Well the Menlo Aikido Summer Retreat of June 13 through 19 has come and gone. The weather was very good. It started out very hot on Sunday. I registered early then went back in my car and drove around for awhile with the air conditioning on. But it quickly cooled down, with temperatures warm as opposed to hot and the skies clear. The food was a pleasant surprise. It was good this year.
It is always a time to see friends and long-time aikido associates, reflect on what the past year has brought, ponder about what lies ahead. So it was nice to see Doran, Ikeda, and Heiny senseis. Of course we are lucky enough to have Nadeau sensei at our dojo on a weekly basis.
With the economy what it is one is ready for a horror story possibility. But, the mat was full and the classes well attended. It seems a greater percentage of the participants are commuters. Meals are where people bond, so, in the future, even if you commute, please make an effort to take a meal or two a day in the cafeteria. This will add to both your retreat experience and the collective group experience. Remember, the food was good this year.
In the comic book mythological universe night is often times when ones true work starts. Bruce Wayne by day. Busy with polo matches, dating super models, falling asleep at Wayne Tech board meetings. But when it turns dark that is when the Batman goes to work. I believe Superman is Susano the god of strength in the Kojiki. I am still trying to see if Batman has a counterpart in Shinto Mythology. It struck me recently how his major villains reflect our own inner adversaries. The Joker is our own collective and inner personal insanity. The Penguin our self-importance. Killer Croc our own bestial inner rage projected outward. Osensei said true victory is over the "I", an inner quest. Taken in that light(or dark) Batman's mission is an inner cleansing or misogi. See what insights you get after a week-long intensive?
So that said, there was a lot that went on at night at the retreats. And it is probably unique to this one. In the future, be on the look out for it. It's not advertised or even particularly well attended. But if you wonder why Bruce Wayne is tired sometimes, he might not be getting a lot of sleep at night........
Here is a new aikido and music video: