lingua franca? So I spoke to him in English. To which he either grunted or nodded or shook his head in response. Ok. So he may be one of those Japanese men who don’t speak much, like how I always watch in Samurai films. And so I thought.
In a while, he stopped the shuwariwaza kokyoho technique which we were doing, threw up his hands into the air in exasperation, looked at me straight in the eyes– in what I thought of as a combination of curiosity and frustrations and asked me this, “Kamu sememangnya sama sekali tidak mengerti atau tidak bisa berbicara dalam Bahasa Indonesia ya?”
You know in cartoons, when the characters have thought bubbles? If I’ve had thought bubbles at that moment, mine would read something like ‘ Sh*t! OMG.. Malunyeee akuuuuu!! Kan dah kena splattttt’
With what the Malays say, ‘muka sardin’, I replied ‘Oh bisa! Bisa.. bisa ngerti dan bisa bicara!’ To which he smiled and then began talking instead of just grunting/nodding/shaking his head and explained to me the techniques in full and almost perfect I should say, Bahasa Indonesia. So he was not quiet. He was not sullen as a Samurai image I conjured up in my hyperactive mind. He just simply refused to communicate in English because he is in Indonesia.
Anyway, by the end of that training session, I felt quite an intense vibrating sensation in my head and when I touched the part where I was accidently knocked by the husband’s knee, I felt that there was like an egg-like bump there. Alamak.. benjol telur sey… and sakit pulak tu. But mind over matter, I psyched myself to just bear with it till I get panadol extra later.
We got to know the other students after training, especially that Japanese man who bruised my linguistic ego earlier on. We learnt that he is a marketing manager for a Japanese company for Indonesian products and have been living in Indonesia for 4 years and where he was from in Japan etc. We found this all out while my husband, myself and him hang around for a bit talking—all in Bahasa Indonesia, mind you. No less ya pak….!