Even though I'm invited to every single Pakkasleiri, I usually cannot manage to come. But as I'm skipping Spain this year, Finland suddenly seemed a pretty good idea.
This year the Frozy Camp was held in Ahtela, a youth centre on the coast south of Sauvo. Outdoor temperatures were around zero, which was easy on the skin, and less easy on the kimonos, as the melting snow got everything wet.
This was a high-level seminar, since more than half of the participants had a black belt. Being a _mudansha _in such an environment was rather demanding. The first training was on the very first evening, in the snow and fog and darkness, out on the ice over the bay. To show he was not joking, kyoshi opened the festivities with ukemi taiso, followed by the first three shihotai katas, complete with bunkai and mirror bunkai. Several levels of complexity were introduced, where the attacker gradually uses more and more attacks, and the defender reacts in a meaningful way without straying too much from the theoretical form of the kata.
In the morning, training resumed with jo and bokken. Jo is usually on the defence, being the weapon of guards and security officials, so we enacted a paired exercise, demonstrating some most common techniques and manoeuvres. Then the defenders switched to bokken, and we studied nanbu shodan as might be performed with swords instead of empty hands.
Part two of the morning training was carried out near and in Hiidenkirnu, a natural hole in the rock of some four meters in diameter, several meters deep and half-filled with iced-over water. In there we explored nanbu sotai variations for cramped spaces, trying out several ways to turn the opponent around when his attack got too aggressive. For defence against multiple attackers we moved out onto snow-covered rocks above the hole, and practised nanbu sotai niningake, as well as niningake randori ukemi no kata.
Having great fun, we lost track of time, and when we were done grocery shopping, cooking and eating the very late lunch, and drinking coffee, it was already time to fire up the sauna. After some theoretical discussion at ninety degrees centigrade, we carried out the evening training in the showers. Ikkyoku is one of the oldest katas, and has been adapted to many styles of karate and similar martial arts. There are two places in the kata where a proper sanpo helps fortify the double block, and the circumstances of the training made it very easy to judge the quality of the sanpo.
The ice was already melting the next morning, so kyoshi declared ukemis were not necessary, as there wouldn't be time to dry out the kimonos before the next training. We practised kaiten niningake until frozen rain started, then we continued with it in the budo hall, where we were joined by some other members of the Turku Nanbudo section. We carried out all three kaiten randoris in niningake and sanningake implementations.
Training in other environments than my usual one always puts a fresh perspective to my understanding of nanbudo. In this case, it was the effect of the environment on movement options and experiencing first-hand the usefulness of kaiten techniques in situations with multiple attackers.