The recent wave of 'knockout game' attacks against New York City Jews and other victims has pushed a rabbi and seventh-degree black belt to teach locals martial arts instead of the Torah.

Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, also a former police officer, is empowering Brooklyn's Jewish community to defend themselves against the brutal street game, whose goal is to strike bystanders unconscious with a sucker-punch as they walk by.

In the past two months, at least eight Jews have been attacked by kids playing the street game.

The rabbi, who earned the nickname "Rambowitz" for his determination, was himself a target while he was young. He learned karate at 14, after going to a Jewish Defence League-sponsored summer camp.

The latest attack came last Sunday when a Hasidic man, Eli Leidner, was sucker-punched by a woman in the Williamsburg neighborhood of New York City.

However, police in the Big Apple deny that the knockout game is a real phenomenon.

"If there ever was an urban myth, this was it," a Jersey City police spokesman told the New York Times.

Moskowitz said the 'game' is nothing new. "When I was police officer in the early 80s and early 90s, I can tell you this has been going on for a generation already," Moskowitz said in a YouTube video.

"I want to send a message clearly to these thugs, to these kids who are causing these difficulties to stop their way, turn your life around, but if not - if you swing at me, you're going to be hit back," he said.

Gary Moskowitz trains Jews to defend themselves