Orthodox Jews took their best swing at would-be “knockout” thugs Sunday, in the basement of a Queens synagogue.
The group of about 30 people, ranging in age from 16 to 62, were given basic instruction in the Israeli martial art of krav maga as part of a self-defense course taught at the Young Israel of Queens Valley Synagogue in Kew Gardens.
The instructor, Avraham Avramcheyiv, also counseled students to pay attention to their surroundings — and spend less time texting on their smart phones or fussing with groceries.
“The knockout game is a terrible thing, but not a lot of people know about it,” said Avramcheyiv, referring to the “game’’ in which thugs randomly approach people on the street and punch them hard enough to render them unconscious just for kicks.
“People these days are naive and unaware of what’s going on around them. The most important thing to focus on is being aware of your surroundings.”
Avramcheyiv’s students got the message loud and clear.
“It’s frightening to me,’’ said computer analyst Henry Moscovic, 62. “People should be aware if it. I know some men and women got hurt pretty badly.
“There’s no purpose or rhetoric to these assaults,’’ he said. “It’s a very random thing. I don’t know what to make of it. Why would anyone take pleasure in hurting people?
“I think these kids are bored, and they are looking for kicks.”
Avramcheyiv emphasized a series of defensive moves to protect one’s head, face and neck.
He taught quick, base-of-your-palm jabs to an attacker’s throat, as well as a range of kicks to the knee and groin.
Most importantly, Avramcheyiv urged students to run from the fight as soon as possible in order to avoid an extended street brawl.
Female student Sigalit Nissanov, 33, noted, “You never think this type of thing is going to happen to you. No one expects to be punched randomly in the street.
“When I heard about the woman who got punched a few blocks from here, I was mortified. It made me want to take some action.”
In Brooklyn, community leaders rallied against the senseless attacks, urging New Yorkers to keep an protective eye on their neighbors.
“It doesn’t matter if we leave the synagogue on Sabbath Saturday or if we leave a Baptist church on Sunday,” incoming Borough President Eric Adams said in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court.
“We want to walk our streets in safety.”
Adams also announced a $5,000 reward to any tipster who provides information in a suspected hate attack on fashion student Taj Patterson, 22, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Patterson said a dozen Hasidic men savagely beat him Dec. 1 as he walked home.