It’s interesting to think that if history hadn’t happened the way it happened things would be very different; I might not exist for one thing. Nothing I know might exist now. But we’re not always aware of our connections to history. For instance, I have no idea how I might be connected to the Napoleonic Wars, except maybe I have, and recently I found an intriguing possibility.
There was a family rumour that we had a German ancestor, which I’ve found out is true: it’s my great great great great, who was born in Hanover in 1806. Out of interest I looked at the historical context of Hanover in this time and found this:
The Convention of Artlenburg, also called the Convention of the Elbe, signed on 5 July 1803, dissolved the Electorate of Hanover. Consequently, the Elector’s army was disbanded. Many former Hanoverian officers and soldiers fled the French occupation of Hanover to Britain; George III, the deposed Elector of Hanover, was also King of the United Kingdom.
King’s German Legion, Wikipedia
Now, my ancestor couldn’t be one of these soldiers -much too young – but could his father have been a Hanoverian soldier that migrated to England (aftter 1806) and joined the King’s German Legion? It’s complete speculation; I have no evidence of any connection, and it might not be the only reason for migrating during this time, but the closeness in dates is an interesting possibility.
If the Electorate of Hanover and hadn’t been dissolved and the French not occupied Hanover then there would be far less migrants, possibly including my ancestor who might have ended up marrying another Hanoverian instead of an English woman who was also my ancestor.
But it’s also interesting from the point of view of being an immigrant myself, that people have always been moving, for political or personal reasons. Go back far enough and we all have ancestors that have migrated from somewhere else.
I’m recovering. Over the weekend I was pushed to the floor (also practised falling to the floor by myself!), pinned there and had my arm twisted until I called out “Mercy!” Then it was my turn…
I’ve done karate as a kid, and tai chi a few years ago when I lived in England. Karate was defined as self-defence, but its style was straight forward combat: hit the opponent ( a bit more to it than that, but that’s the general jist). Tai chi was interesting, its own style, similar to aikido in that it doesn’t require strength but uses the strength and momentum of the opponent against them. But what I learnt was a “form”, a series of movements. But I never really learnt to apply these movements as a martial art, just as an exercise that helps practice patience, coordination and balance.
The aikido I did over the weekend – a workshop that took place at the Earth Sanctuary – was somewhere in between. What we were doing was somewhere in between what I’ve done with karate and tai chi: it was a practice of self-defence (and only self-defence) with a similar “flowing” philosophy as tai chi.
The techniques, when done well, are effortless; the damage to the opponent practically nil, as long as the opponent doesn’t struggle too much. It’s very difficult to train, or rather “untrain”, the body to not use strength in its defence, and just flow with the opponent’s momentum. There’s a lot of coordination going on between where to put the feet, the best place to grip the opponent and positioning.
Right now my body is so unused to the exercise that I have stiff muscles, but I look forward to it again. In the meantime I think I’ll take the tatami out and practice falling!
If you want information on aikido just look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aikido
Times always moving, you noticed that? You blink and miss it, until you realise that amongst all the other things you’re doing you also have a blog (at leastr one in my case). So between inventing languages, doing art, gardening, going to presentations and workshops, and working through a couple of courses (OBOD Druid Grade as well as Psychosynthesis) I have blogs to maintain too.
Recently someone told me that in Spain we must have 36 hours days with so much going on. Ojalá… [I wish…]
Until next time!