Filip - who is involved in a variety of different martial arts disciplines - left the boundaries of Aikido in this seminar, getting closer to the essence of budo. He set out to explore what he called "surfing the waves": when you are mounting a surf board, you are dealing with your own physical and mental disposition on the one hand (keep breathing calmly and deeply, stay focused, keep your tension), and with the rather unpredictable impact the waves have on your journey, able to give you a phantastic ride but also crush you the very next second (stay flexible, respond adequately, accept failure). Though this metaphor was drawn from this great pastime at his present home in Auckland, NZ, it can be applied to budo easily.
Filip announced right at the beginning that he was not going to give us any answers,
but rather share his questions with us. And given that we had a wide range of experience present - from a first-timer up to a 6th dan - there was a lot of room for exploration. All the more so as the tasks were equally unusual for people at both ends of the experience scale, like the "living carpet" where you had to keep moving flat on the ground in a confined space with hardly enough room to move a hand or foot while somebody was "surfing" the carpet.
And then, there were the "zombie wars", a kind of exaggerated randori where everybody was coming at you with outstretched hands and you had to wiggle your way out of the situation before they could bring you down. In this exercise - apart from it being very demanding - the faces brightened visibly, and when we were done with it everybody was puffing and smiling simultaneously. "Aikido makes people happy" is one of my favourite quotes, expressing the joy that the exchange with other people brings if they are all enthusiastic, curious and playful in their research of martial arts.
There was a lot more on the agenda worth mentioning - such as various Kashima Shin Ryu
sword katas developed from wave movements -, but the essence for me was the joyful exploration of what happens if you start thinking outside the box of fixed forms.
Thank you for sharing your questions Filip!
Klaus Messlinger, Aikido Dojo Oberursel"
(More, non-highspeedcamera, photos on the Media page)