The way of Shugenja (how far are the human limits)

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How far can human limits go?
During yesterday’s seminar, we discovered the answer.
In 15 hours and 40 minutes we passed almost 80 kilometres, under the motto: Move and burn or stop and die!

The seminar started with 11 people, who in 8:10 hours in the morning began the spiritual journey from the starting point at the base of the mountain Lipac.Shugendo2.jpg Moving over the peaks of hills, in short time passed the village of Strezovce and started entering the village of Makresh. Unfortunately, in that moment two of the attendees decided to quit the seminar.  The nine that remained continued the journey and showed really strong willpower and dedication to endure to the end. We moved along the dried riverbed of the river Petroshnica, to later move on west towards the hill Peros. Using a compass and an old topographic card, the road took us through the village of Dobracha, afterwards through the village of Bajlovce from where we climbed on the hill Visoka (764 m), in order to continue moving over the hilltops surrounding the area. We kept moving west, entering a dense pine forest followed by an oak forest, which led us too the southern base of Tatichev Kamen in the village of Kokino. That was our last destination before our journey back to Lipac. Until here, after around 30 km passed over hard terrain with a killer fast tempo of movement, a few of the attendeesShugendo_1.jpg started getting leg cramps. Sensei Igor Dovezenski used Hichibuku Goshinjutsu in a few occasions during the seminar and succeeded in restoring the walking ability of these people. Their strong wish and dedication to achieve the goal did their part as well. We all climbed at the plateau of the ancient megalithic observatory

The way of shugenja, or rather the return from it, continued through a different route. The leader of Bujinkan Macedonia allowed a vote: they will return using the path to come here or a much easier but a lot longer road. The attendees chose the second option. The march went on with the same killer tempo as before. We returned by passing the villages of Kokino, Stepance, Puzhaljka, Dragomance, Staro Nagorichane and finally, around 20.30 hours, we arrived at the village of Mlado Nagorichane. Here,Shugendo3.jpg the situation  became critical for most of the attendees. Because of the full-day walking, they had wounds on their feet, trouble with their knees and muscles, and one of them even had mild disorientation and hallucination. To finish this journey we had to walk exactly 15 km more – our vehicles were left at the starting point and those were our only means of transport to Skopje. Because of the injuries that most of the people suffered, we agreed that only those that could will continue the journey and the rest will remain on the road until we return for them with our vehicles.

Thus, at 20:40 hours, the journey was continued by four warriors from Bujinkan Macedonia: sensei Igor Dovezenski, Goran Bogdanovski, Carl Campeau and the young Anton Perchinkov, who dragging his legs succeeded in passing 5 more kilometres, to afterwards remain waiting for us to reach the vehicles and come back for him. The last ten kilometres were horrible. Bogdanovski had problems with his right knee, Dovezenski had a bleeding foot, they literally dragged their feet along the dusty road, while Campeau explained that he found out how will he move when he’s 80 years old. During this, with improvised spears (jo staff with a knife bound on top of it), we had to defend ourselves a couple of times from shepherd dogs. The Shugendo seminar turned itself into a test of our survival skills. The last kilometre, we didn’t really move to finish the seminar, but to reach our vehicles and go back for our comrades, who in bad condition, hurt extremities and fever, were left to wait on the road. At 23:50, we reached the goal.

In the end, we were all happy that the seminar was a success.
We congratulated each other, and reminisced the moment when in Kokino (on the top of Tatichev Kamen), we held each others hand in a circle and obliged to an everlasting friendship. In good or bad.

Until now, when we had contact with people who trained Gendai Budo (modern martial arts), we had situations when we had to explain what exactly is Koryu Bujutsu (ancient martial arts) and why we train the nine school of Bujinkan Dojo. From now on, we are not going to explain or trying to prove anything. Anyone who wants to know, may come to the next Shugendo seminar.