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Japan, 700 years of martial tradition - Yoroi Kizome - Kagamibiraki

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For a complete video with all the ceremony explained, check out last year's video:

Japanese modern Budo are a heritage of ancient traditions going back to the 12th century.
A tradition that evolved from the ruthless killings of the Kamakura jidai civil wars, to modern ways of self-development that aim to benefit the people of the world.

Going through many changes along the way, Japan is perhaps the civilization that has the most reflected on the deep meaning of martial ways.
Martial ways survived the relative peace of the Edo period and were enriched with arts, spirituality and religion.
Martial ways survived the Meiji revolution and the westernization of Japanese society, evolving into ways of education.
Martial ways survived the defeat of WWII, and continued to evolve to stay relevant to the people of their time.

The Kagamibiraki ceremony and the Yoroi Kizome ceremony that take place yearly at the Nippon Budokan are here to honor the History of those arts.
Budo demonstrations are held as an act of modernity that shows what is accomplished today in Dojos around the world on a daily basis.
And the Budo Hajime, first practice of the year, shows us the diversity today's adepts. The younger generation, practicing tirelessly, ready to take over and carry on the tradition, in their own way.

This year, we were invited by the association for the conservation of ancient armors to witness and capture this event from behind the scenes.
The highlight video we publish today is a tribute 700 hundred years of tradition, a sign of respect to the people of our time, and a bottle at sea for future generations.


The Kagamibiraki is a traditional ceremony which translates to opening the mirror (symbolically).
Taking its roots in the Shogunate, it is strongly linked to Budo practice and it is natural that the Budo Hajime (first practice of the year) is celebrated at the same time.

At the Nippon Budokan, the ceremony is held at the beginning of January and consists in:
- The Kagamibiraki, with a historical reconstruction (in armor).
- Budo Demonstrations (by the 9 official Budo).
- Budo Hajime (first practice of the year, all practitioners present can practice).
- The Oshiruko kai. “Oshiruko” is a traditional and popular sweet azuki bean paste soup with mochi (which symbolize the sharing of the mochi that was broken before during the ceremony).

--- CREDITS ---
Footage by Seido Co., Ltd.:

--- MUSIC ---
Our Last Stand by Hill (

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Kagami Biraki is a rice cake breaking ceremony dating from the 15th Century when samurai would dedicate rice cakes (mochi) on New Year's Day to the gods to purify their weapons and armor. After the New Years holidays they would break and share the mochi with their family and allies to strengthen bonds between them.

In modern times, kagami biraki is the first martial arts practice for many dojos. At Nippon Budokan on Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi on the second Monday of January) they do a rice-breaking ceremony in samurai armor then do demonstrations of nine martial arts in the following order - kyudo, karate, jukendo, aikido, naginata, judo, shorinji kempo, kendo, and sumo. Then at the end eight of these martial arts are all demonstrated at the same time - budo hajime.

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Archery in Japanese armor - Kyujutsu in Yoroi - First attempt

First time wearing my new armor. Hakama and Jinbaori are made by me. And of course I wanted to try out some archery in it. It was for fun, nevertheless, still I learned a lot from it:

* Look for different Hakama, so it fits in the Suneate

* Losen the Himo of the armor in order to be able to reach full draw

* Use Yugake (glove) instead of Thumbring

* Etc...

It's not easy for the first time. Heavy armor, hard to move, etc. Deep respect for Samurai on the battlefield in summertime!

All educational things aside... It is truly a lot of fun. Thanks to Iron Mountain Armory for the fantastic Yoroi; thanks to Sarmat Archery for the excellent Hankyu.



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