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November 30, 1990 - Image 67

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-30

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Special to The Jewish News

, or 90 minutes on
Sundays and
Wednesdays, the
lounge in the
Jewish Communi-
ty Center's Rosenberg Recrea-
tion Complex takes on the
mystical qualities of a Far
Eastern dojo, or school for
learning martial arts.
There, a trio of black belts,
practitioners of a karate style
called Shorin Ryu, put a
dozen students through their
paces. When the lesson/
workout is over, members of
the JCC Karate Club have
moved one step closer to their
goals of physical achievement
and intellectual harmony.
But for head instructor
Keith Fishman and his two
assistants, Alan Hamer and
Alan Stiebel, the kicks are
over and kibbitzing begins.
Not that they don't take the
club seriously: all three are
strong proponents of the
fitness, discipline and self-
respect they believe come
from martial arts training.
It's simply the trio has
spent years learning each
other's moves, on and off the
dojo floor, which has led to
their easygoing style.
Fishman, 32, of West Bloom-
field, now a fourth-degree
black belt, and Hamer go all
the way back to junior high.
Stiebel made it a threesome
when he began study under
Fishman seven years ago.
"You take a good shot
(while sparring) and
sometimes you're really hard-
pressed to believe these guys
are your friends," Fishman
quips. "Out there," he
gestures towards the floor,
"we tend to take things pret-
ty seriously."
"We do have a very tight-
knit club," adds Stiebel, 34, of
Bloomfield Hills.
The closeness also comes
from the club's most unusual
feature: it's all Jewish.
Jewish participation in the
martial arts has never been
particularly heavy. But the
three JCC teachers, along
with longtime friend and
associate Stuart Schulman,
who runs an Ann Arbor-
based club, comprise nearly
the entire Jewish black belt
population in Michigan.
At any rate, much of the
2,000-year-old Eastern
philosophy that forms the
basis for more than three
dozen martial arts, and the
hundreds of styles that
deviate from them, shouldn't
be totally foreign to a Jewish
civilization that dates back
nearly three times as far.
For example, the Japanese
concept of ki — an energy that
comes from inner peace and
allows a man to perform feats
of impossible strength —

Photos by Glen n Triest


Oleh Karpenko holds the wood for tamishiwari as Hamer, Stiebel, Fishman and Schulman watch.


These martial
artists say
they've cornered
the market in
Michigan Jewish
blackbelts. So
who would

Karate triumvirate ... Fishman, Stiebel, Hamer.



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