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New York - Increasing Number Of Brooklyn Orthodox Jews Turning To Self-Defense Classes To Fend Off Anti-Semitic Attacks

Published on: July 23, 2015 02:46 PM
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New York -  Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jews are arming themselves with potentially deadly weapons – their own bodies.

CBS2 reports (http://cbsloc.al/1Jg122I) that a growing number of religious Jews are taking self-defense classes in martial arts with Sensai Steve Issak who developed and teaches a course he calls Shima Juijitsu.

Issak says he’s been teaching his brand of martial arts for over 40 years in a Brighton Beach studio in an effort to teach Jews to defend themselves against anti-Semitic attacks. He travels from Myrtle Beach every two weeks back to Brooklyn to teach his class for a 5-day period. “Everyone needs self-defense, but they [Jews] need it more than most based on the history of the Jewish people,” he said.

Both men and women attend his classes, including Chavi Charlap, who says she gets “confidence” from attending Issak’s course. Although men and women train separately as per Jewish law, some female students allow touching during the class because of the nature of the program. “If I’m in a life threatening situation and because of this, I can save my life and other lives, then it’s definitely worth it,” Charlap explained.


Now 67, the Sensai has studied martial arts since the age of 12 when he was beaten up by two older boys. By the time he reached college, Issak was teaching self-defense classes and opened a martial arts school soon after graduating.

Shima Juijitsu works, Issak says, because it’s based on efficiency, not athleticism. Another student, Rabbi David Goldshyn of the Jewish Center of Brighton Beach says learning these moves are essential. “You don’t want to get into a fight every two seconds,” he remarked. “But you also want to have the confidence that if something happens, you can protect yourself.

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Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »


 Jul 23, 2015 at 03:41 PM blubluh Says:

The photos show relatively young people in reasonably good physical condition. It's also important for older people and those less fit to acquire training tailored to their condition, since they make easy targets and often cannot escape dangerous situations that may arise.


 Jul 23, 2015 at 04:15 PM Shlomo Says:

I'm a long time student. The pictures and videos do not do "The Art" justice. Need to see and feel to really understand how amazing it is... Truly, if someone has the ability to make it out to Brighton Beach and train, he is gaining a lifelong amazing ability. Don't need any athleticism. Better if you haven't trained a martial art before. Steve Isaak learned it from one of the most respected teachers on long island, who, after stopping to teach many years ago, remains a legend in some circles even today.


 Jul 23, 2015 at 04:26 PM shvigger Says:

...coming to a shul near you!


 Jul 23, 2015 at 04:36 PM allmark Says:

Too bad New York and New Jersey aren't part of the United States. I've heard that in America there is something called the second amendment that allows citizens to carry guns. With a gun you need even less athleticism and training to defend yourself. Maybe I'll retire someday to Texas!


 Jul 23, 2015 at 04:53 PM Secular Says:

White shirt, no yarmulke.


 Jul 23, 2015 at 05:46 PM Rafuel Says:

Is this better than being armed? Is it even as good?


 Jul 23, 2015 at 06:03 PM hashomer Says:

Even if you never have to use it, it gives you confidence, which is key in self defense. I learned from an Israeli paratrooper 40 years ago and still could use it. And it helped me in many tight spots.


 Jul 23, 2015 at 06:11 PM Anonymous Says:

It is about time All religious schools should have classes for students
and parents


 Jul 23, 2015 at 06:15 PM Sim_cha Says:

Reply to #6  
Rafuel Says:

Is this better than being armed? Is it even as good?

I believe being armed and trained in self defense are equally important. Remember, you are trained on how to dis arm someone with a weapon in close contact..


 Jul 23, 2015 at 06:44 PM Clear thinker Says:

What good is self defense when the guy has a gun or knife or there's 3 guys jumping the victim. However it's probably great exercise, and a healthy hobby.


 Jul 23, 2015 at 07:56 PM Anominous Says:

What about just carrying a pepper spray? Isn't that good enough, or perhaps better?


 Jul 23, 2015 at 08:15 PM Rafuel Says:

Reply to #9  
Sim_cha Says:

I believe being armed and trained in self defense are equally important. Remember, you are trained on how to dis arm someone with a weapon in close contact..

Good point.


 Jul 23, 2015 at 11:56 PM ExpatriateOwl Says:

Which is what Meir Kahane had been telling us all of those years.


 Jul 24, 2015 at 12:20 AM Anonymous Says:

I have a third degree black belt in judo and know a bit of kick boxing. I can tell you from years of experience that you DO NOT want to use your martial arts training unless absolutely necessary. The first action you should always take, where possible, is to get away from the situation. Run away, throw your purse/wallet, let him take your car, but do not try to fight unless you must. Trust me - I have much more experience than most of you will ever have and am in better athletic condition and I would not want to fight if I didn't have to. As has been pointed out, you do not know if the other person is armed or has friends nearby who are armed, and it is quite probable that he has more experience in real fights than you do. Think about your families and friends, take a breath, forget about your pride, and live for another day.


 Jul 24, 2015 at 01:28 AM Anonymous Says:



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