Greece 2016 seminar, some thoughts


December 22, 2016
Yossi Sheriff

Exarcheia neighbourhood in Athens is Tel Aviv, 50 years ago. The faces of the old people in the streets, grandmothers carrying baskets from the market, slowly climbing the steep streets, the bookshops, the aromas of family cooking at noon, I am sure I smelled Kaptadakya and Pastitsio.

I came for the winter seminar armed with Gaby Frischlander. Gaby is the senior teacher in Niradin, a Doron Navon Shodan and an AKBAN Nidan. Gaby came to test Vasilis and Aris for senior instructor level together with me.

Gaby and me have been friends for more then forty years. We are older now, but we used to play hide and seek in the workers’ neighbourhood, fought in the same elementary school, heard music in the same high school parties and stood in awe in the same dojo. Simple things, same old Seiko watch, same old shoes that I mend all the time, same jeans, same morning training routine.

Will power, courage and dedication. This combination of characteristics is not rare, we see it in many dojos. What is rare is something that we saw in the Detant workshop, something unique to the Greek dojo, a degree of spirituality. Economical hardship, creates, in some people, wealth.

I honor this combination of courage and spirituality. Alchemists’ gold is not dependent on loans from corporations, it stems from correct work, respect and awareness.

New year is coming, with new challenges. Whenever I go on a new hike I take many looks back, to see where I came from, old knowledge, old techniques, old friends.

For the new year here’s what I send to all who work: Get over difficulties, practice daily, breath deeply, thank you, Ευχαριστώ πολύ!

deep bow

What does the sheep stand for?


May 25, 2014
Yossi Sheriff

So, this is a Kurd riddle: A farmer has to cross the river with his only sheep, a sack of cabbage for the winter and a big wolf. What he sees when he comes to the river is one tiny boat with place for two. It’s either him and the wolf, and then the sheep eats the cabbage, or if he takes the cabbage, the wolf eats the sheep.
You get the picture…

So it’s a simple kid’s riddle and the guy can solve it with some extra rowing, some extra work.

When my teacher told me this, I just figured it’s a lame riddle.
“Nope,” he said, “the point is not how to juggle the passage, the point is that the wolf comes with you”, he said: “you have to take the wolf”.

So I am watching my wolf, sometimes it scares me, there used to be a time it got me into trouble, many times it protected me, but for sure, my students, and many of my friends here in Israel have a wolf.

So the riddle is not one of transportation, instead it points to the necessity of being the master of the things you carry with you, voluntarily or not.

wolfImage CC BY-SA 2.0 by Dennis Matheson