A Japanese martial art school’s logo is often referred to as a KAMON or sometimes just a MON. A DOJO’s KAMON is an important aspect of any martial arts school because it often possesses symbolic significance reflecting the values and culture of the school. Below is the KAMON for our Aikido martial arts school.
Water is a symbol of life, purity, and power. The two waterfalls in the Castle Rock AIKIDO KAMON represent the two universal sources of power: internal power and external power. They remind us that all things in life are created twice: first in the mind, and once again in the physical world. The two waterfalls are also meant to represent the multiple sources of power at Castle Rock AIKIDO. Our DOJO’s strength is found in the acknowledgement of the value of each of our instructors and their unique backgrounds, experiences, and lineages. The waterfalls converge into a single pool where we can all teach, learn, share, and grow Aikido together in a unified, collaborative spirit.
Japanese Kanji (MAKOTO)
Within the turbulent water of the waterfalls’ bottom, an astute observer may notice the Japanese character for MAKOTO, which means “honesty,” “sincerity,” and “integrity.” MAKOTO is frequently articulated as one of seven virtues of Bushido. A student’s journey along the Aikido path will, at times, challenge the student with questions relating to his or her degree of self-honesty and integrity in how a person interacts with oneself and with others. The virtue of MAKOTO will gradually emerge and/or increasingly reveal itself as a student progresses through the Aikido ranks. The longer a student practices the art of Aikido, he or she will discover new qualities and insights about themselves that can then be taken off the mat and into their day-to-day life.
The red stamp or HANKO in the lower right corner of our logo also reads MAKOTO. Castle Rock AIKIDO is committed to interacting with its students with honest integrity. Our fair, “no contracts” policy is just one representation of how we strive to conduct ourselves with a sense of honesty and integrity. Unlike many other martial arts schools, the students of Castle Rock AIKIDO can be assured that their Aikido schoool will always be a DOJO first, and a business second – and not the other way around.
The Japanese characters or KANJI on the left side of the logo read ‘Ai’-‘ki’-‘do,’ meaning “the way of peace and harmony” or “way of harmonizing energy.” It is the name of our style of martial art. The KANJI on the right side of the logo read SHIRO IWA (or JYOU-GAN), which translates as Castle Rock, the town in which our martial arts school is located.
In Japanese culture, dragonflies symbolize many things including courage, happiness, and martial success. The dragonfly (or TONBO) was a favored symbol of strength among ancient samurai and dragonflies were frequently depicted on samurai battle armor. This association came about as a result of the similarity between a Japanese word for victory (SHOURI) and one of many words for dragonfly (SHORYO). The significance of the dragonfly in the Castle Rock AIKIDO kamon is multi-faceted, however, the virtue of courage is emphasized. It means, for example, having the courage to do what one believes to be right even when that means doing something that may be viewed as unpopular by others.
In some cultures, dragonflies represent honesty and the transcendence of self-created Illusions. The dragonfly in our KAMON also emphasizes transcendence. Through the diligent practice of Aikido each of us can transcend our own, personal, self-created illusions and discover how much more we are all capable of experiencing and having in our lives.
Kamon Shape (TSUBA)
Lastly, we should recognize the deliberate shape of the DOJO KAMON, which is that of a TSUBA or hand guard of a Japanese samurai sword. The samurai sword is a powerful symbol in Japanese culture symbolizing, among many things, a person’s soul and inner strength. Like the dragonfly, the hole of the TSUBA (that cone-like shape in the center of the logo) through which the sword’s blade passes also represents personal transcendence because of how we all must, metaphorically, pass through our own personal challenges.