As parents get creative with pandemic homeschooling activities, Bobby Rosenberg, a dashing youthful grandfather of 15, is running Zoom karate classes in small groups and privately for children and adults. I’m one of them.
Rosenberg operates out of Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel. As soon as COVID restrictions were enforced, he immediately switched from teaching in his dojo (studio) to long distance teaching from home, as students were sending him training videos of themselves. Prior to the pandemic, many of his students were about to receive their next promotion; and fortunately, he was able to continue training so that they could advance to their next rank.
Rosenberg said, “The workouts and rank promotions are of extreme importance now as both children and parents (age 6 to adult) need some genuine excitement added to their home environment.
“‘Bobby’s Karate’ is a blend of Jewish spirituality with traditional Japanese discipline. I start and end every class with a bow of courtesy and end with everyone stating our dojo kun – a karate tradition of everyone reciting a creed of conduct – where we quote derech eretz – respect for one another in Jewish values.”
Bobby’s Karate formula combines his 30 years of experience in martial arts with love of Israel and his observant background to strive for skills to enter society with confidence and enthusiasm. Students are motivated to be consistent and fearless. The culture of his karate school during the pandemic stresses a commitment to workouts – and to “fear only Hashem!”
Rosenberg notes that it has not been hard to recruit students, since martial arts is the “fad of the decade.” His encouraging sessions start with “do what you can today.” He states, “I have adults who are overweight or out of shape, and within a few months, they are ecstatic with their lifestyle change – strong, vibrant and flexible.”
Rosenberg is also known for success with kids at risk, ADHD or “on the spectrum” by Zooming private lessons. Some areas that are addressed are concentration, self control, normalcy, expectations, and an outlet for energy.
Rosenberg states that “everyone wants to be a superhero.” With a dose of love, he explains that within today’s cultural inclination towards violence, he provides a channel to express it. “Kids learn that to be Spiderman, they have to follow the rules, and learn that strength is not about who has the biggest muscles. We teach mind over matter. Willpower is the key to everything.”
A New York native, Rosenberg trained in Shotokan as a teenager with Rabbi Meir Kahane. After moving to Israel, he earned his third-degree black belt. Shotokan (literally “house of waving pines”) incorporates deep, long stances developing stability and leg strength. Its philosophy is not based on defeat or victory, but on the positivism of character, compassion, patience and confidence. Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes are examples of black belts in Shotokan.
As a footnote, Rabbi Kahane was an infamous American-born radical who founded the Jewish Defense League, fought for the struggle for Soviet Jewry, and served in the Knesset. He ultimately was assassinated in 1990 while speaking to an Orthodox group in a Manhattan hotel.
Asked to leave us with encouraging words during this irregular time of pandemic transition, Rosenberg muses, “I often quote the famous Chasidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov:
“It is a great mitzvah to be happy all the time, and to make every effort to avoid gloom and depression. All the illnesses people suffer come only because of lack of joy. … And joy is the great healer! The main point is that one must make every effort and put all of one’s strength into being content.”
Join Bobby’s Zoom Karate classes and get the first week free. Continue for $15 a month for unlimited classes (at least 12 a month) per family, including unlimited access to Rosenberg’s library of video recorded classes. To sign up, www.mailchi.mp/1804726fad89/boobyzoom, Bobby’s Karate on Facebook, or www.bobbyskarate.com.