And that was cool. I could keep it under my ninja spodik. I had self-control.
Until I saw this.
AAAGH! Get your fake martial arts HORSE CRAP off Wikipedia!
According to Grandmaster Yehoshua Sofer:
- My family lived in Israel for 100 generations, since the time of Saraya Sofer—a royal scribe and warrior who served the kingdom of Israel. Both ancient Israelite writing and martial arts traditions, were handed down in my family from generation to generation.
The Sofer family has a tradition that, following the wars of Bar Kokhba, their ancestors lived in Piq'in near Tiberias for one thousand years, and at the time of the Crusades, moved to Hevron, where they lived for another one thousand years, some of them moving back and forth between Israel and Yemen all the while. This is substantiated by two photographs the Abir has: one is that of his uncles in the 1920s, who lived in Hevron, in service of the Khalif of Jordan. The other, from only a few years earlier, is of his grandfather's brother, was in Oman, in service of the son of the Sultan.
Members of the Sofer family moved between Jerusalem and Habban in eastern Aden to cities such as Baidha. "Baidha" means "white" in Yemeni Arabic. While in Israel, Nachman Sofer and his youngest son, Ya`aqov Mosha, Grandmaster Yehoshua Sofer's father, left the region for Jamaica following the Hevron massacres of 1929, in which two of his uncles were murdered. From there they would move to the United States and later back to Israel.
The Abir Concept...According to the Abir web-site:
The Twelve Tribes Principles and The Ten Emanations (These are very esoteric and intricate educational tools to understand the nature of combined movement and force in an application of the other principles directed into specific points of energy, mass or “targets” as well as the use of telepathy and hypnosis to direct or disable one's adversary)
This science as described in great depth in sources found throughout The Holy Torah are taught to “performers” of Abir, who regardless of their background in Jewish study and Torah Life, commitment/observance (or the lack of these) can begin training in this dance form that houses a deadly form…or formless system of self defense that is as effective today as it was in defeating the ancient military forces of Median, Ai, Eglon, Lah’ish, Canaanim, Khittim, Amorim, Prizim, Yebusim and Girgashim.An Abir can be viewed as one who defends the palace that houses the Neshama (the soul), the Ruah (spirit), and the Gouf (physical body) within a circumference that is called one's Dalled (four) Amoth (designated spaces used as measurements) as commanded by G-d to defend; because inside a true Abir is housed a living Torah, for through its study the Abir seeks to internalize its wisdom, to become holy, pure, and to exemplify the very virtues that indeed describe the Abir of Israel that comprises the initials of this ancient Hebrew word (Aleph, Bet, Yod, Resh).
The Abir approach is based on a combination of the following elements.
- Judaic principles found in the Torah
- The Ancient Hebrew alphabet.
- Philosophical principles and movements based on symbols surrounding the 12 Tribes of Israel.
- Techniques passed down by Jewish communities such as the (Habbani Jews and Daghestani Jews)
- Jewish dances from various exotic or ancient communities, which anciently were a part of the ancient Abir combat system.
It gets even worse on the talk page.
...I understand about being skeptical about Abir, I was also based on the same articles. I was very skeptical when I first heard about it, because the web-sites and the articles weren't clear. It wasn't until I actually contacted some Teimanim in Israel about it and I also contacted Grandmaster Sofer concerning proof that I changed my mind about it. As mentioned before I received letters from a Yemenite Rabbi and an Ashkenazi Rabbi who state that Abir is ancient and authentic. In terms of the article, it only reflects what is on the web-site which Grandmaster Sofer states is not completely accurate. Grandmaster Sofer mentioned to me that he is working on getting his website corrected.
My brains, my beautiful brains, they're leaking all over the floor...
Ok, that's it. Sorry to break it to all you Abir fans, but here's the skinny on the "ancient art" and the Abir Master as explained to me by a trusted source who actually knows Senor Sofer.
A- Among friends, the esteemed master Abir Aluf Mori Yehoshua Sofer is affectionately known as "Yehoshuass."
B- This seems to be at least partially related to the fact that Mr. Sofer is an incorrigible practical joker.
C- Mr. Sofer is indeed highly proficient in Kuk Sul Won, a martial art which he studied for years to master. This discipline, which, I should point out, has the extra advantage of actually existing, is, as far as anyone can tell, what Mr. Sofer has spent much of his professional life teaching people.
D- Martial arts enthusiasts have observed that despite Mr. Sofer's many impressive claims to be teaching people an ancient Jewish martial art, complete with Hebrew alphabet-inspired moves and combinations, Abir seems to look remarkably like Kuk Sul Won.
E- Hebrew alphabet enthusiasts have observed that in order to have enough letters to make all of Abir's moves work, Mr. Sofer had to add Rashi script. It has yet to be explained exactly how this medieval Sephardic writing innovation made its way to the Sofers in Israel, but most theories presumably involve Crusaders killing some Jews in Europe and stealing their books, then accidentally dropping them after arriving in the Holy Land, whereupon the Sofers got hold of them and realized, "hey, this will allow us to have more than 27 moves!" Or maybe a Crusader brought a talking severed Jew's head along with him tied to his belt and the Sofers rescued it and made it tell them secrets.
F- Mr. Sofer, inheritor of Yemeni traditions for two thousand years, is actually a New Yorker of Ashkenazi extraction.
G- It is unclear whether Mr. Sofer's many glowing endorsements from rabbis, Internet rebbes (hi, Lazer!) and stupid newspeople and random schmoes are in-jokes, or whether said people are just profoundly stupid. It is also highly likely that some of these rabbis know that Mr. Sofer's backstory is sufficiently ludicrous as to be absurd and go along with it for the sake of getting their chubby yeshiva bochers some much-needed exercise.
H- There is nothing wrong with making up your own (admittedly amusing) cool Jew-Fu backstory to teach Jewish kids Kuk Sul Won. There is also nothing wrong with being up front about your bullshit.
I'm sorry if I ruined Abir for everyone. In the interests of being respectful, I think I'm going to retire the "ridiculing Abir" category from the blog, since, as I'm sure you'll all agree, there's something not quite funny about making fun of someone when they're actually kidding (even if they've managed to convince everyone that they're not).
I hope you'll stick around for the next post, when we say goodbye to Abir forever.