Pic shows Masaaki Hatsumi (left) talking to Imi Lichtenfeld (center) Doron Navon (right).
For years Jack Hoban has suggested that I go to Japan to meet his teacher Hatsumi Sensei and to experience the Japanese culture first hand. Back in May of this year it looked like I would have the time and resources to join him on one of his pilgrimages to the Bujinkan Hombu to finally meet the people and experience the martial art and culture first hand.
Knowing that I also trained in Krav Maga, Jack forwarded me an article where Imi Lichtenfeld (Israeli Defense Force's first Krav Maga Head Instructor) was introduced to Masaaki Hatsumi by Doron Navon who was the first non-Japanese person to pass the godan test. Doron who was from Israel had also trained in Krav Maga and was a Judo champion.
After being introduced to Hatsumi and watching him train, Imi is said to have told all of his students at that time to go study Ninpo. So, in Jack's own way was he was connecting the dots for me as well. Ironic?! Well, it gets better: You see I was first introduced to Ninpo Taijutsu or Budo Taijutsu in the 1980's by reading Stephen Hayes books and training with friends who had gone to seminars, but the first real experience that I had with a shidoshi (senior teacher) was when in 1990 a good friend of mine Kevin DeVries and I went to Ann Arbor to a seminar with (you guessed it) Doron Navon.
I remember Doron being the real deal. Doron was a gentleman warrior who knew his stuff and was very good at his art and as an instructor. At his seminar not only did he teach concepts from Budo Taijutsu, but also Feldenkrais method of somatic education as well (of which he is also an instructor of). I came away from the seminar very impressed.
Who would have guessed that almost 25 years later my connection to Krav Maga, Ninpo Taijutsu, Hatsumi Sensei, Doron Navon, Israel and Japan would be brought full circle?!
Then the first day at the Bujinkan Hombu I meet one of Doron's first students: Moti Nativ! Nice guy, very Isreali! =)
It is truly a strange and wonderful path!
Now I'm off to train with Nagato Sensei for a few hours.
More to come soon!
All the best,