Q&A Abir Qesheth - Question #6
Question: Why haven't I heard of other Jewish communities with a connection to fighting techniques?
Answer: There are some communities of Jews who do have a similar history to certain members of the Maatuf-Dohh family about their ancestors being fighters/warriors. This can be found among certain Persian Jews, the Mountain Jews of Daghestan, and the Jews that once lived in Tindirma, Mali. Even in more modern Spanish history, Rabbi Shmuel HaNagid was a military leader of a Jewish unit in the Spanish army. There are also numerous accounts found in the Middle East and Africa of Jewish warrior tribes that eventually became Muslims due to the cultural assimilation Jews have faced for the last 1,400 years. For example, how much of the information in the video below about the Yemenite Jewish community did you know before watching this video?
The unfortunate reality is that there are areas of Jewish history which are documented but rarely studied or elaborated on. Most Jewish communities have been in survival mode for the last 2,000 years and in many cases one will find communities where there "was' a military past but "laying down arms" was the only way they could maintain their existence without placing the entire community in danger. In some cases loosing a war to an enemy army also meant that all male soldiers were either massacred or conscripted to reduce the threat of revolt.
Further, some communities faced the challenges of leaving environments where they trained in a more traditional way to living in a modern society where pressure was placed on their children to conform to either Yeshivish or secular Israeli society. Also, less concern has been placed on histories of this nature in order to focus on the types of dances they did, clothes they wore, or the food they ate - i.e. how "exotic" they were from Western Society. Sometimes the mentions of these bits of history are only quickly glossed over in many books due to a focus on the image of the "persecuted Jew."