We sat on the mats after practice, resigned expressions on our faces. I think Honza broke the silence: ‘When is the next training? And where?”
On that Thursday in November, the first snow fell in Stockholm. The beginning of winter. We slept on the tatami at the Iyasaka Aikidoklubb (there’s an insanely noisy air-conditioning system running at night) and got up at six in the morning. An hour practice, a quick change of clothes and a subway ride to Vanadis, where there was another morning practice at another club. Then we had breakfast at the cafe where Astrid Lingren used to go (Pipi Longstockking was written in the tenement across the park) and the lunchtime training was starting, which of course we also attended. Three workouts in half a day wouldn’t have been too much, but we kept up the pace of 3–5 hours of exercise on our sixth day in Stockholm… and we still had three more intense days to go.