off the cuff: discovery

I am starting to suspect that Aikido is not a martial art, it is a living and breathing art of the martial people that practice the discipline.Every year the members of Birankai and other aikidoka get invited to the spring training retreat in the Alsace country side in the Vosges….  I returned home from one of these retreats this afternoon totally drunk, delightfully drunk with a world of possibility that may have nothing to do with Aikido.May 9, 2006Being in the Algarve again was both heaven and hell.

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After Labaroche on April 23 I wrote a few sentences and saved the draft:

It is good to return home drunk with possibility. Possibly returning home means returning to me, to being alone, and to the seven corners of my life. Returning from a one week long intensive training in aikido with a bag full of dirty gis (a “gi” is the attire used in practice and that sometimes also gets referred to as kimono but which is not really one). Aside from the laundry logistics of training there are the wonderful people through whom Aikido lives. I love all those with whom I get a chance to practice aikido including those who irritate me with what in my judgement are silly power games and plain stupidity. really, I do love them all. I am starting to suspect that Aikido is not a martial art, it is a living and breathing art of the martial people that practice the discipline.

Every year the members of Birankai and other aikidoka get invited to the spring training retreat in the Alsace country side in the Vosges. The Aikikai of Strasbourg takes the lead in the organization and then we all meet for a grand total of 33 training sessions of one hour and 7 matinal zazen sessions. It may be or not for the weak hearted, it certainly is not for those eschewing discipline. I returned home from one of these retreats this afternoon totally drunk, delightfully drunk with a world of possibility that may have nothing to do with Aikido.

May 9, 2006:
Being in the Algarve again was both heaven and hell.

The heaven part had to do with being in Quarteira, morning walks along the beach to Vale do Lobo, wonderfully fresh fish, great Vinho Verde, and the love of some very dear family members and friends.

The hell part is a bit rougher on my narrative. At this point I really do not know how to begin telling that part of what were two weeks that went much too quickly, yet seemed to never end. Finally feeling safe and at ease in my modest den in Berne, I had one frightening nightmare. Let me tell you about the nightmare. In this nightmare-dream I found myself cuddling my son somewhere around a pool and where many people were present. We had to be there for some reason, we could not leave, it was a show that we had to watch. At one point the show involves human sacrifice practiced by pumping the blood out of a living human being and having another one drink it. I could not watch and made sure that my small son would also not watch, all I could hear was how some oversized metallic syringe was being used to pump the blood out of the person. When it was over I looked over and saw the pumped out now dead man laying on a hospital-like bed and the one who drank his blood smiling. I woke up in horror. Strangely enough this was the symbolic nature of the hell that I experienced last week.

Fortunately for me, the heaven far outweighed the hell part of the two weeks. The week in Labaroche was good preparation for all of these experiences. Now I am gearing up to work and prepare for reboot. There is much to discover.

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