U.S. Taido Kangeiko 2019 (Documentary Short)


[Japanese music] – My name is Mitsuaki Uchida. I’m a 6th degree black
belt in the Japanese martial art of Taido. [Japanese drums beating] Kangeiko is one of our
biggest events of the year. This year we had about
115 children and about the same number of teenagers and adults. Kangeiko takes place during New Years, and New Years is the
largest holiday in Japan, so there is a lot of aspects of New Years that we introduced to
our American students. Sensei will set up many of the elements like mochi and sake, then we have our opening ceremony. [bell ringing] [bell ringing] – [Mitsuaki] Then the sweating begins. [kids shouting] [kids shouting] So for the children we do 100 punches. For the advanced students it’s nothing. It’s just like a normal warm up, but for the white belts, they
never really just sat there and done 100 all at once, and shouting, and staying low, and you
can when we get to about 70 their faces are like “Wow this is really difficult!” It’s a wonderful thing to
see kids getting challenged. You’d be surprised at how
people rise to the occasion and how it creates character. [kids shouting] So after the children’s
workout we talk about all of the various aspects
of Japanese New Year and one of the big traditions
in Japan is making mochi. – Success and we believe if we eat this, you gain the power, some of
them called chikara mochi, chikara means power, power mochi. – And mochi is a Japanese rice cake. We put it into a big tree trunk, it has like a bowl shape in it
and we put this steaming rice in there and then we
have these huge hammers and we start hitting the
rice and pounding it. And we are maybe one of
the only karate schools in America that does this. [Japanese music] [bass drum beating] [Japanese music] [bass drum beating] Like if I just think about it I get like my hair’s are raising
I get like goosebumps. It’s intense because it’s
not easy to do 1000 punches and if you are really hitting hard, and you’re really staying low, by the time we get to 990
your hands are aching, your shoulders are aching,
your legs are shaking. Nobody’s giving up though. “Uchida Kai-Cho ni rei” “Otogai ni rei!” Last 100! Stay low, stay low, push it hard. And when we get to that last 100 it’s fun, it’s like the finale of
a good firework show, it’s like the best fireworks
and the biggest ones are last and people just go crazy
for those last 10 punches, screaming their heads
off and hitting so hard and when you’re done the
feeling of completing something that was not easy to do, it’s a really nice feeling,
confidence gaining feeling. [techno music] So after the 1000 punches
finishes we like to invite the students up by belt rank
and have them do something that everybody in their belt rank can do, so the white belts will come
forward and we’ll do some more basic movements, or even some parts of the first hokei,
which is the first form. Then invite the purple belts in, and they’re a little bit better, and then the green belts, and they’re a little better, and then you can see the quality rising and you can see the difficulty
of what they’re doing rising as you go belt to belt, belt to belt, and by the time
we get to these high school college-age black belts,
I mean they’re doing amazing movements and
everybody is just blown away. The black belts are doing
backflips and backflip twists and no handed cartwheels
and some of these people are just like I cannot wait! I cannot wait to get to that level! [Japanese music playing] To do a karate demonstration without breaking some boards is
like that’s the wrong idea. It’s also a metaphor for
a New Year’s resolution and the breaking of bad habits. I tried to project the
habits onto the board and act of me breaking
that board is the symbol that I’m really going
to try hard to not do this type of thing this coming year. The idea of having a sake toast is a very very Japanese tradition. Sensei will call us in
by belt ranks so myself and the full-time instructors,
we will all go forward and we sit down karate
style in front of Sensei, and we pour each other sake because you don’t pour your own sake. That’s the sign of a
person who drinks too much, and you take turns
pouring each other’s sake, you just make a toast and
happy New Year to Sensei. You will say Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu, which means happy New Year
and we will have a small sake toast and then we will exit
from in front of Sensei and then the next group,
third degree black belts and then second and first and on all the way down to the white belts, and once again it’s one of
those things if your Sensei is not Japanese, it
might be something that you’ve never experienced
before but it’s something that all of our students
are very familiar with, and I do have to say the
disclaimer is that we give the under-21 people, we give
them a green tea or Sprite. It’s not sake we’re not
like corrupting the youth. [laughing] I think martial arts
teaches you to look beyond a person’s outside, and I
think that that’s a theme that people can see is going on here and it makes everyone
feel comfortable here. The spirit of Taido is that
you go into it thinking I’m going to learn
kicks, punches and flips and I’m going to become like
this weapon of destruction, but then not very long
after you start training you start to realize, this
isn’t about hurting people, this is about bettering myself, and then as you train
more you start to realize I’m using these techniques that I learned outside of Taido and I’m using
them not just the techniques but the principles of what you learn here. Honor, and respect, and
loyalty, and kindness, and compassion, these things
they can’t help but to start to spell out into your everyday life. I think Taido is visually very
beautiful and very attractive to even people who have
never done martial arts. It has a grace and elegance
to it that other martial arts maybe they don’t show
or maybe they don’t have and Taido has it. It’s a different look
than any other martial art and I think that draws people to Taido. It brings people together
and I think that if, I think that society
would be a wonderful place if everybody did Taido. Ossu.

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