My Old Sensei always used to say, "Don't compare." I need to remember that tonight.
We were doing a lot of kicks tonight. I was substituting gentle knee kicks, which ironically don't hurt my knee, for all other kicks with my left leg--or any roundhouse kick. I felt slow and awkward in my combinations. My knee brace was alright, but slipping a bit by the end of class.
I was paired up tonight with another brown belt, one I haven't met before. He looks to also be middle aged, but younger than me. He was quite smooth and fast in the kicking combinations.
I was able to do "spinning" back kicks, but with me it was more a "stepping back kick," I don't want to spin on my knee.
Then we worked on defenses against the single-hand choke--something I haven't done in six or seven months, since before my ACL operation--and of course I was awkward.
At the end, we did extra crunches and push-ups--I don't know how many, because my New Sensei was drawing cards from a deck and calling them out numbers. If the numbers were below 6, he doubled them. As we were getting close to the end, my form in the push-ups was awful.
As I was on the way out, New Sensei asked me how it was going. I said well, but I felt slow. He said to consider my classes now simply stepping stones, and to take it at my own pace. In other words: Don't compare.