Kagami Biraki, highly successful first year

I bambini si divertono al primo Kagami Biraki

Sarnano in Le Marche, particularly supportive of training and education, is going to become a reference point for both national and international Judo.

In the magnificent Palasport of Sarnano, with its striking oriental design, similar to a traditional Dojo (normally, the place where you practise Judo, but, in more profound way, we can say that the Dojo is the place in which we search for the Way), is the ideal place to host a Judo event like the Kagami Biraki. Students from the Judo school of Corridonia, Andrea Valenti 2nd Dan and Fabio Cirilli 2nd Dan, gave a spectacular performance that highlighted various Judo techniques; in particular those forms of control which in Judo terminology are: “Katame waza” (control techniques) used in connection with throws (Nage waza) and forms of ground control: Osae waza (immobilisation) – Shime waza (strangulation) – Kansetsu waza (arm locks).

Stefano Proietti and Stefano Di Lello, already well-known to many Judo followers for their impressive achievements in the exercise of Katame no Kata, performed a fascinating demonstration of the first Judo Kata developed by Jigoro Kano, Ju no Kata (the form of giving way) . This time, we saw Stefano Di Lello as Tori and Stefano Proietti as Uke. Ju no Kata is an exercise that aims to help us understand the principles of adapting to different situations that may arise during free practice or “Randori“, one of the fundamental exercises of Judo in the Dojo.

The program, skilfully created by Judo Master C. Croceri, contained another performance by two black belts from the Dojo Kenshiro Abbe of Corridonia: Andrea Croceri, 3rd Dan, and Michael Gentili, 2nd Dan, both judoka at the national level. They performed some spectacular standing techniques and their combined understanding was marked by perfect synchronism of rare beauty.

It was then the turn of Judo Master Roberto Paniccià. With a demonstration of Kime no Kata (form of the decision), Judo Master Paniccià played the role of Tori and Judo Master Stefano Proietti played the role of Uke. The display was followed with great interest by both the audience and young Judo students alike, who watched mesmerised: this Judo exercise employs some of the weapons once used by the Samurai both from a kneeling position, “Idori” (techniques performed whilst kneeling), as well as from a standing position, “Tachiai” (techniques performed whilst standing). A masterful execution by the two who compete regularly in Kata competitions.

There then followed a display by some young stars from the organizer’s own club: Paolo Cirilli, an upcoming talent and aiming to reach the National Judo level (the younger brother of Fabio Cirilli, 2nd Dan) and Marco Meconi, from a Judo family. Both Paolo and Marco have coloured belts; Paolo has the brown (1st Kyo) and Marco the green (3rd Kyo). The decision to reward these two Judoka from the Dojo Kenshiro Abbe was taken following their achievements and improvement throughout the year. Their abilities to express beauty and coordination in the technical movements was presented for all to witness.

Next came Judo experts from the National and International arenas: Stefano Proietti and Stefano Di Lello, well-known to followers of Judo for their achievements in Katame no Kata, the form of exercises with techniques for controlling on the ground starting with Immobilisation (Osae waza), then Strangulation (Shime waza) and finally, Arm lock techniques (Kansetsu waza).

From the Judo Yawara of Porto Sant’Elpidio, Federica Fonza, with her Judo Master Roberto Paniccià, showed that it’s not just men and boys who practise Judo. Federica came second in the Women’s Junior Italian championships.

To finish the first part of this series of demonstrations, Judo Master Corrado Croceri, 6th Dan, and organizer and creator of the event, took his role as Tori with Judo Master Roberto Paniccià, 5th Dan, as Uke, and gave a performance of Koshiki no Kata (the form of the things old).

Judo Master Stefano Proietti narrated to help everyone understand the meaning of this exercise, imported into Judo by the founder, J. Kano, from his experience at the Kito school.

Jigoro Kano, as he was studying Ju Jutsu (literally, the art of giving way) first at the Tenjin shin yo Ryu school and then at the Kito Ryu school under the direction of Master Likubo Konen, also known as Tsunetoshi Ikubo, often practised and studied this kata. The exercise, which simulates how someone wearing real Yoroi Kumiuchi armour would move, was the icing on the cake and ended the morning’s demonstrations perfectly.

The liveliest part of the ceremony came next where the stars were undoubtedly the children and young people. Directed by the expert Judo Master Roberto Paniccià, the youngsters gave life to an exciting lesson in Judo Extemporanea, showing the spirit and the joy of practising Judo in the dojo. The result was very effective in making the Kagami Biraki ceremony both festive and full of enthusiasm.

Judo Master Roberto Paniccià skilfully demonstrated that Judo, when adapted to even very young children, can be highly engaging and extremely effective.

Judo with small children employs didactic and pedagogical research with continuous and various stimuli to develop and refine basic motor skills, hugely important for this age group, as well as developing the intellect which is just as crucial.

Judo as a form of education with various exercises given by Judo Master Roberto Paniccià in the form of a game is, as has been repeated many times by the famous and highly respected Master Alberto Manzi, “thinking”. If we accept this definition by Master Manzi, that a game can be used as a learning tool on the intellectual plane – and who would not agree? – then Judo for children is undoubtedly a very appealing discipline.

The morning’s events concluded with the traditional light-hearted moment when all Judoka eat together on the tatami. Tables were set up on the sides for guests and families who were also able to savour a moment of shared closeness and friendship; two important themes seen repeatedly throughout the Kagami Biraki ceremony. The warm, friendly atmosphere, appreciated by everyone, was made even more enjoyable by the organized service by the students from the Judo school of Corridonia.

In the afternoon, the organisers experimented using a tournament formula with educational refereeing with Ne waza (ground fighting) and involving all participants.

“A useful and important experience. Very satisfying”, said Judo Master Corrado Croceri. “An ideal time to come together and grow. I’m sure that this event will become an annual tradition and will attract even more people next year. Amongst all the other initiatives, this one must happen again to reinforce the motivation and desire to practise and to help clarify the reason why this illustrious stranger, who answers to the name of Judo, is an intelligent proposal for today’s modern society.”

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