Updated: Mar 2, 2020
What is Kagami Biraki?
According to jpinfo, Kagami Biraki is a Japanese term meaning, "opening the mirror" (no, there are no actual mirrors being opened). It is a practice whereby organizations (ideally on odd number days - in our case, January 5th - as they are considered auspicious) celebrate the new year by joining together.
In fact, the practice of Kagami Biraki can be dated back to the samurai of the 15th century until Sensei Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, adopted it for his new martial art and sporting way. After that, many martial arts followed suit, including Aikido (check out Hombu Dojo's Kagami Biraki on youtube!).
Why Do Westerners Adopt This Practice?
So just because the Japanese adopted this practice, why do we do it here in the USA? It turns out, there are many practices associated with disciplines from other cultures that form an integral part of our training.
More than anything though, Kagami Biraki is an OPPORTUNITY.
It is an opportunity to set the pace, theme, and goals for the new year together with friends and family that we share our practice with.
It is an opportunity to celebrate our shared love of martial arts of all kinds by spending hours together on the mat.
It is an opportunity to invite others to start the new year off right with a practice like Aikido that challenges us physically, mentally, and spiritually.
What Benefits Will I Realize?
So what should you expect? This all depends on what you are looking for in your practice. You see, regardless of the style/discipline chosen, most of us begin martial arts for different reasons. Some for the physical demand, the mental challenge, the spiritual growth, and everything in between. Aikido is one of those rare martial arts that challenges us in all aspects WITHOUT a contest between participants, keeping the focus on personal growth instead of dominance.