The days before Gasshuku nature had given us rain and wind, but in time with our Budo friends arriving from different locations in Europe the sun began to shine and the weather got calm and nice. This could also be seen as a pre-sign about the positive force and energy every Kenpoka lifted forward during this Gasshuku. Another good sign was that everyone helped raising the big tent together.
The morning started with own training. When the cold and clear air from the night was warmed up by he sun this morning, nature gave us a spectacular scenery over the lake by the camp. To train with and in nature, close to trees and water a morning like this is a magical way to start the day.
After breakfast Shihan Jan Kallenbach starts the first Keiko together. Shihan shows us a very nice practice in timing, feeling and to be able to adept your energy to catch a falling object that starts to fall out of your view. Shihan also talks about the will to want, the “hunger” to learn Budo. Shihan Kallenbach and Shihan McDonagh are two inspirational sources that for more than 50 years has shown a unique will and “hunger” to learn and cultivate Budo/Wushu. It’s a precious gift to be able to learn from their knowledge and experience.
We moved with a “baton” out from Rudulph Labans cube. We practised it in eight forms: flashing-floating, wringing-slashing, punching-pushing, debbing and gliding. We also trained the qualities of Ying and Yang: Light-heavy, closed-open, fast and slow.
After lunch we practised techniques from Ju-Justu. The challenge was to meet your partners techniques with flow and control.
After dinner Shihan told us about his solo-trip to Japan. During the evening we took part of many unique experiences: Sato Sensei, Laban & Maslow, “the shower place”, “one year – one technique”.
In the end of the seminar something very rare and unique was lifted forwards. After decades of continues searching and devoted studies in both budo and wushu to achieve the highest level possible in knowledge and development of Ki, the Shihans of Taikiken in Japan has given the Shihans in Taikiken of Europe the fullest confidence and mandate to continue developing Taikiken ouside of Japan.
The weather had during the night begun to be colder. Wind and rain was in its footsteps. This added an extra challenge to the own training this morning. The first keiko together was held by Sensei Legree. In the first practise we visualised the breathing during Ritzu-zen. Thereafter we did the five basics of Hsing-I who builds up from wu-hsing, the five elements: metal(p`i-ch`uan), wood(peng-ch`uan), water(tsuan-ch`uan), fire(p`ao-ch`uan), and earth(heng-ch`uan). The basic forms was practised with a partner.
After lunch there was a true adventure. Shihan McDonagh had arranged a Taiki-challenge in Grande´ scale. The first challenge was to move through four different types of levels while you expressed your Tanshu.
Level 1 was a restricted area on the ground. Level 2 was an area of eight combined car tires. Level 3 was a wooden platform. Level 4 was two oildrums. To make points every challenger had to go from level 1 and then as far as possible. You also received points in how your Tanshu was expressed. The winner in Tanshu was Sensei Laurent Rouzeau from Marsille. The first challenge was very demanding and instructive.
The second challenge was Tui Shou. There was a semi final at every level, and the final was between two Kenpokas from France on the two oildrums. The winner in Tui Shou was Romain Anselmo from ACBB. In the Tui Shou
challenge every Kenpoka lifted forward a high spirit with great joy and hurrays to the challengers. There was a very nice spirit.
In the evening Shihan McDonaghs wife Pilar and son Jonathan joined us in the great atmosphere that the Taiki-challenge had lifted forward during the day.
We practised all together in the morning, as our friends from France had to leave with an early flight. Under Shihan Kallenbachs lead we moved with the “baton” out from Labans cube together with a partner. The challenge during this practise was to use realistic techniques and to do them with “skintouch” to our partner.
Shihan McDonagh then took us out on the long bridge by the camp. There we moved back and forward, side to side in different forms. A special moment was when we stood in Ritzu-zen with only our heels on the bridge and the rest of the foot was outside over the water. From here we managed to do two reasonable Hakke´outwards that rolled over the water along the lake in the morning mist.
After that the heat went up in the Ring of Fire. We stood all in a big circle and the practise was to run in high speed between every Kenpoka, blocking arms and hands from hitting your body or face. In the end six Kenpoka in high speed manner ran at the same time. A wonderful exercise that brought forward other dimensions in Budo.
Then we did the Big Ritzu-zen. All kenpokas tied their arms together in a big Ritzu-zen circle. The big circle moved back and forward, side to side, and in a way up and down.
There was a tremendous force on the arms as all kenpokas pulled in every directions trying to break the big circle.
Shihan ended the keiko with a confusion-movability-practise. We stood all in a big circle, and everyone should at the same time cross over to the other side. A very funny practise and you did well if you could move like the water on its way forward. To make the confusion a bit more difficult some kenpokas stood in the middle at the crossing and disturbed everyone that was on its way trying to cross to other side as smooth as possible.
In many ways this Gasshuku became something special. I believe that many were inspired to a new future with a deeper meaning. I also know that for some, this Gasshuku was a beginning to a new life with more balance, quality and harmony.