Saturday, August 31, 2013

Japan Expo 2013

Last weekend Aikido of San Jose participated in the first National Japan Expo, which was held locally at the Santa Clara Convention Center. We are honored to have been asked and our participation included two demos a day and manning a booth. Those who participated, thank you very much. It was a long and very full weekend made memorable by those who dedicatedly supported the dojo with their time and energy.

The convention center floor was very full of activity. We shared the martial arts proceedings with karate, judo, and Japanese sword.  All in all I feel this was very important. It is important that aikido reach out to spread its message in different ways. We must continue to bring new energy in, and to do this we must continue to put good energy out. My thanks to Nadeau shihan who supported us by excusing us from the very important CAA(California Aikido Association) meeting and training. Since we joined in 2000 it is the first one I have missed.

One thing that was apparent to me is that Japan is a country that is very influenced by its mythology. Seeing countless young women and men in warrior costumes carrying swords and other weaponry made me aware how strong that mythological influence is. Japanese art, especially anime, is a world wide force. Sadly, since I don't watch tv( I used to catch what is modern on cartoon network), I was unfamiliar with most all of the characters people were being in their costumes. Aikido has a very strong mythological influence as well, and it is well it was given time at the event. The founder was born to parents who were thought too old to bear a male heir. But they went on a pilgrimage to the Hongu Grand Shrine, prayed for a son, and Morihei Ueshiba was born a short time later. Since one of the kami enshrined there is Susano the Storm God, Osensei heard from very early on he was a gift from the divine energies and a reincarnation of Susano. And his study of the Kojiki and Nihongi led him to frame his sense of the energies with the names and aspects of the Shinto Gods and Goddesses. Of course it is said that the Emperor descended from the lineage of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess.

Our country is too young to have an established mythology like Japan and India, but my feeling is that mythology, being connected to archetypes, is reflected in popular culture. The films of Hayao Miyazaki, especially 'Princess Mononoke', have in them very strong mythological elements. And in our culture this is represented by super heroes and heroines. Among all the anime inspired costumes walked Captain America, Batman, Superman to name only a few. It was thus interesting to see this event connecting the mythologies of different cultures.

Of course one way of honoring these archetypal energies is to dress up in costume. That's why Halloween is so fun..........But I think it is time people realized that Aikido is one of the few things that can bring out and let one channel these energies in one's life. That is why I feel our participation was so vital. You can do more than dress up as a character you are drawn to. You can trace the energy that character represents and find it in your life, your world.

As you can see I found some stuff at the convention. Wonder Woman and Thor represent the mythological in both the Marvel and the DC universes. And I found She-ra, one of my all time favorites. My daughter and I used to watch her in the eighties......And the Bat shuriken was the first thing that caught my eye. I will have to practice......

Anyway, here is the video I just finished of our Saturday demo: