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January 12, 2010

Kuviakangeiko - Day One

Welcome to Kangeiko culture, when the days are longer, the alarm clocks louder, and the breakfasts tastier—and shared with everybody in the house.

Modeled after Japanese samurai training, Kangeiko is a sacred tradition for Dodd-Mead house (of which I am a member). It's a part of COUP's annual festival of early morning calisthenics: Kuviasungnerk.

Dodd-Mead boasts the greatest participation at the event for twelve years running, and they're serious about keeping it. I started feeling the energy on Saturday night, when I received an e-mail from my resident heads to get rested and ready for the rigors of the week ahead.

On Sunday there were posters in the house bathrooms, motivating us all to, “Nap as a House,” and to take part today because, for one, “Your Mom Does Kangeiko.” Amused, I proceeded to take pictures of every one. At the final house meeting before the big day, Dodd-Mead worked out the details on wake-up calls and preparation strategies.

This morning, I woke up to my alarm ringing at 5:30 a.m., thought it was playing tricks on me or maybe broken and stumbled out of bed, into the hallway to find a good number of my housemates assembled in the lounge, bleary-eyed but awake, bundled up for the cold outside.

While lining up in front of Henry Crown with my housemates, happy about how many of us had shown up, we discussed the merits of getting together as a house to bring home the win—and the $100 prize.

“We do it all for the shirt,” someone joked, referring to the free t-shirt earned by those who attend every day of Kangeiko; it separates the die-hards from the merely crazy.

Once inside, Associate Dean of Students Jean S. Treese prepared to lead two cycles of the salute to the sun yoga routine. “I think this is the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” Treese said, surveying the crowd.

Afterwards, the Balle Bhangra, RBIM, Hwa Rang Do, and Aikido RSO’s were on hand to get people moving to start the day in a fun way. As for me and my house, we adjourned to an empty squash court to engage in some good, old Duck Duck Goose—wipe-outs ensued—and then, with relief, sat down to breakfast, the dining hall mostly empty except for us.

Every morning this week I’ll be rising before the sun. Though not pumped about crashing during my 9:30 a.m. class (already up for four hours!), I am looking forward to the change of pace and seeing my fellow students and housemates in a different light. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Tiffany Young is a staff writer for the Maroon.