Thinking Gasshuku thoughts...


...expectantly we crowd ourselves into the car and begin the 480 km drive to Lygnared. Place of departure is Solna Karate Dojo and we are heading for the third annual international gashuku over the weekend. Spirits are high until we reach the highway then only me and shotgun are conscious. ETA Thursday, 14 of August at 2200 hours. Time speeds by and later than expected we arrive. Sempai Åke yawns a welcome and throws me a key. Sensei Marshall and Sensei Kallenbach happily greats us. It is late and tomorrows a big day. We usher ourselves to bed.

The food is always great here and the worries none, this time no exception. Great breakfasts followed by a lavish lunches only bettered by the evening meals all to be savoured before or after a pleasurable swim. Henrik and Patrik feed us well, thanks guys. All this enjoyment revolving around the instruction seminars of capable instructors and masters of the Tai Ki Ken art. Harmony and learning entwined, thy name art Lygnared. Thank you Carina and Staffan for your always-helpfulness.

Morning and evening, students are accurately measured by the Masters and as far as possible given the individual attention needed and sought, not only during hours but whenever conversation is struck between us. Me no exception, thank You Sensei. Good words given in time to lift the spirit of the shear and carry one forward on this shared road of ours. Instruction is given and paid for in sincere gratitude and devotion to understand. Smiles are passed around freely, laughter makes it often company. This is the spirit of the Lygnared Gashuku and has been for always as I can remember. Familiar faces and new. All must be greeted. Even among the knowns there are surprises. Sudden bursts in development and maturity since last year rises to attention. Not only the Masters brought mind-goods to the gashuku. Ideas and techniques are happily exchanged.




For those living in budo-spirit Ends do not come as surprises. Neither did this ending. But it did leave rings in the mind-well, great and bright jewels to savour and treasure. The thorough and patient teaching of Sensei Marshall (Ritsu-zen) McDonagh about different postures and accompanying juri firmly rooted itself in my spine hopefully never to leave. The five fists of Sensei Jan Kallenbach Pi, Zuan, Beng, Pao and Heng they split, drill, smash, explode and cross themselves into memory. Sensei Bert de Waart demonstration of stillness glows with a special light. Stillness that is not stillness but minuscule movement in a concentrated pool of awareness. Sensei Wiert Postemas lesson is tingling in my posture, in my fingertips and in my mind. Lessons to pass the Ritsu-zen feeling into juri and hajj and lessons of balance and stepping. Easily he did them and clumsily we tried to follow.

Ends turn into beginnings and this particular end seems to be turning into the beginning of a year of practise before the 4:th Gashuku beginning the 13:th of August 2009. Another 480 km later, walking on the kings road in Stockholm, already I feel anticipation for the next gashuku ... and oh yes I also feel that special feeling of tingling from Sensei Wierts lesson. Thank You All for making this Gashuku what it was.

Victor Berg

My thoughts goes to those not present. Specially Sensei Hans Bakker and Sensei Jean-Luc Lesueur. We missed you and your instruction. Hope you are well and hope to see you next Year.