Spreading the Message of Peace Through Japanese Martial Arts:
Mr. Danny Hakim, Founder and Chairman of Israeli NGO, “Budo for Peace”
Original Japanese version was published on WebRonza on Feb. 20, 2019.
Budo for Peace
Karate Dojo in the Bedouin village of Abu Kweder
“Ichi, Nee, San (1, 2, 3),” I hear children’s excited voices from a karate dojo (studio) in a village of Abu Kweder located in the Negev Desert in Israel. In this small Bedouin village, which has no electricity, an Israeli NGO called Budo for Peace (“BFP”) runs a karate program for children. I visited this location with its founder, Mr. Danny Hakim, who holds a 7th degree black belt of Shotokan Karate, to observe a lesson. Teaching children was Hazem Abu Kweder sensei (Japanese word for teacher) who holds a 4th degree black belt. He has been teaching karate for 12 years under the BFP program and now teaches approximately 500 students at 7 dojos.
Until recently, this village did not even have a road connecting it to a main highway. All the children welcomed us with infectious smiles. A 10-year-old Kazuki Kawai, the son of Japanese Embassy’s Cultural Attaché Shion Kazuki who accompanied us, joined the lesson easily, fitting in with the Bedouin children. Mr. Hakim joined as a sensei, and about 40 children, age 6 to 18, participated in the lesson following Japanese shouts, “Rei (bow), Hajime (start), and Yame (stop).” It was obvious that their courteous manners and self-assuredness were a result of the karate lessons. This was Mr. Hakim’s vision.
Children of Abu Kweder village practicing karate
Mr. Hakim came from a prominent Jewish family that immigrated from Egypt to Australia in the 1950s. Although growing up in a far away place from his ancestral homeland, he was a devoted Zionist. A life-changing moment came when his grandmother gave a gift, a year-long lesson of karate, on his Bar Mitzvah. He excelled in karate and moved to Japan in his 20s to receive more advanced lessons. There he met his life-long sensei (teacher) Master Hirokazu Kanazawa, the founder of Shotokan-do International Federation. Mr. Hakim represented Australia, Japan and Israel in numerous international karate tournaments and became a two-time world karate silver medalist. “Budo for Peace”の続きを読む