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On January 18, 2014, three Central Coast clubs (Soko Joshi, Palo Alto, and San Jose Buddhist Judo Clubs) celebrated Kagami Biraki in Palo Alto, California. The late Sensei Keiko Fukuda, 10th dan, started Kagami Biraki as a New Year celebration 43 years ago.

This year was the first ever without Sensei Fukuda and the event was both a celebration of her legacy in judo, and a memorial to her. San Jose Buddhist and Palo Alto first joined her in presenting the celebration in the 30th year. The event is based on the traditional Kagami Biraki celebration at the Kodokan and features demonstrations of the seven Kodokan katas.

This year the program was coordinated by Senseis Vaughn Imada (San Jose Buddhist), Cal Kitaura (Palo Alto), Wilina Monar (Soko Joshi), and Kagami Biraki Senior Advisor, Eiko Shepherd, Shichidan, of Kitokan Judo Club, who introduced some different ways of presenting the katas. Seven teams of juniors from San Jose Buddhist and Palo Alto demonstrated the first nine techniques of Nage no kata combined with the first nine techniques of Katame no kata. For instance, the Uki-otoshi throw was followed by a Kesa –gatame hold. Guests performing other katas included Shintaro Nakano and Yuichiro Urano from San Jose State University Judo, and Chase Kenjiro Oishi and Bryce Yuichi Oishi from Taishi Judo Club, and Eiko Shepherd. A regular feature of Sensei Keiko Fukuda’s Kagami Biraki is Ju-no-kata performed to music by three teams in memoriam to a former student of Sensei Fukuda’s who passed away unexpectedly at a young age. Solo exercises (Tandoku renshu) were performed to drum music. Kagami Biraki was a very important event in Sensei Fukuda’s life.

This year the tradition of the jodoka re-dedicating to Judo for the coming year continued. The ceremonies ended as usual with a lunch enjoyed by all the participants and the audience.

Here is the link to this year’s Kagami Biraki photos.