Fabrice Somers (5. dan) came to Stavanger with 4 of his students this year. In addition, a group of 9 aikidoka from Ukraine and Poland joined the seminar for a total of 13 nationalities on the mats during this phenomenal weekend of Fjords’n’Aikido. (links to pictures can be found at the bottom of the article).
People started arriving already Wednesday afternoon, so our regular Wednesday class was packed for Bob’s class introducing the weekend’s theme. Our slavic friends went for a Stavanger-by-night stroll, guided by one of our Russian-speaking members. Thursday was “Fjords on Water” day, we were divided in two groups, where one went sailing through the fjord (this one would be called a bay in English), while the other went sightseeing the Old Town, and then we switched. The weather was quite friskey, so a sandwich lunch and a hot Chai Latte in the Colorful Street was very welcome! Fabrice arrived in the afternoon, bringing the sun with him (as he does every year!), and gave an extra class in the evening.
For the “Fjords and Mountains” Friday… well, as it happens in Norway, mountain conditions are very unpredictable in the springtime, and this year the Pulpit Rock (Prekestolen) was closed due to a thick layer of ice… not a nice combination next to a 600 m drop into the fjord… We got a taste of those conditions on the way up to the alternative destination, the Moon Waterfall (Månefossen), we worked up quite the appetite up to the viewpoint, Sensei prepared a lunch of grilled hot dogs and homemade hamburgers for the 20 of us. Much of the waterfall was huge icicles hanging from a hole in the mountain side, at the bottom there was a ‘vulcano’ of snow and ice that seemed to suck the water in through the top, and spew it out below as a river of clear emerald green water. Vasilyi couldn’t resist and went swimming…
The trip continued with a ferry ride, a drive across the new bridge over the Lysefjord, a 47 km long fjord only 300-600 meters wide… We drove along the South side of the fjord, had some tea and biscuits admiring the Prekestolen from the other side of the fjord, incredible to think that the fjord is as deep as the mountain is high…
The seminar proper started on Friday evening, a few more guests joined from Sandnes, Haugesund, Bergen and Oslo, for a total of 45 people throughout the weekend, averaging 32 on the mats at all times. Fabrice started with an admonition to “forget EVERYTHING” and start with a fresh, open mind! He proposed for this seminar to get to know our own body and create a relationship with your partner, to move from what you feel rather than doing what you think you’re supposed to do, REEELAAAAAAAAX, and, above all… ask yourself the right questions!
Saturday lunchtime was spent on the quay by the Petroleum museum, with the Norwegian tradition of buying fresh shrimp right off the shrimp boat, and having it on white bread with mayonnaise (also called shrimp glue). And on Saturday evening, everyone went to the Snake Island Aiki-Inn for the traditional BBQ – all home-made food, everyone chipping in with helping to cook, grill, tidy up and create a great atmosphere of aiki-bliss!
Thanks to everyone who came from near and far, to all the good helpers and for the good training partners, the combination of which made this such a GREAT fjords’n’aikido seminar!!! Welcome back next Spring!
Maxime Umé’s pictures on Facebook ; Emmanuel Kestemont’s pictures on Facebook ; Piotrek Norzynski’s pictures on Facebook ; Ivan Drozdov’s pictures on Facebook ; Alexey Feshchuk’ pictures on Facebook ; Ørjan Vestrheim’s pictures on Facebook– more links will be posted as they are published! (you may have to be FB-friends with the photographers in order to have access to the pictures…).
NB: if you couldn’t get enough of this (or missed it), our upcoming seminar with Roberto Martucci (6. dan) will continue to explore the same principles that Endo Sensei is so known for: 30 april and 1. may. Welcome back! More info on the Facebook event and on the downloadable poster.