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The day began with a chaotic bang. We had a meeting shortly after breakfast hurriedly discussing the seminar itinerary. The meeting never came to fruition, however: we were interrupted by a mixed contingent of 11 Jordanian's and Iraqi's, who came early. This was unfortunate, as we were not quite finished with assigning rooms (by the time this seminar is over, I will have checked into three separate hotels, all within one block of each other). It was good to finally meet Ala'a in person. Three years' ago, we chatted on aikidojournal about the prospect of having a seminar in Iraq, before the invasion (of course, the invasion made all of those plans moot).
The Iraqi contingent had quite a tale to tell about their travelling adventures: they barely made it to the airport in Jordan, because the US security forces closed down the border. More on that, later. Other contingents faced difficulties, as well: the Bosnian's had to completely cancel, due to an airport strike. From what I hear, the Palestinian's had some difficulties, too: but they just arrived (it now being 11PM).
After excitable introductions all around (not to mention some bleary-eyed Iraqi's), I shunted around an unseasonably hot and muggy Nicosia, on errands with our capable local contact, Herodotus, on various errands, with only a break to locate various media sources via the internet.
Fast forward to 5pm. With a little help from our friends and a slow-building excitement, we made the finishing cleaning touches of our dojo and broke out the Zebra Mats. At six, we were treated to a fine keiko with Jamie Zimron Sensei, followed by Winifred Wagner Sensei. Shortly before that, Hans Goto Sensei made an appearance with his wife (even tho they'd been in Cyprus for several days, this was the first time I'd met them. MAJOR faux pas on my part...when he said that he was from San Rafael, I didn't make the connection that he was one of the four Sensei's who were teaching. "Oh," I asked. "What dojo do you train, in San Rafael?"
Hello foot, this is my mouth...yum! Nith Toeth!
Ah, but the training, the training... My wish is finally achieved: training with Iraqi's, Jordanian's, and soon...Palestinian's and Israeli's, ALL on the mat at the same time. The feeling comes close to a sense of completion I'd sometimes feel when I'd finish a large art-piece, that took a long time to bring to fruition. In this case, the artwork took three years, and in all honesty, I cannot claim to be the main creatrix of this burgeoning art-piece...merely a minor assistant.
At times, that's enough: any more would be a paltry display of ego. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow, and sometimes you blend, and simply let go of shallow categorization.
P.S. Hooray! The Palestinian's have just arrived, as I type! They are excitedly chatting with Jamie, outside the comp-room.