Next week, I’ll be abroad and there will be some changes in the classes.
After next week, we return to classes as usual.
On Tuesday next week, no children’s class. Arnon will lead the adult class.
On Thursday next week, children’s class will be at 18: 30. The adult class will be at the usual time. Harel Avrutsky will teach both classes. He is coming from a long way away and an amazing teacher with beautiful Aikido, so I hope everyone makes a special effort to come to class next Thursday. Also, I would like the children to make an effort to bring their uniform (gi) next Thursday.
Harel Avrutsky trained for many years under Ze’ev Erlich and helped teach the children’s class regularly. He received his third dan from Mishimoto Shihan. Today he has his own dojo, Shobu Dojo, in Hod Hasharon. You can see the Facebook page of his dojo this link.
Thank you and see you on Thursday and then on Tuesday in two weeks!
I wanted to thank all of the participants in Kagami Biraki 2016! On the mat we had children, adults and parents who all took part in the festive class, and in the ceremony and party afterwards. I particular enjoyed watching the children teach the parents what they knew about aikido. I also enjoyed the questions and the discussions. But most of all, I enjoyed watching the ceremony where we broke the monster and opened the new year with the ceremonial bokken (wooden sword) that decorates the shomen in the dojo. It reminded me that we need to start working with weapons. I hope to have dojo weapons that we can use soon!
Pictures from the even
Liya arrived late but did succeed in taking a few pictures (that you can find here). I would be very happy to get additional photos that people took. You can send them to me by mail (email@example.com) or in other way. It’s even possible to upload them to the website via a special page (that you can find here). In order to do so, you will need to contact me for login information.
A little about Kagami Biraki
I am no expert on Japanese culture. I first encountered the Kagami Biraki ceremony when I began training in the US, after 10 years of studying Aikido. In Baltimore Aikido (led by Chuck Weber and Charlie Page) we would celebrate Kagami Biraki on the first Sunday or the New Year. The entire dojo would come to that training, along with guests from the area. After the Aikido class, the senseis (teachers, Chuck and Charlie) would lead a ceremony in which they would offer each participant in the class a ceremonial cup of Sake. After the ceremony, we would close class and open a party with food that each person had brought. I very much enjoyed the celebrations, and particularly the mix of ceremony and informality. That is the same feeling I am trying to recreate in our dojo.
From what I understand, the opening of the new year is celebrated in most martial arts schools in Japan. I’ve also seen it celebrated in some, but certainly not all, of the dojos that I’ve practiced in. The meaning of the term is translated in different places on the internet as “breaking the mirror,” “opening the sake barrel” or “opening the Mochi cake” (mochi cakes are a traditional kind of cake with a hard crust that must be opened). It is often celebrated with the drinking of sake, and there is a special type of sake barrel that you can buy in Japan which has a lid that is intended to “broken open” with a large hammer. This is the idea that we are copying with our breaking of the monster.