Friday, February 24, 2012

// // 18 comments

Are Biblical Warrior Arts Kosher?

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

karate

A religious young man asked:

I just wanted to ask your opinion, I found this on online, I don’t know if you ever heard of him, but he claims to have the techniques of the time of the avos (Hebrew Fathers). Do you have any idea if it comes from somewhere else, or it is true, if there are any problems with his teaching... “Biblical Warrior Arts”

Gutman’s response:

Surely you have better things to do with your time.

     Without commenting on this man or his system, know that when you spend your time involved in martial arts, you gain a militant headspace, and you walk around all day long looking for trouble to strike. You will have to watch out for yourself!

     When you spend your time remembering G-d, you gain a spiritual headspace, and you walk around all day long looking for Jews to help…and G-d watches out for you!

     Which way would you rather spend your day?

Reb Akiva adds:

Speaking purely as a system, martial arts are generally ok.  They rarely involve any form of spirituality. (Some do involve methods of “focus”, generally in a non-spiritual fashion, though sometimes at the highest levels they suddenly switch to calling on entities for power.)

BUT…people often become obsessed with them.  They delve into the surrounding culture and seek out moral principles related to them.  They work to get into the martial head space and stay there. 

Every Jew should learn the skills to defend themselves.  But turning it into life’s focus is the path of Easav.

Tora DoJo offers a Jewish themed karate system in the U.S. and Israel, and Krav Maga is the Israeli designed mixed martial art with a focus on facing an armed opponent and now taught world wide.

The “biblical warrior art” you’re referring to is called Abir and is taught in Jerusalem, Israel.  In specific answer to the question asked, “Do you have any idea if it comes from somewhere else, or it is true, if there are any problems with his teaching”, our blog commentors speak very well of the founder and as I said above, there’s generally no problem with martial arts and we have heard only good things about Abir.

18 comments:

Gutman said...

Although I agree with what Reb Akiva added to my article, for the record, when the karate students on Okinawa attained the very high level of 5th degree black belt they were taught about the "spirits" they had to call on for help in mastering the higher art.

Akiva said...

Really?

Gutman said...

That is what the karate people told me in 1956 on Okinawa.

Leah said...

Hmmmmm....sounds like the male version of yoga? Same stuff just different positions and the like?

Anonymous said...

I have to totally disagree with you on this. First of all my husband is highly skilled on a very high level in the fighting arts. He never speaks of them to anyone - even if there is a conversation going on about them. He is very modest and this is something he leaned from his teachers. You are taught humility very expensively early on and to AVOID confrontation. First you escape if you can but if you can't you defend yourself. This is the case with Abir. It's very disturbing to hear you criticize this man without having a clue about the art he practices or the soul of this person. He is extremely, extremely G-d focused, which you would have noticed had you done your research. I consider what you have said lashon hara since you do not have a clue - this time - about what you speak.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syHyD8aPpkA

Moriah said...

"Are Biblical Warrior Arts Kosher?"


Is this what you would say about King David and the tribes too? Seriously, you don't think they sat around all day studying, do you? They had to learn how to fight...

suzanne said...

Moriah is absolutely correct. While I don't know anything about this particular instructor, defending oneself is not just a basic human right, but it is a Torah responsibility incumbent upon every Torah-practicing person. God said to love life, to choose life, to defend the innocent. Read the Tanach! How many of our greatest examples were simultaneously extremely close to God, and knew how to defend their people from oppressors! Avraham a war, and he was the epitome of kindness. There is no contradiction here! Yehoshua, Devorah, Gideon, Shaul, David, and so on... served Heaven with all their hearts, and every ounce of their strength. Read Megillat Esther! Hashem saved us by allowing us the opportunity to DEFEND OURSELVES IN BATTLE against all that tried to massacre us.
I personally practice Krav Maga. I started when Hashem sent me a dream telling me it was time. I am not the "fighting type" by far, (I was an amateur ballet dancer) but I have to empty my heart before my Creator, and ask Him to give me the heart of a lion, like David and Devorah before me. It's not about me, it's about His commandment, which is my soul's job to fulfill.
I simply can't believe the 2 responses on this blog. I can't quote enough stories and pesukim to support my point. Please reconsider your position on martial arts.

Eved HaShem said...

I would recommend you talk with Rav Lazer Brody. He knows Rav (yes, he is a Rav) Yehoshua Sofer personally. He is of the highest moral caliber, and if he could garner enough support, should be a Rosh Yeshiva. R. Gutman, I have a lot of respect for you, but I think you are way off-base on this one.

Gutman said...

Eved, I never said anything negative about R Sofer. My article addressed the martial head space vs. the spiritual head space. My opinion comes from personal experiences of many people. As an example, I have a friend who teaches sports and loves to post boxing matches on facebook. He feels these improve character. I feel that they are violent. I have 2 black belts in Judo & put myself through college as the bouncer in the toughest bar in town. No matter how good you think you are someone can always come up behind you & hit you in the head with a bottle. It is better to concentrate on G-d, than selfdefense unless you work as a guard. be well

Yitz Jacob said...

I'd just like to point out that in a number of martial arts, they often start the session with you bowing to eachother AND to a photograph or Idol..

so you should definitely add a note about that.

(bowing to a photo of the founder of the martial art may not be a problem -- i really don't know enough and i guess it depends whether other people *worship* that individual-- but bowing to an idol, whether or not you "really mean it" is a violation of a de'oraita, unless I'm mistaken.)

Also, to echo "Eved HaShem" I once was skeptical about the Abir martial arts, and happened to email R' Lazer Brody who insisted on quelling any fears I had regarding its kosher-ness. (Though I never pursued it any further.)

yaakov said...

reb gutman: abir yehoshua sofer is a tzadik. he often fasts for the sake of israel. he knows the tanach. he is traditional temani (yemenite)...please post an apology as what you wrote about him is implied criticism of the family tradtions of our people for generations.

please reb gutman, le'shem shamayim, please delete this article...if you or akiva really want to make the proper tikkun here, one of you should interview abir sofer with the proper respect.

he is a remarkable person and a living treasure of our people... he is a living library of what david hamelech knew.

please, delete this article because by allowing it to remain on the site is an implied lashon hara on him and on what he has dedicated his life to. who else in israel is preserving these ancient traditions?

please, for the sake of israel, delete this article!!!!

Gutman said...

Yaacov, Again, the article did not say anything bad about R Sofer, not a word. The article discusses the martial mindset that comes to students of martial arts vs the spiritual mindset that comes to people who focus on Hashem

Moriah said...

Despite what you say about not speaking badly of rav Sofer, you DO speak disparagingly of his "head space." You cannot have it both ways. Please do not be stubborn and deny the tone of your article. There is nothing wrong with what he is doing and I recommend all am Israel learn Torah AND self defense. Should we all be like the Jews of WWII who went to the pits and gas chambers without a fight? Is this undignified in your opinion? Hashem does not want us to rely on miracles. He wants us to do the work and He will assist us. Just as the work you do is important, so is the work of rav Sofer. Let every Jew know how to defend himself his family and his fellow Jew.

yaakov said...

please, l'shem shamayim. we don't have enough tsuris? the article is disrespectful of a tzadik who i have corresopnded with on many occasions.

you are being disrespectful and insulting of a highly revered temani (yemenite) tzadik. this looks awful on a chassidic blog and in general.

please please for G-d's sake remove this article now and make a tikkun by doing a proper respectful interview with abir yehoshua sofer. anytihng less, and to leave this article up is lashon hara and is terrible for our people.

enough! please remove this piece immediately!!!

Mochin Rechavim said...

Have you two ran out of things to blog about?

This has to be one of the most Anti-Jewish for SURE Anti-Chassidic blog articles to ever grace this blog and I think I have been reading it regularly for almost 4 years.

Your personal opinions about martial arts "stam" are one thing.

To judge a person based off of "information on the internet"?

Then your very next blog post is of the Lubavitcher Rebbe telling you that you sometimes have to spend 70 years helping nurture a Jew.

Well you just smashed a Jew down in 3.8 seconds.

I hope you feel good now.

I hope Hashem doesnt judge you are strict when he sling shots your soul across the universe.

Hashem Yerachem.

Gutman said...

Hey guys--what is going on? My article did NOT say anything bad about R' Sofer. Stop with these wildly false accusations. My article and a previous one on this subject discuses the martial mind set vs the spiritual mind set. Where are you guys coming from that you say such things that a Jew was smashed down? Again, my opinion is, if you want to learn to defend yourself then you should learn a single technique or two and carry weapon and not become a devoted martial arts person. I am amazed at the baseless charges that you are throwing out!

Mochin Rechavim said...

Behold, around the bed of Solomon are sixty mighty men of valiant of Israel. All are armed with swords, trained in war, each with his sword upon his thigh because of the fear of the night.

This statement said before sleep shows that a Jew must be prepared for both the physical and spiritual wars in life.

While your article could have discussed how Goyish marital arts are about A, B, and C.

It is IMPLIED without use of his name specifically that you feel that this Jews mesorah of marital arts from if not the partiarchs, are least the times of the temple is

"a militant headspace, and you walk around all day long looking for trouble to strike. You will have to watch out for yourself!"

I didnt get a chance to read the post from last week that was removed, but it would be unfortunate to see this blog turn into the kind of blog that writes about this kind of shtus even if it is "reader mail repsonses" and blog posts that we arent sure if they would offend others.

When was the last time your blog got 15 posts this fast?

A yechi post?

Zeir sham said...

The american who fled nahalot to america because of suspicion of pedophilia was Is very into martial arts...

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