Kagami Biraki is a New Year’s celebration in Japan, usually celebrated around the second week-end of the year. Kagami Biraki is associated with samurai culture and this is why some traditional dojos have adopted aspects of the ceremony as part of their own New Year’s celebrations, focusing on self-reflection leading to new commitment.
The term ‘Kagami Biraki’ has several translations. Kagami refers either to a mirror or to mochi, a type of rice cake. Biraki is usually translated as “opening” or “breaking.” Taken together they translate as “Opening the Mirror” or “Breaking of the Mochi.” They also refers to the opening of a cask of sake.
The different items used in Kagami Biraki celebrations are powerful symbols. Mochi has a long, storied history in itself and is associated with the mirror because of the resemblance to the copper mirrors used in the past. The mirror also has a long tradition in Japanese culture and is linked to the sun goddess, Amaterasu. The mirror encourages insight through self-examination, which should lead to rededication.
In addition to mirrors, mochi, and sake, traditional symbolic elements include: citrus, usually tangerines in the US, symbolizing generational ties; salt for purifying; pine boughs, a symbol of longevity; armor, swords, helmets, and more. Some of these relate back to pre-samurai culture and some are shared across many cultures; for example evergreens, swords, and salt.
Kagami Biraki is a time for self-examination and the re-dedication of spirit and discipline toward training supported by our community.
The jo is a 4-foot staff used in Japanese martial arts and Aikido. In this video Saito Sensei demonstrates 20 basic jo movements. Understanding these movements will help prepare for the 31 count jo kata.
Austin Aikikai now offers PE credit to eligible AISD Middle School and High School students as an approved Off Campus Physical Education (OCPE) provider. Please come by the dojo soon to find out how you or your student can take advantage of this opportunity. The AISD deadline for signing up is Tuesday, January 6th, but please come by before the end of December for a free class and to review the course requirements.
The next Beginner Program at Austin Aikikai begins Monday, January 5th at 7:15 pm. Please come by the dojo for a free introductory class and to find out more about Aikido.
Austin Aikikai is now an official AISD Off-Campus Physical Education Aikido Provider for the 2014 – 2015 school year. Please contact the dojo as soon as possible if you or your student is interested in participating for the Fall 2014 semester. AISD class registration deadlines must be complied with to assure participation, so please act now.
Parents and students must sign up with us and with AISD before the end of the day Monday August 25th.