On the 3rd of January 2008, I started my trip to Finland from the newly named Slovenian airport of Joze Pucnik. It took a little over two hours of quiet flying to reach Helsinki, the capital of Finland. There I was, 1710 kilometres away from home. I grabbed my oversized, overfilled, borrowed rucksack. Which was almost falling apart because of too much content and my wooden samurai sword bokken. I caught a bus and headed of towards Turku, where I contacted the Finnish organiser, Kalle Lönnroth. He was already on his way to pick me up from the bus station, together with the only female attending nanbudoka, Nika.
I spent my first night in Finland in Kalle's cosy suburban house. The next morning we headed towards Kalikka, in Yläne, a picturesque village, where we rented a beautiful cottage with two saunas, fire-place, kitchen and an unforgettable view over the frozen lake.
Every year Finnish nanbudokas organise an outdoor seminar in January, when the days are the shortest and the temperature at its' lowest in Finland. Luckily, nature was friendly this time and the temperature did not drop below minus fifteen. Along with the friendly temperature, we were all amazed by natures magnificent purity. The lake, reaching to the cottage door was frozen, which looked like vast mirror in the ground, reflecting nature and its beauty. The ice covering the lake was not too thick, so we easily made a hole into it. We used it as a pool after our sauna everyday, which was pure balm for our tired bodies.
Trainings took place in front of the cottage, inside it and on the lake. First day was dedicated to ukemi _and _kaiten _techniques. We began the next day's training with a detailed study of _Nanbu shodan, which we upgraded with Nanbu shodan bunkai. The Finnish Federation organised examinations for two nanbudokas, which was followed by a lecture, conducted by Jukka Paasonen. Afternoon training was dedicated to suwari and standing bokken _techniques. In the evening we again enjoyed training outside, surrounded by silent nature. Training was dedicated to the exact study of _Nanbu shodan and upgraded with Nanbu shodan bunkai randori ichi no kata and Nanbu shodan bunkai randori ni no kata.
On the third day we trained bokken _techniques on ice and concluded in the afternoon with _Nanbu shodan bunkai randori ni no kata and other _randori _techniques, all on the frozen lake. We finished (finnished) the seminar fulfilled with new knowledge and sparkling energy. As a reminder we all received a small gift from Jukka.
Full of fresh energy, we cleaned the cottage and made it shine even more, than it was upon our arrival. Sadly it was time to say goodbye to my Finnish friends. I took this opportunity to do some sightseeing in Helsinki which charmed me with amazing culture and interesting people. Upon my return home, I promised: "Finland, I'll be back!"
Goran Lorger, 1 dan