A Completely Different Herzogenhorn-Seminar 2021
First things first: In spite of high corona incident rates in Europe none of the 40 brave participants from 6 countries got infected. Maybe they had thoughts like these driving to the 2021 Herzogenhorn-surrogate-seminar without Sensei: Will I get infected or infect others? Will I find my car after the snowstorm? How do I get downhill in deep snow? How will it be, this winter-Horn and will we all get warehouse-fever? Yes – it was completely different to what we have been used to – but great in its own way – have a look:
Meeting and recognizing everyone: Happy faces and hugs everywhere, more than in 2 years of Corona. But the higher dangrades seem to be nervous before dinner. They often glance to the door as if they were expecting the arrival of Shimizu-Sensei with Birgit and Waka-Sensei … But in vain. Wonders don´t happen. Organizer Marco tells the pandemic hygiene standards: masks, distance, disinfection, corona-tests. But the members of the group rely one to another and the small talk starts: “How did you survive the lockdowns?”
At the first day of training Volker and Robert are surprised how different the dojo looks from the shomen-side. Main theme is leading the uke up and down and how to combine shiho-nage with sankyo in the solar system. Much heart and rare techniques Paco shows on Monday. Axel demonstrates that big movements provide more time to work calm and correctly. Tuesday is women’s day. Yvonne shows her female perspective on aikido, a new insight for the male members. With a lot of tropical temperament Lorena demonstrates that you can have fun even in the hardest and most severe keiko. She tells how to get along with huge male partners as a woman: with good techniques and strong kimochi.
Wednesday belongs to organizer Marco with a high-class didactical ukemi-training and an important iriminage-detail. In the free afternoon the whole group climbs to the top of Herzogenhorn-mountain and enjoys hot wine up there in a real winter wonderland. Especially the guests from Mexico are very fond of the beautiful surroundings and the glittering snow. Some people got a sunburn. No warehouse-fever! No one uses the free afternoon selfishly to drive to a city. Everyone protects the group in this way. Therefore the medical team Aurora and Marco got good results trough all corona-tests. A Mexican wedding-jubilee is celebrated with Tequila and Mescal (do you know the difference? I do now.).
Who can do party also can do keiko! The self-discipline of the whole group was very high. Thursday Tim from Denmark celebrated an “Uke-Day” and showed with daughter Katherine how important the role of the uke is in aikido. Tim did very difficult kokyunage in a calm and souvereign manner – no idea of wild Vikings! Björn-Ole described the difference between stiff, relaxed, tense and slack movements.
A good old friend we could feel in the dojo when Ludo dedicated his Jo-keiko to Jos Vanroy. Some old veterans had a tear in the eye. In the last unit Lars told us of spirituality in budo and explained some principles by the example of kanji. In the end the whole group gave a big applause to all trainers and the organizing committee Marco, Gerald and Christiane. Volker and Robert announced a few new and with Shimizu-Sensei communicated shodan and nidan grades and informed that Sensei had given yodan to Jurij Gudilin and Stephan Schmid already in summer.
Finally the group was informed about the results of many meetings of higher dangrades and important dojoleaders with a professional moderator: We need to improve advertisement and communication between the dojos. Marco and Christiane will work at those items and will announce the standings in a few months.
That’s it with the completely different senseiless “winter Horn” … but did we miss Sensei and Waka-Sensei? Yes and No! Yes, we missed them a lot, because the name Shimizu belongs to the Herzogenhorn-seminar like water to a river. And no, because Sensei, Waka-Sensei and Birgit always were present - in our thoughts. During the meals and keiko many lessons, anecdotes and memories of them have been told. Even an older trainer was teased because of looking critical like sensei … and Sensei´s favourite chair was kept free respectfully!
All 11 units were very different in techniques, intention and the way of teaching. But everyone could see easily that there were many relations between the lessons. All teachers did ONE Tendoryu-Aikido. Maybe Lorena put it right to the point: „Naturally keiko wasn´t as perfect as Shimizu-Sensei´s or Waka-Sensei´s. But all the trainers gave their best with all their heart. And for our relationship and friendship this seminar was very great!“ And the seminar prooved that Tendoryu-Aikido ist still alive in Europe – in spite of the pandemic!
And when all participants could find their cars after the blizzard and got downhill, they returned safely to the contaminated world outside. I found my dojo closed by pandemic laws (incidence over 1.200!). We are greatly looking forward to the Herzogenhorn-seminar in 2022 and hope that we can welcome the Shimizu-family for 2 weeks from the 25th of June 2022 on. Look out for the soon coming invitation!
Robert Hundshammer, Deggendorf