A former boxing champion who’s also been ordained as an Orthodox rabbi is now giving self-defense classes in Brooklyn for members of vulnerable Jewish communities.
The classes come in the wake of a series of violent attacks on religious Jews over the Hanukkah holiday, culminating in a brutal machete attack in Monsey, New York.
According to local news website Pix 11, the famous Gleason’s Gym, where Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson trained, is the home of the classes, which are being taught by world champion boxer and rabbi Yuri Foreman.
Originally from Belarus, Foreman became a boxer while living in Israel and eventually fought 38 professional fights, winning 34 of them. In 2009, he became the World Boxing Association’s super welterweight champion.
Along the way, he pursued religious studies, eventually becoming ordained as a rabbi in 2014.
Foreman said of his students, “Once they learn how to punch — properly punch, it’s going to give them the confidence that [when] something happens, they will know how to strike back at least.”
However, Foreman said, “You don’t have to fight. Boxing is the perfect way to learn about your coordination and controlling your body and mind.”