Do you have to travel through a DMZ (de-militarized zone) to get to class?
Last year at "Training Across Borders (see my blog)," it was noted that the Separation Wall in Palestine has make it difficult for one Palestinian (at least) to get to his dojo. Before, the dojo was right across the street, and he could get to class from his home in minutes. But the Wall bisected his street, forcing him to walk over a mile to the next checkpoint. The trip to the dojo now takes at least 45 minutes, often longer.
I asked an Iraqi Aikidoist what was his experience in getting to the dojo. With his permission, I am posting his resonse (for time reference, he sent this to me late last August):
I hope by now you have received my email.
You also asked me about training in Iraq and I thought maybe this deserves to be in an email of its own.
Nowadays we go to practice three times a week. I would try to skip the things that are a bit relative to a person like the distance or other job obligations.
Regarding practicing any form of descipline in here maybe it is all the same.
We do our best to attend but sometimes the odds are simply unbeatable.
I will not tell you about the dilmas of accidental delays like, bombs or armed groups who seek to destablize the situation or horrify the local neigbourhoods or the religious freeks or the problems with the police, the related forces or the presence of military in its many forms but I will tell you that from what I have seen and known from my fellow aikidokas, we love the practice and we love to improve ourselves but we have many problems and what we have come to realize is that all we can do right now to keep aikido running is to try to attend our practice sessions as much as possible...
I think one thing that we share with all our aikidokas in Iraq, may be a bit more than with the aikidokas from the other parts of the world is that for us aikido is not just aikido, it is an escape from what I have mentioned above, a very bright and illumiated space in our minds in which we try to clear our thoughts and focus only on harmony, internal energy and the physical extension that connects the two...
Thanks again Neil and all the very best
Do you have any slice-of-life stories about difficulties in getting to your dojo (DMZ, or no)? I have one of my own, but I will post it, later.