It was the last aikido class before Christmas, the last class of 2008. The kids worked hard and had fun, most of them for the full hour and three-quarters. At the end of class Sensei spoke about his pride and gratitude in helping these students learn and in learning from them. Then each of the students spoke about what they had learned and enjoyed about aikido during the year.
Then after a last "domo arigato gozaimashita" the kids went off to get changed and have a holiday snack to celebrate. It is very cold here right now, and so the masonry woodstove in the basement had been stoked. As a special treat Sensei lifted the special mat that reveals a little trap-door hole that looks down directly over the basement stove. The kids dangled their cold feet down the toasty hole and had a lovely time.