Kagami Biraki -- the traditional New Year's workout at dojos throughout the world -- will be held on Sunday, January 11th, 2015 at 9AM. Participants are encouraged to arrive between 8:30AM and 8:45AM.
Dojos throughout the world gather to have a group workout to mark the official start of the dojo year. Goju Karate's Kagami Biraki includes both a group workout as well as the traditional meditation lecture by Sensei which sets the tone for the entire coming year.
Both Adults and Kids
Kagami Biraki is an event for all students, including kids, and it is the only time during the year that both adults and kids train together on the dojo floor. Parents of younger children are encourage to remain and watch the event; however, many adult students will offer to mentor young kids so that they feel comfortable working out with adults.
And of course, Kagami Biraki is a great opportunity to train together as a family. One of the hallmarks of Goju Karate is the strong involvement of students from the same family training here, and generally Kagami Biraki is the only chance that an entire family can train together at the same time.
The workout consists of basic techniques and sharing strong spirit -- kata, ippon kumite, and other more "technical" material is not the focus of Kagami Biraki. Rather, demonstrating and practicing strong spirit is the true purpose of Kagami Biraki.
History of Kagami Biraki
The phrase "kagami biraki" literally means "opening the mirror" but more figuratively refers to a ceremonial resumption of activities. The actual celebration dates back to the time of the Tokugawa Shogun in feudal Japan, centuries ago. However, after the Meiji Restoration, many martial arts dojos in Japan adopted the custom of holding a group celebration at the beginning of their training year, and over the years, this practice spread to dojos throughout the world.
In modern times, almost all dojos designate a group workout on either a Saturday or Sunday during the first two weeks of January as an official "kick-off" to the dojo year.
Since Kagami Biraki is attended by most students at the dojo, parking and locker-space is limited. Students should try to arrive between 8:30AM and 8:45AM, so that they have adequate time to change into their gi and prepare to train.
Typically, the physical workout lasts for about 45 minutes, and then is followed by a fifteen-minute meditation lecture on the concept chosen by Sensei to be the dojo's focus for 2015.
There is no cost to attend Kagami Biraki, and all students are greatly encouraged to participate.