Once again I was fortunate enough to be able to join in on the annual trip to Schönhagen arranged by the Tendoryu Aikido group from Harburg. This lovely little spot just by the Baltic Ocean has now been the host of the trip for quite some years, and I have been fortunate enough to be able to take part in 5 trips up until now, as I can remember it.
This year I had the pleasure to bring some of my own students to Northern Germany to train, eat and enjoy the scene. And Björn, being the dojo-leader of more than one group had also made sure to bring some other people than “the normal faces”. That meant that this year counted people from 2 different nationalities who are spread out on 4 different dojos. Pretty good conditions for such a “small” trip.
Since about the second time I visited Schönhagen I have been teaching and this year was not different. But this year we were only two people teaching, so I would have to teach more than I was used to. But no matter. I enjoy giving my views of what we are trying to do to the people on the mat. And I am just happy that Björn is able to use me as an instructor. Hopefully I am not used as a sort of scare-crow…
The training during the weekend was as brilliant as always. Here I am of course referring to the training under the guidance of Björn. I may be big headed and proud, but I am not the one to judge my trainings – I will leave that to other people.
But once again I had the feeling that every time I stepped off the mat I had gotten something new to work on. Even the smallest detail and/or word during training can make all the difference in improving. And almost each and every time I have trained with the Harburg people I get off the mat with the thought of something new I have to work on. I find that brilliant, and I am very thankful for that.
The days are arranged like this:
Friday we arrive and prepare everything for the up-coming training. We get a bite to eat and then on to the mat for the first time. After training we are fortunate enough to have a house to ourselves – so beers, cheers, stories and snacks are shared.
Saturday equals – breakfast, training, lunch, relax, training and then the all important all night barbecue with compulsory campfire.
Relax time is usually used for several things. Some go to town to buy stuff for the Bar-B but those of us who are not assigned that job take off to the water, to have a look at (or a bath in) the Baltic Ocean.
This year it was quite windy, but the sun was out, and seeking shelter behind a big pile of rocks we all had the opportunity to get a little tanned. A very nice way to spend an afternoon.
After the last training of the day, it is time to fire up the grill and prepare for the feast that is the Saturday-Barbecue. This always brings a smile to my face. Not just because of the people, the company and all the meat laid out on the table, but also because of the weather. More than once during my five year attendance it has been raining during the weekend. But always, ALWAYS we can be sure that the rain stops and the clouds will disappear during our barbecue. I find that fascinating that Björn and the Harburg-group have that kind of connection to the universe.
Once again food is eaten and stories are told. And with full bellies everyone gathers around the campfire and the stories are now traded for songs. Everything from Irish-folk to American-comedy songs to German-Schlager gets a turn. And not until the moon is the only light left to help the guitarist is the last man in bed.
Sunday is departure day, but not before breakfast, training and lunch.
After the last training everything is put back in its place and everything is cleaned. Then when lunch is over the last few things are taken care of and people are off. Going back home to the normal everyday life, but now with the experience of yet another brilliant weekend, in the company of good people. Some of which I am proud to call friends.
Always I have felt welcome in the Tendoryu Aikido group of Harburg, and I am already looking forward to join the annual Harburg-Schönhagen-Trip 2012.
Steffen Ravn Mortensen
(Steffen leitet ein Tendoryu Aikido Dojo in Fredericia, Dänemark)