If those who are near…

אלי לרמן

Translated from Hebrew by: Guy Tutka

During our last visit to Japan, In one of the lessons, Suganuma Sensei said that on his first visit to Israel, he happened to look into my office, and was surprised to see that above my desk hung a Japanese sentence, in my handwriting, saying, 近き者説べば遠き者来らん.

Translated into English it means: "If those who are near will be happy, those who are far will come"

Sensei added that he was very impressed by the fact that I knew the sentence, and hung it over the desk.

Off course I was both very flattered and embarrassed by the fact that he had praised me in front of the Dojo in Japan, but this is not what I wanted to talk about…

I learned this sentence from Sensei himself. Quite a few years ago, in a year when only a few students joined the University Aikido club, Sensei wrote them this sentence.

He then explained that the meaning of the sentence is: do not invest too much time and energy in advertising. Invest your energy in the people who are there. And more than that, turn the Aikido club into a place that creates enjoyment, a place that teaches and inspires. If the members of the club will feel pride from the bottom of their heart because they are part of this club, the rumour will travel great distances.

On the last evening we spent in Japan, Sensei invited me for a private conversation in his office. He handed me an envelope, and asked me to open it.  In it, was the wonderful Calligraphy in the picture, that says, you guessed it:

"If those who are near will be happy, those who are far will come".

An original Calligraphy, signed by Sensei.

It goes without saying that I was touched by Sensei’s gesture.

During our visit to Japan, we all felt that the Dojo members are very proud to be part of it, and that they are happy that Aikido is a significant part of their lives. In other words, the Dojo in Japan sees this saying being fulfilled, in actuality.

My wish for us is that we all succeed in making our Dojo, "The Aikido Center of Israel Nisshin-Kan", into a place where those who are near are happy and proud to be part of. It is indeed a worthy challenge.


As always, I await your enlightening responses.

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