I've gone on my pilgrimage and returned. In fact, I've returned for some weeks now, but have been engaging in some R&R, and catching up on life. I left with questions, and came back with different insights, which have left the initial questions null anyway.
So much to say, but nothing much to say really. After meeting these two men who are arguably at the peak of their respective worlds, it gave me an appreciation of my own little place in the world. There is no rush. I may, or may never, be anywhere close to where these men have gotten to, but it matters not. I am where I need to be.
"It is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free." -- Krishnamurti
how all these cliched sayings say so little, yet say so much. it is wonderful how the significance and meaning of all these change depending on the exact context and moment when it is contacted upon.
it is quite freeing to realise that after all these years--after almost 10 years of dedicating, and almost marrying, myself to this path, i was finally reminded that it was never meant to be that way. a vehicle is abandoned after its purpose is met. has my budo completed its journey? no i don't believe so. but when the time comes, i can and will leave it with an open heart. and that my friends, is an incredible thing for me to say. of all people, i would have dismiss this talk as hogwash if i only had read this post a couple of months ago.
personal insight aside, i just want to make a quite comment that Dan Harden certainly deserves the reputation that he has. he's a really bubbly, and extremely knowledgeable budo exponent, whom is just so overwhelming in all different ways. most importantly, his ability to manifest what he says, into an actual, tangible, palpable event seems to stand out the most. oh, not to mention is passion and ability to teach it as well. but more on that another time.
Vlad interesting enough, seems to be one of the happiest, and most contented person i've met. he doesn't seem to take things too seriously--just enough, just right. a wonderful, delicate balance--both in life, and in martial application. one of the more ironic and paradoxical turns that i've noticed as well is how my initial view of aikido as the pacificist, peaceful art, and systema as it's dirty, street version, has now completely swapped roles. aiki-do is now the full-on, intense martial way, whilst systema is a more universal, global force of inner peace. ha! take that for a bit of a paradigm shift.