frite nite '07 and other things
Our annual(third) dojo Halloween costume party was a huge success. We had a turnout,childdren included, of over 40 people. And a good time was had by "children" of all ages. I am in the process of transferring the video footage taken onto my hard drive, and then there will be more pictures. Special thanks to Linda Holiday sensei, who dropped by on her way back from teaching a seminar in Sacramento. I want to thank Mike Brown, Mary Fortino, Harry Concepcion for helping out with the behind the scenes stuff.
My costume for this year was Nemuri Kyoshiro. My daughter re-fashioned my hair and gave it a reddish tint. I found a black kimono at Nichi Bei Bussan. All the Raizo films are now out on dvd. So I'm in a new wave of "Nemuri" study. At the end of the party we showed the "Human Tarantula", which was the first Kyoshiro film I ever saw.
After not really having watched the films recently, seeing the last 4 have really awakened an appreciation of Ichikawa Raizo's portrayal of this character. He is so centered in battle that it is almost scary. His willingness to walk right into death is almost believable by how Raizo fashions his brooding glances and otherworldly alertness. And, of course, Raizo moves beautifully, making the sword fight sequences almost a ballet of stylized death.
His engetsu sappo(full moon style) has a quasi mystical style. Just as Hiro Nakamura in the tv show "Heroes" can alter the space/time continuum, so I believe Kyoshiro's full moon form does this as well. It was one of my main reasons for wanting to study tai chi, and the character has had a major influence on my life. He is much more than just the archetype of the warrior. He also embodies the archetypes of the magician and destroyer. He is a magician in his ability to alter space/time and to escape from seemingly impossible situations. He is the destroyer in that he embodies death and change, often destroying castles and armies before killing the evil protaganists, who usually are the extreme deranged edge of a very corrupt social system. There is some social commentary in the films, and that world is not all that dissimilar to the one in which we now live. He is very similar to Michael Moorcock's sword and sorcery character, Elric of Melnibone. Instead of weilding a magical runesword,Kyoshiro performs a magical sword form with his Muso Masamune blade.
Linda sensei shot a sequence of my performing the full moon cut, kimono and new hair style and all.