The last destination of my spring time travelling was Skien. Durin the end of winter I had bought flights to Switzerland and Slovenia, but postponed the purchase of the flights to Norway. In the end this was a good solution. I had to retake an exam on the 30th of May which was the first day of the seminar.

So I started my jorney on Tuesday and had to cut the seminar short also on the other end. Having to start my summer job next week, I figured out I should get back home on Saturday to be able to rest and recover for one day. On top of that, the flight back home on Saturday cost about hundred euros less, so my cheap nature also drove me into this.

Finally I got four training days out of five but couldn't witness the grade exams and the graduation party on Saturday. Getting a little bit of the seminar is better than none, though. I have noticed this. Since life is all to hectic, one has to take what is offered or get nothing.

The theme of the seminar appeared to be homogenisation of old randori no katas and new nanbu sotai randori no katas. The old randori no katas were changed in a way that now tori makes also a punch in all attacks, like in nanbu sotai. That would be: twice oizuki, twice meageri with oizuki, twice mawashigeri with gyakuzuki and for the last oizuki. We trained this formula applied on old randori no katas: ichi, irimi, ni and kaiten ichi and san.

On top of the aforementioned, we did some nanbu sotai randori no katas and from the group of single person techniques some nanbu and nanbu keiraku taiso katas and of course kinanbutaiso. On top of these, there was some kihon ju type of training, in which uke could use both old randori and nanbu sotai randori defences. We trained this both in pairs and in groups of three.

In theory Nanbu emphasised the kata nature of nanbudo. Including the beginning and ending greetings, sitting on seiza etc. - the posture should be formal and technically correct. He stressed the meaning of right sitting position and it's effects on the back. Which brings my mind to something my sensei, Jukka, told me about the Japanese. In Japan, those having the worst posture are equal to the Europeans who have the best. Sitting on a chair is propably not too good for us and back problems are among the most common form of physical ailment in the West.

During Thursday night’s kihon ju training I got a hit on the inner side of my leg. It was a wrong sided kaitengeri gedan. Instead of sweeping my legs off, it just hit there. The leg swell and ached a lot during Thursday night and Friday morning. I could barely walk and was worried to death. Could I get back home if I can't hold my leg downward for more than two minutes without severe pain? What if I have to go see a doctor in Norway? It's gotta be deadly expensive. Will I lose all my savings on this? And how about my summer job? And so on...

Lucky me, the swelling went down a bit during Friday afternoon and the pain reduced to a pretty tolerable level, so – adviced by Nanbu – I ended up participating trainings on Friday night. And in the end I did all the three trainings that night, without much extra trouble. The leg was a bit sore for a week afterwards but basically prevented nothing, I could even do my job.

Next time I hope – as always – to be able to participate in all of the seminar. Norway is so close. Maybe I finally make my dream come true and travel to Norway without flying. It is somehow absurd that the easiest way from Raisio to Skien is taking a bus to Turku, then another one for Helsinki-Vantaa airport, a flight to Gardermoen, a train or bus to Oslo center and another train or bus to Skien. The ideal would be to have couple of days time before the seminar and after it, so I could take a ferry to Stockholm and hitchhike the rest. Now that would be an adventure.

Kalle Lönnroth, 2 dan