Talk:Yehoshua Sofer

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I am currently working to make this article more than just a stub. It is going to take some time to go about seperating information in terms of what his historical and what is a claim of the Abir Martial art.--EhavEliyahu 17:46, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I am also going to add information about the Habbani Jews who are said to have been warriors for some of the Sultans in Arabia.--EhavEliyahu 17:56, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Please Leave Signatures[edit]

Also Benforman and user can you make sure to sign your comments using the signature button. It makes it easier to keep up with. Thanks.--EhavEliyahu 17:55, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Picture of Adullah with bodyguards[edit]

The picture "Abdullah I of Jordan with his Habbani Jewish bodyguards Sayeed, Salaah, and Saadia Sofer, c. 1922."

I'm sure is not what it claims to be. I have a picture of Ibn Saud who became ruler of Saudi Arabia in 1902. The picture was taken in 1911 and the man standing on the left of the picture on this page I'm sure is Ibn Saud.Benforman 11:59, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

The men in the photo all wear pe'ot in the Habbani style (i.e., braided). None of them is ibn Saud. Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 23:09, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Have a look at this image below it is a picture of Ibn Saud the 1st ruler of Saudi Arabia taken in 1911 and compare it to the man on the far left of the picture [1]


he also appears to have his hair in a braided style but the cannot be pe'ot. Maybe I am wrong but I thought at first that they do look a little similar. The link doesn't work, will need to copy and paste it into your browser address window.

Here is a picture of Abbdullah 1st of Jordan Benforman 11:59, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

read this article about Yehoshua Sofer from 2000 - his martial arts skills are excellent, but I'm not sure about Abir: 14:23, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Greetings. I looked at the picture that you provided of ibn Saud and they don't look like the same person. The picture that is in the article actually came from a photo from the Sofer family in Israel. In terms of the picture you provided of ibn Saud I edited the first link and it should work now. I could not make the second one work. His hair is not in the style of Simonim i.e. Pe'ot (Pe'ot in Yemen were called Simonim). The picture of ibn Saud shows his hair in what looks like several braids. Simonim, as Yemenites braided them, are only two and are curled in a certain way. Also, his eyes look different. Do you have some specific evidence that the picture in the Abir article is a fake and acually of ibn Saud?
In terms of whether Abir is authentic. I recently received two letters from two Rabbis in Israel (one Yemenite and one Ashkenazi) who say Abir is authentic. I will have to translate them into English since they are in Hebrew. I need to check into how these can be presented in the article. Yehoshua Sofer mentioned that there are some articles out there that do not represent Abir correctly. The Abir web-site is being updated and it will include the letters from the Rabbis soon. Based on the evidence that the Habbani and the Jews of Daghestan had fighting techniques and soldiers, Abir isn't an impossible concept. As I get more information that can be verified with sources I will add it. The Abir web-site does explain why he learned the other martial arts styles such as Kuk Sool Won.
By the way Benforman I looked into it the picture you provided. It is not what you think it is. It is actually a photograph of Sa'ad Ibn Abdul(r) Rahman Al-Saud, brother of Ibn Saud, with his hair in ringlets which were called 'Dalik'.--EhavEliyahu 16:41, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Hi Ehav, you may have a point, I certainly have no proof that the picture isn't what it claims to be, although I would point out that the link I posted to the image of Ibn Saud comes from the Royal Geographic Society, it says it was taken by Captain W.I. Shakespeare in 1911 so I would be surprised if that wasn't who it said it was. That said your point about the Abir photo being him or not is totally valid, it was just my opinion.
Regarding the Abir style, it is certainly impressive, and I am not doubting Sofer's skill, the youtube videos prove that. In fact I have been interested in Abir since I read about it on the shoferinstitute Yemenite list many months ago. I am just not convinced yet by the story, as I know you aren't given your posts on other websites. I have been trying to research the story and have found interviews from several years ago online with Yehoshua Sofer where big parts of his story are missed out. Using google you can look for Yehoshua Sofer Jamaica and Nigel haAdmor for more information. Again I stress I am not questioning his skill or indeed his knowledge of Torah, but if the Abir story isn't true I don't see why he should need to embelish his story which is fascinating and note worthy in itself, and of course his martial skills which speak for themselves. At the end of the day I suppose I am an internet cynic, and this is only my opinion.
For more information on Jeiwsh warriors I would also recomend: The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, Travels in the Middles Ages. I can't find the quote at the moment but there is a section on Jewish Warriors. It is briefly described here:

--Benforman 20:34, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Greetings Benforman. 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 webstie corrected.
In terms of the picture I looked on the site you provided and it said that the picture was of Sa'ad Ibn Abdul(r) Rahman Al-Saud, brother of Ibn Saud, with his hair in ringlets which were called 'Dalik' (Those were the exact words from the under the 1911 title). The 1910 photo has a picture of Ibn-Saud sitting on the left side. As you can see he doens't look anything like the photo on the Abir article. Also, another way to tell is that for Ibn Saud to be in a photo standing behind King Abdullah would imply that he is the servant of Abdullah. In the fashion of the Middle Eastern culture since Ibn-Saud comes from a royal family, he would be sitting next to Abdullah if he were posing with him for a picture.
There were some people I know in Israel who said Abir was not authentic because Aluf Abir, Mori Yehoshua Sofer was into Reggea and he did Reggea. Yet, I found out not long ago that Shaolin Fighting Monk Shi Yan-Ming (best known the the Shaolin Iron Body or Iron Shirt techniques) who teaches Shaolin Kung-Fu in downtonw NY is into rap music (specifically he has been working with Wu-Tang Clan on one of their records).--EhavEliyahu 01:38, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Other Proofs for Abir[edit]

Hi Ehav, for what it's worth (non-Jewish) Yemenis I know have heard the stories of a Jewish fighting style and Jewish warriors also. I knew that Wu-Tang were into Shaolin, I didn't know that Shaolin were into Wu-Tang - great post. 07:21, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Greetings. Yes, I was checking out a forum from 2005 where a number of martial artist were criticizing Abir, but there was an Arab man who posted a number of times that Abir was authentic and that a number of Arabs knew of it and it was well respected by them. He specifically knew of the Sofer/Abir family and talked highly of them and their techniques. He mentioned that he hoped that no Jews would ever take it since he prefered them not to know it (for political and stratigic reasons).
Also, on the subject of Shaolin Monk Shi Yan-Ming and his interest in rap. There was a program I was watching where the RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan went to the Shaolin Kung Fu school here in New York and he met Monk Shi Yan-Ming. They became friends, and there was a segment in the program where they showed the RZA with Monk Shi Yan-Ming in the recording studio working on a Wu-Tang Clan album. Monk Shi Yan-Ming mentioned that there were people who criticized him for his interest in hip-hop and he stated that he did not see any contradiction in it. It was interesting.--EhavEliyahu 11:05, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Is any of this actual proof? What evidence do the two aforementioned Rabbis possess, or what expertise do they have that makes them a reliable source on the subject? Also, just because some random person on a forum claims to have heard about something doesn't seem like much evidence for anything. Even the supposed picture of the Sofer brothers serving as bodyguards does not mean that Abir existed in the 1920s much else a thousand years ago. That just means that those three men served as bodyguards for King Abdullah I. The article on Habbani Jews states that Abdullah preferred non-Arab bodyguards including Circassians. Does that mean these men know an ancient martial art: [3]? I am just not seeing much in the way of actual proof. (talk) 16:17, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
There is now more information and evidence about Abir on the new Abir web-site at [4] as well as [5] both sites have additional information as well as sources for further info. There are also a number of videos on YouTube in Hebrew for sources and proof of the existance of Abir - Qesheth.


I didn't add them but can see why they were added, try reading WP:NPOV, about phrasing things neutrally. Secitons of this read like an advert to recruit for and promote the art, rather than dispassionately reporting facts. I removed the title as it is normal not to include them repeatedly. --Nate1481(t/c) 15:41, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

I have done some major rewording to that technique sections. I think that should address the NPOV issues. Let me know.--EhavEliyahu 18:34, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Great improvements! The only and last NPOV issue I see is the first paragraph under "Modern System": "...expertise in various aspects of "cold" combat that few come close to matching." Do something about this and feel free to take the "new release" tag down. Also, the Sofer's name should not be preceded by "Grandmaster"; you can say "Sofer is the Grandmaster of...", but you can't refer to him as "Grandmaster Sofer". After that the article is a very solid B-Class article. If you're interested in improving it further, check out WP:GA?. It still needs some general manual of style-related cleanup, but in particular, the article spends considerable space reviewing the history of Jewish warriors, without specifically stating the relevance of that information. Is the article trying to say that all of the those warriors practiced Abir? This is unclear at present. It would also be helpful to have information regarding the actual development of Abir (which from the pictures of its modern practice, appears to strongly resemble Chinese martial arts), or discussion of how the information is lost or disputed (if such information does not exist or is disputed). Bradford44 20:15, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
I will work on the last NPOV for now, and work on the rest later. The connection between the ancient Abir information and the modern system is that they are both connected and that some of the ancient form was passed down in certain Jewish communities. One of the biggest arguments about the article and Abir in general was that some people believe that there was no evidence of a Jewish martial art that ever existed. According to the Abir information FAQ the sources like the Sefer Ha-Yashar mention the Qesheth aspect of Abir that had been passed down through Jewish communities in North African, Asia and Arabia. I haven't seen any information that disputes, with evidence, that Jews in Arabia, Asia, and Africa didn't pass down any form of martial arts techniques. I have seen people claim that the information didn't exist and when provided with the info in the beginning of the article I have seen any refutations. I think the main basis is that Abir, in terms of some of its look, is not completely different than other martial arts. One of of the videos listed at the bottom of the article there is a video Grandmaster Sofer showing the difference between a certain Abir technique and some of the Japanese martial arts. The videos do more justice for the techniques than the pictures. Besides there are only so many ways that a body can move. I would also say that the categorization of the moves is different the Chinese martial arts. In fact, there are elements of Abir that look similar to Silat Mumbai.--EhavEliyahu 00:34, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I almost forget the section on the Banu Abir mentions that the Sofer family claims to have partial come from Habban where the Jews there were known for their fighting prowess. I have two letters provided by two Rabbis in Israel who say that Abir is ancient was practiced by various middle Eastern Jews. I will post them as images.--EhavEliyahu 00:57, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Far, far better, it's a lot easier for someone who knows the subject to rewrite things. A skim looks good will have a closer look later, Thanks --Nate1481(t/c) 09:14, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Wikisource would be the place for images of the letters --Nate1481(t/c) 09:16, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Auto review[edit]

This tool automatically reviews the article for areas of interest it's not far of b-class now this may help to improve it to a Good Article:

The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and might not be applicable for the article in question.

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Nate1481(t/c) 15:45, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

Hi EhavEliyahu, I noticed that you placed a "peer review" tag at the top of the talk page, but you didn't go through with creating the response page or listing the article at Wikipedia:Peer review. Have you simply not gotten to it yet, or would you like some assistance? If you haven't done this before, the instructions for how to submit for peer review are right there at WP:PR. Bradford44 18:51, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Hey. I am just getting started. I am doing some moving, but I at least want to start getting the ball rolling. As I have more time I will go through the entire procedure. Thanks.--EhavEliyahu 19:50, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
No problem, I'll stand back and let you have at it. :) Bradford44 05:22, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
If you see any other areas you think could be improved let me know. I am still trying to make things are clear as possible.--EhavEliyahu 11:40, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Peer review tag has been removed till a later date.Peter Rehse 02:18, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Russian and Serbian article[edit]

I hope, you are not ashamed of the Russian and Serbian articles about this theme. Because the English article was changed from Abir to Yehoshua Sofer I didn't consider as a reason to remove the link to the Russian and Serbian article. I look this story very interesting. The German article soon arrives:) --Carski, 29. december, 2007 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:58, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Reviving Abir as an article[edit]

I am looking at reviving this article back into one about the Abir martial art. Now that Abir recognized by the Wingate Institute, there is an Abir/Qesheth instructors course through the Wingate Institute, and there are more information about it. I am not sure what were the reasons were for it being changed into one about the Aluf Abir Yehoshua Sofer. Can anyone give me a list of the reasons? I am currently rewriting the article on my discussion page.--EhavEliyahu (talk) 05:54, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

The debate leading to the cnges can be found Here --Nate1481 10:20, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Nate. So let me see if I understanding correctly. The major reasons were.
1) Sources i.e. whether there are any sources that prove that a fighting tradition ever existed in modern times amongst a group of Jews, and Abir being derived from it.
2) Evidence that Abir is not simply another martial art in disguise.
3) Abir being a system recognized by any competent martial arts authority.
Am I leaving anything out? I am currently working on the article on my Talk page, and would like to get feedback to make sure I am meeting Wiki requirements. I will be adding photos, but only ones that I myself have done. Thanks.--EhavEliyahu (talk) 21:43, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
That largely covers it. The article, as it was then was initial written, was an advert for the art rather than a dispassionate description, and seemed to include lots of barely relevant material. The other key issue was that of notability, that there was no sign that the art was of interest to a wider group, you may find the Martial arts project essay of use. You may also find using the Manual of style and related pages useful while writing. Hope that helps. --Nate1481 09:31, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

P.S. If you work on it on a sub page e.g. User:EhavEliyahu/Abir it may be easier to format.

Thanks Nate. I am taking all this into as I am rewriting the article. The problem with the first article was I was living in the states at the time, and there wasn't an abundance of information available. Now that I am Israel I have more information on it. I will review the links you provided. I also have moved what I am working on to User:EhavEliyahu/Abir. Thanks again. I may have more questions to ask in the future if you don't mind.--EhavEliyahu (talk) 12:06, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Bullshido status[edit]

This Abir school was apparently founded in 2001. It is highly instructive to read the Jerusalem Report article of April 2000. At that time, Sofer was still happy to say he learned Asian martial arts in spite of his father, and still happy to be the only legitimate Kuk Sool Won master in Israel.

Sofer learned his first Eastern fighting skills, at age 4, from an elderly Chinese gentleman in a Kingston parking lot. ... His father - who had evidently concluded that he wasn't rearing an outstanding Torah scholar - reluctantly allowed him to attend, provided he still found time for Jewish study. "On Shabbat," he says, "I had to study extra Gemarah, Mishnah and Chasidism."

Then jump to 2010, and suddenly his father, his uncles and his grandfather were martial arts gods with a family tradition reaching into the Bronze Age, and he was in fact instructed by his father to "taste" the "foreign" traditions against his will

Like a lot of stuff I would've never done in life were it left solely up to me, I studied the foreign systems because that is what my grandfather and father required of me.

This guy is like Frank Dux. For some people, it clearly isn't enough to be a decent martial artist, they need to be a mystical grand master guarding lost secrets of the ancients. --dab (𒁳) 11:51, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

here is an interesting article.

Sofer is like Madonna; he has reinvented himself and retconned his and Abir's origin stories so many times it's impossible to keep it all straight.

--dab (𒁳) 16:57, 7 January 2011 (UTC)


After prodding the article, I looked around and found at least three secondary sources that can be considered quotable. They are journalism and superficial pop culture / mass media coverage, but they seem to establish some minimal notability. Also, the hip-hop album of 1993 seems to have been a success in Israel at the time. I doubt that Sofer has notability beyond Israel, but the article can probably be kept on grounds of notability as both a martial artist and hip hop musician within Israel. The bullshido angle doesn't affect this; the "ancient Hebrew warrior tradition" is of course a cock-and-bull story made up for the benefit of the media and the credulous, but what we report on is notability, not "truth". If there is a market for a pseudo-traditional "kosher" school of martial arts in Israel alongside the excellent but pragmatic and un-spiritual Krav Maga then this will do nicely. --dab (𒁳) 13:08, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

I guess I still don't see notability. A minor hip-hop hit in Israel and leader of a non-notablie (possibly made up) martial art don't show me notability. The ability to self promote doesn't show me notability, either. Which notability criteria in WP:MANOTE does he pass? High ranking martial artists in notable systems have been deleted since high ranks alone have been determined to be insufficient for notability. A couple of local color stories and an interview don't show me notability, but if you want to call him notable, fine. Papaursa (talk) 00:24, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

The notability criteria are those at WP:BIO, not necessarily those at WP:MANOTE. Having a 6th dan in something doesn't buy you notability, I agree. This guy's notability is owed to the media attention he receives in Israel. He is a regional celebrity and pop culture item. The 1993 hip hop album itself would not necessarily make for an article, mentioning it at Israeli hip hop is enough. The WP:BIO criterion that is applicable here is "multiple independent periodical articles or reviews." We have Martial Arts Illustrated, The Jerusalem Post and FanHouse doing feature presentations on the guy, and these are just the English-language publications, the bulk of material is of course going to be in Hebrew, seeing that this is an Israeli celebrity. The website gives a bunch of other press references, such as this, plus features in Israeli and Russian television. Elie Seckbach appears to be interviewing people in the streets in Israel who say Sofer is "very well known" in Israel. I just conclude from this that this guy is a regional celebrity, known in Israeli pop culture and possibly among religionists, since he went out of his way to be endorsed by the "top rabbis". Of course this is marketing on his part, doh, all celebrities on Wikipedia are featured because of their successful marketing of their own selves. This doesn't make him notable as a serious martial artist, just like Frank Dux wouldn't be notable as a martial artist if it wasn't for all his Ninjutsu nonsense and its reception among American nerds. --dab (𒁳) 17:10, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

You make good points and if he's truly as well-known in Israel as you say, I'd agree with your assessment. Papaursa (talk) 00:31, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Abir (martial art)[edit]

Why i can't make it a separate article as it already exists in other languages ​​? פארוק (talk) 05:43, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Abir (martial art). Meanwhile, please don't add unsourced and apparently non-notable material such as you did on Abir Judith. Dougweller (talk) 06:26, 6 April 2012 (UTC)