What is Yama Gawa?
Yamagawa is made up of two Japanese words. Yama (山) which means 'mountain' and Gawa (川) meaning 'river' or 'stream'. Darren Ball (Shihan of the Yamagawa Budo) describes his inspiration for using this as the name for the Dojo as follows:
- "In 1999, my best friend Nathaniel went to Malaysia with the Australian Army Reserves as part of his service. Whilst there he was exposed to some of the Chinese culture and came across a man who was inscribing Chinese characters on fine polished stones and making jewelry out of them. Nathaniel purchased one of these bracelets as a gift for me. He chose it because of the inscription, which is a famous Chinese saying: "In strength like the mountain, in fluidity like the ocean". This struck a chord with me as Nathaniel always had a way of inspiring me. I had recently begun my Shiatsu practice and was getting heavily into Zen philosophy. The 'Mountain' and 'River' had been important natural icons for Asian people for millennia inspiring great schools of thought and culture. I decided then on the name 'Yamagawa' or Mountain-River to represent the duality of many things, Martial Arts being one of them. The Yin and Yang, Hard and Soft, Fast and Slow, etc. that flows through every aspect of our training is reflected in the phrase 'Yamagawa'.
...I started thinking about some designs for a logo that could illustrate this philosophy. I soon came up with a design of a circle with a mountain in the middle and a flowing river winding down the middle. The mountain had a sun setting behind it, all of which had iconographical meanings. The dilemma, of course, was that I could see in my mind exactly what I wanted, but I was never good at design on paper. This is where I had the good fortune of coming across a woman named Caitlyn. This artist managed to put onto paper my thoughts, feelings and personal philosophy behind the naming of the Dojo and came up with the existing design. She also represented the never-ending path of training and development by making the entire logo a continuous, flowing line. This in itself is a powerful lesson.
It is something that has developed from a genuine passion and has quickly evolved into a symbol that, I can honestly say, represents how I feel about my training, my Dojo, my students and my club."