Strange laws control the attendance to international seminars. The most obvious ones are work related, but there are sure some mysterious and unknown behind aswell. One main character seems to be periodicalness. Already last summer I knew my possibilities to attend the seminars at that time were quite thin. So I looked further, into autumn.

There it loomed, Banja Luka. A point of curiosity: this would be the fourth doshu soke seminar in Banja Luka and all the previous ones had a Finn in them. So I had to go. Everything at work seemed to be favourable and it had been some time I last went abroad (Ljubljana, April). So I booked the flights.

This time the seminar in Banja Luka was longer than last year. Now they had also utilized Sunday as a full training day. Previously it was left blank, probably because of schedule of doshu soke. Nevertheless, there was some malcontent with Friday night training being charged a bit extra.

I suspected there would be not so many people in Friday night, but it turned out the dojo was pretty crowded. The training was headlined as “meditation training”, but the content was pretty much regular nanbudo training session: kinanbutaiso, Nanbu sotai, Nanbu keiraku taiso ichiban. I was expecting tenchi undo but we didn’t do any of that. Anyways, as a regular training the session was quite okay and after all the toughest budo-ho stuff was left out, so there was something “meditative” about the training.

The rest of the training consisted of both old randori no katas and Nanbu sotai. In kata section we paid attention to Nanbu shodan and also did a basic bunkai of it completely – I have not seen this done so much in my previous seminars. On top of that we got a new-old kata (from sankukai days?) shin tajima.

I especially enjoyed shin tajima. It was a bit like seienchin, which I know poorly, but a bit easier. In theory section Nanbu bursted into long explanation about nu mu tai tan han dan sei no sei mantra and ideas connected to it, but I got the picture that this thing will still cook up a bit until it will take its final shape.

I suppose the local considered “the night of the martial arts” as the peak of this weekend. Watching this show spectacle I was happy to find out it has shortened from last year. Apparently the spectre of martial arts was cut down summing up briefer set of demos and other shows that was easier to follow. Jukka had previously noticed some “ego boost shows” in the demos. This must have been changed. The phenomenon didn’t bother me at all - if there was any of it left.

Despite of some re-scheduling the seminar left me feeling good about it. Especially content-wise I think this was one of the top seminars ever. I am keenly awaiting the Oslo seminar to repeat the thing I have learned and to correct some possible misinterpretations.

Finally I would like to thank the organizers: Nanbudo Center Banja Luka crew for the seminar, Edija, Nicholas and Marko for the company and a drive from Zagreb to Banja Luka as well as sharing a room with me and Zrinka for the photo.

Kalle Lönnroth, 1 dan