It was early 2020 and people were getting ready for the next UK seminar with Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros. Lewis’ annual circuit of seminars includes Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and as noted the UK with the typical March slot in Lancaster in the north west of England.
Needless to say, the March 2020 seminar had to be cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, but everyone thought that life would be back to normal later in the year. It wasn’t, and all Lewis seminars in the UK were cancelled through 2020 and 2021.
The chance to have Lewis back in March 2022 in Lancaster created a lot of excitement and the weekend seminar sold-out as soon as the event was announced. Luckily, we had managed to arrange to have Lewis visit West Cumbria to teach in St Bees on the Fri night so there was an opportunity for local folks and those from Aikido Ulverston to train with Lewis.
Three of us went down for the weekend in Lancaster, myself, ‘Aki’ (John) and ‘Big J’ (Jason). Jason couldn’t train due to an injury (nothing to do with Aikido), but Aki and I were on the mat along with 30-plus others.
There was a really nice diversity of people at the seminar with folks from Edinburgh and Glasgow, Cumbria (west and south), Lancaster (obviously), the Wirral, Wolverhampton, Reading, London and Norfolk. There were even two travellers from abroad, one from the north of Spain and the other from Copenhagen in Denmark. Hence different clubs, associations and even styles were present.
The weather was cold, but dry, so the seminar started with weapons work outside – starting with bokken work of suburi and awase (blending practice). It was quite a long outside class, which I only later realised was due to the fact that we had locked ourselves out of the venue….
The rest of the weekend went as planned with a mix of weapons work and tai jutsu, including weapons taking techniques and finally nidan (second dan) certificate presentations for Ellie (Lancaster Aikido Club) and I. A great weekend and a great opportunity to meet old friends and new.