From Mexico to Herzogenhorn (Part 1)
From Mexico to Herzogenhorn (Part 1)
Jan. 8, 2022

by Lorena Fortolis

In Mexico, there is a saying, "You know who people are when times are tough." The Herzogenhorn seminar took place in challenging conditions for everyone, especially the organizers. They were always an example of commitment to continue, keeping the flame alive, and above all, an example of kindness and generosity. Marco and Christiane, thank you for opening your houses to us and showing us how beautiful your country and its people can be.

For sure, many people could not participate due to the COVID restrictions, and maybe some didn't join because Shimizu Sensei wouldn't be there. But they were wrong. As Robert said, Shimizu Sensei, Waka Sensei, and Birgit San were always present.

For me, it was a week of a lot of learning. I had to confront my insecurities and preconceptions. The first surprise was given to me by the instructors. Each one broke my thoughts at every technique, giving me a completely different experience from what I imagined. There I realized how easy we have the propensity to create prejudices. When I was expecting rigidity, I received softness; when I expected tranquility, I received dynamism. Each class was a gift of astonishment. That week was a kaleidoscope. We all pointed our eyes to a single point: Tendoryu, but each one projects their own color. It was nice to see that even with bodily differences, when we really harmonize and flow, we are one, (as I once read: 1 + 9 = 10, 2 + 8 = 10, 5 + 5 = 10).

When I had the news to be an instructor, the feeling of dread was in the air. I have a little more than 20 years of practicing. Among the participants, there would be teachers who I admire and respect, who have more than twice the time that I have on the tatami and many students who have taken countless seminars with Sensei. How scary!

What can I teach? What am I doing there on that list of teachers? (I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought about it). Wow!! We also have prejudices about ourselves. I was excited, nervous, happy. I couldn't stop thinking about how powerful this place is, impregned by Shimizu Sensei's teachings.

I know that in Budo, seriousness is expected. But imagine: The opportunity to stand in such an amazing place, within a beautiful landscape, with an amount of snow that I had never seen before in my life, the spirit of Shimizu Sensei in the air, and a lot of kind people around; what would you do? sometimes, the best way to show gratitude for the gift of life is to smile.

Don't be wrong, despite my smiles and unsteady movements, the respect with which the teachers received my Keiko made them even more admirable to me. They were humble and affable all the time, open to even taking a lesson from me. With the correct vision, we can learn from everyone. I'm infinitely thankful for allowing me to be part of this and of being able to have seen with 10 new pairs of eyes.

When we involve our hearts in something, we transform ourselves, and many people in Herzogenhorn opened their hearts. I can say that I came out of there being a better person. I can't wait to live another seminar in Herzogenhorn with Shimizu Sensei, Waka Sensei, and Birgit San now, not only with their spirit present but them there. (I fell in love with Germany and its people)

Lorena Fortolís