After

I arrived in Strasbourg on Friday already deliciously tired from having spend thursday in the company of a friend doing a whole lot of nothing….  These moments are the richness of my Aikido experience, they happen on the tatami and they happen off the tatami.

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After Labaroche, after Quarteira, after Strasbourg. Here, now.

Blogging has been light for the past weeks, even months. I say light and I say blogging. Not that it is new but I keep on being humbled by life itself every and each day.

I arrived in Strasbourg on Friday already deliciously tired from having spent thursday in the company of a friend doing a whole lot of nothing. That is, doing that indescribable dabble babble of taking in the wonders of a flowering garden and unconscientiousness, listening for the silence and making time disappear altogether. I could barely wait to enter the garden of the dojo in Strasbourg. It is Spring and the irises are in bloom. Last year I had wanted to go see those very irises and their blossoms, but so it was that that was not to be. This year the tenth anniversary celebration of the dojo coincided with the irises being in bloom. My wish was fulfilled, and my surprise completed when I was offered such a beautiful blossom with a smile and no expectations by that one who tends the garden and is among my teachers. After ten aikido training sessions with different teachers we sat down to a bit of chit-chat and a buffet of salads and grilled goodies.

On returning home a friend asks me what it is that I get from these martial arts weekends. The question surprised me and it was not that I have not asked myself the very same question before. I suppose that all my non-aikido-practising friends have heard much babble about sore muscles, being exhausted and taken to the limits. It is thus natural that they wonder what it is that has me returning. Does it activate me or does it drain me?

For me aikido is always enriching. Energy gets to flow, a lot of cobwebs get removed, I experience myself in conflicts that albeit “artificial” are also very real. I always learn a lot about myself. I come home invigorated and lighter.  Afterwards I am deliciously tired, refreshed and invigorated.

On this particular occasion there were many moments that particularly touched me. These moments are the richness of my Aikido experience, they happen on the tatami and they happen off the tatami. Aikido is a living art, it is the art of the beings that practice it. For me that is what it is.
One of these special moments was when Gabriel Sensie held a little speech about the anniversary of his dojo. He said absolutely nothing brilliant and truly authentic. The ten years of his dojo have been emotionally and spiritually taxing and he thanked those who had the balls to follow him on this path, in particular Danièle who did so without hesitation. There is beauty in simplicity, and great wisdom in authenticity.
Before the celebration party we had a zen ceremony lead by Shokan Marcel Urech who gave us a few straight words about Zen, Zazen and Aikido. From what I gleaned of it, it goes like this: If you want to know what Zazen is, do it. Really, that is all. If you want to know what Aikido is, do it. If you want to known what Zazen has to do with Aikido, do it.

If you want to know what reboot is, do it. Back to work I am! I have been doing quite a lot of thinking, wondering and wandering into what it is that I am doing later on this week at reboot, now it is time to pour it into writing.

I have no clue as to whether my light blogging will experience an increased flow. I like how things are shaping up even when I am constantly being humbled, be it by each throw of my partner in Aikido, be it by each surprise in life off the tatami.

UPDATE (15.09.2006): A few of the links were dead links as some of the photos have been removed from the external site to which I was linking to and have been removed.

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One thought on “After”

  1. hi there.. wandering a bit around wirdpress following my favourite tag: aikido!
    interesting blog!
    and always good to know about dojos around, especially in places where i might be travelling to.. or close by!
    cheers!!
    andy

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