Southland Aikido was originally founded in the early 1990s by James Graves Sensei to provide quality instruction for Aikido in Los Angeles. It was reestablished in 2015 to provide a vibrant and positive environment to practice Aikido. As a member of the United States Aikido Federation and the Aikikai World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo), Japan, Southland Aikido’s mission is to promote traditional Aikido in the Los Angeles area.
About the Southland Aikido Mon
Japanese crests or “mon” were commonly used in medieval Japan to identify family/clan membership or affiliation. Families usually share similar and even identical mon either by coincidence (for families in distant parts) or due to a clan granting its mon to a favored supporter. The use of mon was not restricted to families and clans however. Non-family groups, such as temples and shrines, also used mon.
As the samurai class rose during this time, there was a need to distinguish friends from foes. Mon became a popular form of identification. Centuries of war prior to the peaceful Edo period of Japan spread the popularity of mon usage amongst samurai and noble classes alike. Mon selection came about in many ways: some just picked designs that they liked or designs were selected that refer to a patron deity or a family name. As the warring period of Japan waned, mon usage by other social classes became more prevalent. Merchants, peasants, artisan classes, etc. started using them just as samurai and noble classes did.
The Southland Aikido dojo mon was adopted from a prevalent, hawk-feather bearing mon used in the Kyushu Islands during medieval Japan. The Kyushu prefecture is located in Southwestern Japan. Analogous to Southland Aikido’s location in Southwestern United States, it became a suitable mon for the dojo to adopt. The hawk was also a symbol often used by the samurai as it symbolized generosity and nobility of disposition. It is also the subject of a well-known Japanese proverb:
“The virtuous hawk hides its talons.”
Ethical Governance and Guidelines
Southland Aikido and its instructors do not discriminate in the admission, retention and care of students based upon race, ethnicity, age, national origin, disability, marital status or sexual orientation. The instructors and members are expected to follow at minimum, the guidelines prescribed by the United States Aikido Federation.