Shadows and hidden potential: the Nomad Seminar

From November 22nd to 24th, the seventh Aiki Nomad Seminar took place in Uster, in the suburbs of Zurich (CH), which developed a three-days path on the topic of the hidden potential that lies somewhere in each of us.

However, let’s spend a few words on the Nomad Seminar first. This year took place the seventh edition; it is a format designed and guided by professional Aikido teachers (that is, those whose life is dedicated to the practice and teaching), inside the Evolutionary Aikido Community of which our Dojo is a part.

Nomad because the original idea was that, every year, the seminar should be held at one of the teachers’ Dojos.

This year, therefore, it was the turn of Aikido Unlimited, the Dojo of Peter Frankhauser and Julia Geissberger in Uster, to host the event.

The Nomad Seminar is a unique event of its kind in the year of practice, and we love it so much.

We can say that in those days we live a very deep experience, fruit of the great understanding between instructors, of their didactic and technical mastery and of their ability to make manifest, through exercises which are also innovative, concepts and substances otherwise very difficult to “handle”.

It is also one of the moments in which during the year it is most tangible that our senseis actually care about our 360 degrees growth.

The Nomad Seminar is not a merely technical training event. The techniques are the tools of expression and investigation, not the purpose of the seminar. Despite that, it is not an event that you can live in an easy way. At the opposite, maybe because of the effort to stay focused on the theme, it is one of the most challenging moments of the year, and in the end the keikogi is soggy, breath is getting short and, why not?, some tears can furrow the face.

This year the theme was precisely the hidden potential

It is a very vast topic in itself. And it is also slippery. About self-empowerment, everything has been written and said and many, too many people, often with little or no competence, said almost everything. Often, producing subtle damages.

Our instructors have chosen an intelligent approach. Taking up some of the ideas developed in the previous editions, they proposed a technical experiential journey approaching our shadows. Embodied by our mates, who physically came into contact with us with their energy, our shadows are part of us, often unconsciously.

The study of the reaction and the relation to this kind of energy leads us to consider how many aspects of us we do not know, how many of them we repress, perhaps shameful, how many fears tremble in the unconscious, how many instabilities we carry with us.

With a more careful analysis, we come to see that in the same way, golden shadows live in us. Talents of which we have little or no perception, resources … Hidden potentials, precisely.

We were facilitated by Durward Burrell and Marco Rubatto to write down the sensations, inspirations and assessments that we mutually formulated by evaluating the practice of our mates in a notebook. It is interesting to observe how the interpolation of the received judgments can help us to know areas of shadow or light that are evident to everyone… except us!

Conversely, it is equally interesting to observe how often in giving an assessment we are actually talking to and about us.

Who knows, maybe it’s true that there are no positive or negative shadows but only parts of us that emerge from a deep and unexplored area. Perhaps it is true that by allowing our unexplored areas to express themselves only from time to time, what comes out of it is something suffocated and often dirty, angry, lonely, divisive.

However, it is certainly true that we are all responsible for discovering our true nature and identity. The metaphor of a caged animal that lives in the deepest parts of our being gives a good idea. Learning to manage the release in freedom of our deepest part is a matter that requires time, sensitivity, the help of serious and loving guides and the desire not to be deceived and self misleaded or self misguiding.

It is equally true that almost all spiritual traditions have always spoken of a manifest level, a hidden level, a divine level. With the same language, Aikido aims to be a tool to try, using the metaphor of Marco Rubatto, to continually flip the iceberg we are, so we put the hidden part in the light of the sun and submerge the manifest part.

We firmly believe that even through this path we can get to experience that divine spark that unites us, which allows us to recognize ourselves in the other, beyond the barriers of language, culture and creed.

Incidentally, it is in this coincidence of universal perspective that we feel our roots and our Christian beliefs resound as we share in Aikido: although we are aware of the differences in perspectives and aims of a Martial Art and of the religion we profess, rarely we have found such a powerful tool available for the growth of the individual elsewhere.

And this is it what makes so unique the Nomad Seminar: there, we feel as one, as brothers and sisters walking on the same path toward the very same goal.

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