Yossi Eilfort, the 22-year-old ultra-Orthodox rabbi turned Mixed Martial Arts fighter, seems to be sparking a trend.
Two Israeli brothers, Miki, 24, and Yehuda Hayat, 20, hailing from the ultra-Orthodox community of Bnei Brak near Tel-Aviv, have taken up the Brazilian martial art of Capoeria, and are teaching others in their community. Capoeria, a martial art dating back to the 16th century, combines dance, acrobatics, and music to create an intensive, full-body experience. It was developed by slaves who used the intricate dance moves to disguise their true motive: learning how to fight.
The Hayat brothers have set up a dojo, or training room, in Bnei Brak in order to teach their ultra-Orthodox brethren how to flip, kick, and spin. Nearly 200 men have signed up already.
Whether this new unconventional pastime will cause a stir in their insular ultra-Orthodox community remains to be seen, though it’s not likely. Martial arts, designed for self defense, is designed to be artful rather than aggressive, an athletic outlet more than a way to simply fight.
The fringes of their tzitzit flying as they jump and flip in the air throughout Jerusalem, the Hayat brothers are certainly changing things up.