My first seminar with Nanbu doshu-soke was in Kecskemet. That was some time ago, since it's not even mentioned in my current nanbudo passport. For quite a long time I have wanted to go back. Quite recently Wizzair opened a new route, Turku-Budapest, and the prices are rock bottom. This was the last straw. It seems strange that last time the journey took two days and went through such a many waypoints as Turku-Helsinki-Tallinn-Berlin-Budapest-Kecskemet. A lot of water has been flowing through Danube since then.
Sometimes there has been a separate ”meditation training” seminar for high grades arranged right before the normal seminar. This year there was no such thing, but the actual seminar consisted a meditation training session.
”Meditation training” was nevertheless not limited to that one session. Meditative way of doing technique was present pretty much for the whole curriculum of the seminar. We did three first Nanbu keiraku taiso katas, two first Nanbu tenchi undo practices with and without partners, Nanbu sotai aiki undo pair techniques and all the _Nanbu kata_s with a flowing motion touch.
But slow movement and breathing was not all we did. For more powerful and fast part we got complete bunkai for both Nanbu shodan and nidan.
In the beginning of the seminar I found it very hard to concentrate in the training with full heart. There seemed to be something small bothering me all the time. It was either my tight groin, stiff ankle aching for being forced into as low as possible stances, my balance flipping off at the wrong moment or something related. Somehow I just felt it would be good if we could just stop and call it a day.
Approximately halfways of the seminar Nanbu doshu-soke spoke about water falling from an edge of a roof. Drop by drop during the years it is carving a hole into a stone. I felt like doshu-soke was talking straight to me. I understood that for the most part my anguish was due to not being satisfied with myself and for yearning for something more perfect. Something that loomed in very distant future and made the present feel unbearably inadequate.
It is not good for one to make one's happiness dependent on reaching some nearly impossible future objectives. These objectives will never be reached since even a slight progress towards them tend to drive them even further away. Non-perfect is always present. My mind calmed down. Progress takes a lot of time and requires huge effort. It would be best for one to be able to feel happy all the way and find joy in that everyday effort - as non-perfect as the state might at the moment be. One day there will be clear hole in the stone but that's just added bonus.
I'm writing this seminar report in a flu. I'm irritated because after the seminar I managed to strain myself in manual labour and thus got ill. My body tried to warn me with aches, tiredness, bad mood, weakness and other related symptoms. I should have understood that my strength was running critically low. But still I went on with wrong kind of perseverance, used up all my energy. The reward was sickness and resentment. And I even couldn't finish my work.
So I am irritated. I am mad at myself for letting myself into this condition. The perfect me would have read the signals of my body and take a rest earlier – and stay healthy. But in the end the ability to listen to ones own body signals is one of those difficult things one learns when doing nanbudo. Maybe I should try to apply the teaching from the seminar into this situation. Maybe I should understand that there's no point being mad at myself. Getting ill is a nasty thing but bad mood is more treacherous and by far worse than common flu.
There is a lot to learn. Boy am I glad I started walking this road.
Kalle Lönnroth, 2 dan after the seminar