Summer Update

Birankai Continental Europe Summer Camp 2008

I finally uploaded the few pics that I made in Uzès, and mailed the official group photos to Yves Lepoivre for some serious editing as it seems that I either train or take photos, but seem unable to multitask these two activities.

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Yes there is a site named “upcoming” and it belong to yahoo, but other than true geeks and sandbox players nobody really uses it in real life. Go figure. What is real life, you ask. Still trying to figure out that one, but having a ball!

Now, this Sunday is Aikido Sunday with Barbara Imboden Shidoin, Birankai, in Bern. It starts at 9:30.

And the Summer Camp in Uzès is July 19-25.

Will I be there? Inshallah!

I do not even know at this point if I will make it to reboot 10 this year.


DSC 5921I summarise the 2008 Birankai Spring Camp in Labaroche in one word: stress. It was my fourth year, and as every preceding year, it was different from all others. Three of us travelled for two hours from Berne to Labaroche on Saturday the 12th and returned on the 19th. In between I must confess that I delighted in stress and all its bodily sensations! I sat out the third class on Tuesday morning and took some pictures of Rikko Varjan Sensei’s class.

Every morning I got up at 6 and was in Zazen by 6:30 warmly wrapped in a few layers of cotton sitting on a Zafu, and every day at some point I got nauseated while sitting. Really, I literally felt like throwing up and vomiting while sitting. The great thing about Zazen is that it is a perfect opportunity to postpone. Everyday I postponed giving in to that urge to vomit by making a conscious effort to breathe from deep down that place that is often referred to as hara. Aikido and Zazen go together better than one can imagine, especially if one has never tried either. One is moving, the other is sitting, and both are active, very active. What one trains in either case has to do with hara, or what we call the centre or the lower chakra, or rather what I would call my gut. We all know the idiomatic expressions around gut from “having no guts” to “feeling it in my guts” or that all too familiar “gut feeling” however the expression lacks all the mystical and mysterious connotations that a word like hara or chakra can awaken in the seeking mind and searching spirit. There is nothing romantic about training one’s gut and getting it connected to the rest of one’s existence, yet that is exactly what it boils down to, and it starts with learning to breathe.

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