The Dojo that is Hidden

By Yossi Sheriff

I grew up in my teacher’s Dojo. I was only thirteen.

We started training in Doron Navon’s old house, he used to live in Afeka. After a year we moved to an old henhouse, cleaned the rubbish, painted and Doron planted a bamboo, dark green and lovely. Everything taking place in such a fitting address: Number 3, Flowers St. between vast empty fields and Kiryat Shaul, the cemetery of Tel Aviv.

Many things happened since, the old hen house is now an interiour design shop and I became a nomad, a travelling Ninjutsu instructor in many Dojo: At the bomb shelter in Jerusalem where every winter we waded to our knees in sewage, at the school corridor in Tel Aviv and at the baby gimbory place in Ramat Hasharon, practicing underneath huge pink elephants- funny. Just like an old indian would say:”Many winters…” and for me many years, many training mats to lift, many toilets to clean.

I do not need a Dojo, I do not need a special training apparel every morning when I practice, most of the times I just do my morning duties in my pajamas. The real estate Dojo is not important, It is temporary, but it is still the place to meet veteran friends and to exchange insights. My Dojo has been Mount Eitan, repeating an old Katori kata for the thousand time, or even this web site and the hidden part of it, the vast AKBAN database where I can talk and learn.

The real Dojo is now an interior decorating shop but my hidden Dojo will never be a shop, it existes under the power of friendship, and passion for martial arts. I tell myself: If we can understand this we can relax. It is easy.

13/12/2006