Between fight and flight

Sometimes a teacher, always a student – an Israeli martial artist’s journey home.

By RONEN SHNIDMAN
April 21, 2011 20:58
Krav to the face

krav to the face_521. (photo credit: Ronen Shnidman)

 
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Imagine embarking on a bullet-speed journey from Tokyo to Bangkok to Haifa with your 14-year-old son over the course of a little over a week. It would be enough if the trip were just a vacation, but say you had to take everything you could carry along with you and leave the place you called home for the past 25 years. What if you were leaving to escape the disastrous aftermath of a terrifying series of earthquakes, a lethal tsunami and subsequent radioactive fallout caused by several leaking nuclear reactors? It sounds like the plot of a blockbuster thriller, but it is just another mercurial year in the life of Israeli martial arts expert Avry Gottesmann and his Japanese-born son, Ness.

Gottesmann began his long and fateful sojourn in the Far East over 40 years ago, when the then-six-year-old son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors living in Haifa began studying karate and judo with local martial artist Avichai Cohen. Even then, the training and discipline of the Asian-style martial arts appealed greatly to Gottesmann. With the encouragement of his late teacher, Gottesmann hoped to learn one day from the Japanese masters.

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