New York Rabbi teaching Jewish kids martial arts to defend against Knockout Game
A New York City rabbi nicknamed ‘Rambowitz’ for his heroics as a cop says there’s only one way to combat The Knockout Game - martial arts.
Gary Moskowitz, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, judo and karate, believes people should train in a form of MMA he calls "applied martial arts" to avoid scary situations on the street, like the disturbing Knockout Game trend that has become popular in cities like New York.
Moskowitz wants to teach would-be victims on how to defend themselves from the gang ritual that involves sneaking up on someone and punching them in the face or back of the head.
"I look at these thugs out there like bacteria, like a virus," Moskowitz told Fox Sports. "These are society’s bacteria. We need to have a defense system. The society’s immune system is martial arts."
Moskowitz’s idea of martial arts training is much more radical than what you might see in the UFC. As a sensei in Queens, his teachings revolve all around situations that could be encountered in every day life - not facing one person in an Octagon with a referee and time limit.
(Photo Credit: J.C. Rice)
Moskowitz, 57, trains his students to fend off two, three or more attackers - some with weapons. He’d like to see something similar in the UFC, like a 3-on-1 matchup with fake knives and very little rules.
"In all my life and as a cop, I never remember fighting just one-on-one," said Moskowitz, who is much more interested in the reality of fighting rather than the sport aspect.
Back in the 1980s when he was in the NYPD, the Bronx native set up 5-on-5 MMA fights between rival gangs. He put them in a ring with UFC style rules and called it ‘attitude adjustment’ - until the police department told him to stop.
"They put down their guns and knives," Moskowitz said. "I think people would love this concept. I think it would actually lower the tone of violence."
MMA enthusiasts might think he’s a little off the wall, but they would likely agree with one thing he believes - Moskowitz says ground fighting is the most effective thing on the streets. He tried teaching his fellow cops 30 years ago – long before Royce Gracie and UFC 1 - about jiu-jitsu.
"They didn’t comprehend this in the early ‘80s," Moskowitz said. They thought it was sissy stuff. I tried to explain to them. Every fight ends up being a grapple."
Moskowitz said that he encountered criminals on angel dust and meth and punching or kicking them had no affect. But a rear naked choke would.
"Almost every fight I’ve been in goes to the ground," Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz is not really a fan of the UFC. It’s not realistic enough for him. He wonders how an MMA star would do if he had to fight two or three men at once.
"They’re great superheroes," Moskowitz said. "They’re great warriors. But it’s not practical for the street. It doesn’t mean they can’t fight. But they’re fighting with rules."