Friday, March 13, 2009

How to Build a Torii for a Dojo Shomen

It was always my dream to eventually have my own dojo space. Part of that dream was to put up a nice shomen ('front wall'), with a torii ('arch') honouring the history of dojo's art. And now I have it... I rule!!!

Kevin, one of my students, is a hobby carpenter and a good one at that. He very generously offered to build the torii for the shomen as a contribution to the dojo. I'll explain how it was done. On the right here you can see the tools that were used to mount the torii.

First, he measured out the space the torii was going to go up on, then bought all the lumber (we used pine because it was the least expensive). The lumber was cut and the pieces that needed to be fastened together were glued. He then applied 4 coats of a dark stain to make it match our dojo's decor.

The two vertical pieces of the torii were glued to the wall. The two horizontal pieces were then nailed to the horizontal pieces. In the photo on the left, you can see Kevin hammering in the top piece.

Next, we hung the flags and the dojo's calligraphy scroll inside the torii. The flags came from a local flag store. Artist & graphic designer Kris Tung, a good friend of mine, created the calligraphy scroll for our shomen. The characters feature the name of our dojo, 'West Coast Jiu-jitsu.' We took lots of measurements to make sure we got it in just the right place.

There is symbolism to each piece that is hung on my shomen. The Canadian flag represents my style of Jiu-jitsu, Can-ryu (Canadian style). The Japanese flag represents the roots of the art of Jiu-jitsu. The calligraphy scroll represents the history of our dojo specifically.

I couldn't be happier with the end result. It looks awesome! Now here is a shomen I'm proud to bow toward:

1 comment:

Dan Prager said...

That really looks great!

And a team effort, to boot.