The Jewish Content of the Seminar
Israel, Zionism, Torah; Jewish Pride
The Jewish content of the seminar is interwoven with the street self defense.
The goal of the seminar is twofold; an introduction to effective street self-defense and the formation of, or strengthening of, a connection to Israel and Judaism and the nation of Israel. Every aspect of the presentation is designed to portray Israel and Judaism in a positive light. For many participants, just the sight of the self-defense/combat instructor with a kipa, beard and tzitzith (ritual fringes) is enough to challenge their existing concepts of Jews and Judaism and open them up to new possibilities.
We begin with an explanation of what makes Israeli self-defense different. Unlike many other martial arts that are preserved for sport or culture, we emphasize that Israeli martial arts are still being used primarily for self-defense. Israel is at war and its soldiers and citizens are targets. As such we the people of Israel must develop the tools to defend ourselves. For us it is not a sport but the preservation of life, as such we are very serious.
I stress the concept of the warrior/scholar in Jewish history. Many Jews and non-Jews do not think of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, King David and so many other key Biblical figures as warriors, but indeed they were.
They were religious leaders, they studied the Torah but they also studied the art of warfare. Indeed the Torah is filled with references to the ancient Israelites/Jews studying martial arts; the art of the sword, the dagger, the bow and arrow, the spear.
We have always been a nation of warriors because we had no other choice.
I stress that long before the Japanese were doing Judo; Jacob was wrestling with an angel in the form of a man. Rashi’s Biblical commentary sounds like a description of a judo move. The modern Hebrew word for wrestler, Mitabek, comes from that first match between Jacob and the angel. The root of Mit'abek is Avak; dust, the two fighters kicked up a lot of dust in their fight. Every modern Israeli wrestler should know the roots of his sport.
Suddenly, in the eyes of the seminar participants, Jacob is no longer just an old man with a long beard; he is an early Hebrew wrestler, a warrior, a role model. When it was time to fight, he knew how to. Abraham was a warrior and he trained all the members of his household in warfare. When his nephew Lot was taken captive; he and his men knew what to do.
We bring the old Hebrew warriors to life and show a direct link to our modern fighters.
At graduation ceremonies of the Israel Defense Forces every soldier receives a modern rifle and an ancient Book; the Torah. The ceremonies often take place at the Kotel (The last remaining wall of the Temple in Jerusalem) or at Masada. The modern Israeli soldier is being reminded of his link to the Hebrew warriors of the past, the Torah he is given will teach him what he is fighting for.
For the Jewish participants of my seminars I want them to feel the sword of Gideon in their hands and the blood of King David flowing through their veins. They are the sons and daughters of an ancient proud people, it is time they woke up and studied their heritage and history.
Whatever a Jew’s prior connection or experience, I want them to walk out of my class feeling a little taller, a little prouder, a little more Jewish.
For our non –Jewish participants I hope they will gain an honest appreciation for a much misunderstood people and the difficult conflict we are involved in. These college students are the leaders of tomorrow; the journalists and politicians, the voters and law makers. Many of our greatest friends and allies are non-Jews.
Read Krav Maga article in "Shiur Times"