Understanding the New Daito Ryu Mon
In undertaking the recent split from Kodokai it became necessary to develop a new mon 紋 or crest. Goldberg Sensei worked with his senior students to carefully consider the new design. Just like medieval Europe, feudal Japan developed a complex system of heraldry with a variety of symbols and signifiers to indicate family relationships and values. The mon was an important embodiment of the ideals and shared values of a group. In creating a new crest, we drew on traditional elements from Japanese heraldry:
1. The outer circle is called a “yukiwa” or snow circle and is an auspicious symbol of new growth, as snowmelt nourishes the plants in the Spring.
2. The central device is a “yamagata” or mountain shape, depicting two intersecting mountains. This symbolizes the inextricable link between Kiyama Shihan (wood mountain) and his student Goldberg Sensei (gold mountain). This connection is and always will be at the heart of the Daito Ryu we practice.
3. The color is shin-shu iro (辰砂) or true cinnabar. This is the ancient color of vermilion that has been derived from mercury sulfide ore since the Song Dynasty, and symbolizes resurrection and continuity.
4. Significantly, there is no new ryuha name on the mon. This is not a new branch. The curriculum is not changing. The techniques Goldberg Sensei teaches and his students practice are Kodokai techniques as passed down from Inoue Menkyo Kaiden and Kiyama Shihan. When asked what style we study, the answer is simply Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. The studying is more important than the style. Goldberg Sensei is open to training with any martial artist regardless of style or rank as long as they are dedicated to serious training with an open heart. That is shugyo.
Hope to see you all on the mat in the future.