Abir - Qesheth Hebrew Warrior Arts (אביר)
The Abir - Qesheth Warrior Arts are an ancient Ivri (Hebrew) - Yisraeli (Israeli) group of fighting techniques which were preserved by the Jews of Habban, southern Yemen. It is taught by the Aluf Abir - Grandmaster Yehoshua Sofer Maatuf Al-Dowahh at the Stadium Teddy in Malcha (Jerusalem). There are several legends that place Israelite soldiers settling in Arabia forty-two years before the destruction of the First Temple. It is said that under the prophet Jeremiah some 75,000 Israelites, including priests and Levites, traveled to Yemen. The Jews of southern Yemen have a legend that they are the descendants of Judeans who settled in the area before the destruction of the Second Temple. These Judeans supposedly belonged to a brigade dispatched by King Herod to assist the Roman legions fighting in the region. Some of the Jews in Habban have a legend that their ancestors were soldeirs for King Saul of Israel who left Israel and moved into Arabia. A historical journey to visit far-flung Jewish communities was undertaken by Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela from 1165 to 1173 that crossed and tracked some of the areas that are today in the geographic area of Yemen. Tudela (twelfth century) found an independent Jewish warrior tribe living in the district of Tehama in Yemen. In the 16th century, thanks to the advice of a Habbani Jew Suleman the Wise, the Jews received a special quarter of Habban. In 1912 Zionist emissary Shmuel Yavnieli came into contact with Habbani Jews who ransomed him when he was captured and robbed by eight Bedouin in southern Yemen. Yavnieli wrote about the Jews of Habban describing them in the following way. "The Jews in these parts are held in high esteem by everyone in Yemen and Aden. They are said to be courageous, always with their weapons and wild long hair, and the names of their towns are mentioned by the Jews of Yemen with great admiration." Unlike the Jews of northern Yemen the Habbani Jews wore a Jambiyya or curved knife, Matznaph (turban) and Avne`t (sash). It was also common for sultans in Arabia to use Habbani Jews as soldiers in their armies or as personal guards. Habbani Jews sometimes served as mercenaries; Abdullah I of Jordan, who preferred Circassian and other non-Arab bodyguards, had a number of Habbani Jewish guardsmen, including Sayeed Sofer and his brothers Salaah and Saadia.
Keywords: The Abir Qesheth Warrior Arts