© Copyright 2020, Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert
KAPAP is a blend of multiple systems, originating in Israel, and designed to be a bridge between systems. It was inspired by the pioneers of Israel and their work, such as the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, and is based on Jiu Jitsu.
In 1933, Feldenkrais met Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo in Paris. Kano encouraged him to study Judo under Mikinosuke Kawaishi. Feldenkrais became a close friend of Kano and corresponded with him regularly.
In 1936, he earned a black belt in Judo, and later was awarded his 2nd degree black belt in 1938.
He was a co-founding member of the Ju-Jitsu Club de France, one of the oldest Judo clubs in Europe, which still exists today.
KAPAP was developed in Mandatory Palestine by a group of instructors during the 1930’s and 1940’s, where the main body of it was organized and taught. KAPAP and Krav Maga remained one and the same until at least 1958.
Krav Maga as a term appeared for the first time in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) in 1965, but in the IDF dictionary of 1965 it was not defined yet and only KAPAP – Krav Panim El Panim (Face to Face combat) defined Hand-to-Hand Combat. Hands, knives, rifles, hand guns and bayonets and any weapons can be used in face to face combat (CQB – Close Quarters Battle.)
Krav Maga and KAPAP were terms used interchangeably for the same body (much like CQB and CQC – Close Quarters Combat) but not always containing the same knowledge (techniques and drills) in the IDF for the entire decade between 1948-1958.
The hand-to-hand combat curriculum was adopted for the most part from that which was practiced in the Palmach.
Although the term KAPAP first appeared in 1940, many of its contents were processed in the 30’s in the ‘operating companies,’ especially in boxing and jujutsu.
The short stick fighting method was developed by Moshele Horowitz (RIP) in the framework of the ‘immigrant camps.’
Key figures in the development of Israeli Martial Arts:
In 2000, after no one had used the term KAPAP since the 60’s, either inside or outside of Israel, Avi Nardia established a new self-defense program for the Yamam, Israel’s top Counter-Terrorism unit.
As the unit’s official instructor and because the unit recruited him to setup a new hand-to-hand combatives program, Avi made the decision to respect the memory of all instructors that were not mentioned previously.
He built the KAPAP Federation (IKF ) in 2001 and started to spread the system outside of Israel. Later, and from only one school, Kapap is the most Israeli martial art known around the world.
KAPAP has many respectable beliefs and solid values:
• We teach proven techniques, each thoroughly tested and vetted.
• We dress according to the mission – gi, or street-clothes.
• We have higher standards and higher values and bullies are not amongst our ranks.
• We are a ‘normal’ driving school, we’re not a formula one school.
• We teach self-defense to civilians and not to become Ninjas.
• We develop confidence and skill sets, not professional fighters.
• We teach with love, peace and friendship and not by using fear or by bullying students using slogans like “Don’t be victim” or “we do bad things to bad people.” That’s not our motto.
• We don’t teach our students to boost their egos or to be evil or ‘Tacti-cool.”
• We teach using a humble attitude and not by using words like: “touch me and your first lesson is free.” That is the wrong attitude, in our opinion.
• Ours is a school where you can send your wife, or your children to study.
• We share knowledge freely.
• We teach traditional and modern martial arts.
• KAPAP is a well-thought-out and researched blend of styles.
• We have a ranking system suited for civilians.
• We teach respect and discipline.
• We use anything that can help us grow into a system.
• We analyze all components included. That is what we do.
• We offer videos, but they are not meant to replace actual training or teachers.
• We believe that our teachers must know their students.
• We won’t sell advancement certificates and we require our students work their way through the training to earn their belts.
• We are honored and privileged to teach and lead our students.
• We will not try to grow the organization more than we can handle.
• We demand teaching quality and adhere to a higher teaching standard.
• Our teachers must gauge the efficacy of what is taught to their students.
• We are a family, and we will all grow together.
In too many training facilities, students are injured by over-enthusiastic instructors that let their egos dictate the lesson plans, often ending up in an emergency room, because as trainers, they were not following good training standards.
Others sell their systems using good and/or bad marketing, depending on your point of view. It’s good marketing, as it relies heavily on people’s fear, and lack of education. There is a market for that. It also preys on their wish to be more than ‘wimps.’
This tactic has worked for years, but that does not make it right, nor good. This marketing tactic ensures income, but at the expense of the students, and in many cases the instructors.
So, why all of the ego, and testosterone? Why the need to sell yourself based on a movie character? Anyone can call themselves an ‘expert’ these days and through effective marketing, they will put many students at risk.
Far too many students are paying the price for this dubious marketing trend. In martial arts, all study should start with a good attitude. We must teach the proper attitude and the proper safety. It is our duty as instructors and educators. We teach martial arts. We are martial artists first and last.
With education in traditional martial arts, we wish to make it more ‘real’ to our students. We don’t require military fatigues and helmets to prove our methods and techniques work.
A true teacher is always a student and his attitude must be “always a student, sometimes a teacher,” and it needs to remain so. As you pick your teacher avoid anyone who represents himself as a grandmaster, for in combat, no-one is a grandmaster.
KAPAP is more about teaching people how to live a quality lifestyle and not to live fearing people.
We are not a ‘normal’ martial arts training program, because we provide more tools for our students including training in tactical driving, swimming and free-diving and cold-weather survival – all components that make KAPAP a modern martial art.
The KAPAP Gideon Test
Trusting people is the only way to know if you can’t trust them. Our Gideon Test is more of a self-test. Depending upon the person, successful completion of the KAPAP instructor program is either very easy, or else completely impossible.
With enough time and effort, virtually anyone can gain the technical and tactical skills to become a KAPAP instructor. However, the biggest test in KAPAP is to demonstrate integrity – an attribute which candidates either embody completely, or not at all.
Those who only seek to collect ‘ego’ certificates will find our KAPAP program impossible. Thus, we use the Gideon test to distinguish our team members.
At Avi Nardia Academy (ANA) we constantly work to distinguish our Gideon Fighters/Instructors. In order to find those who will lead KAPAP into the future we actively weed out others who only chase certificates and titles but fail to behave like professionals. This constant process ensures that our team maintains the highest standards.
As the founder of KAPAP combatives I lead KAPAP worldwide with a family model. I am very pleased to attract so many good quality members and representatives.
Today, 20 years since I first began teaching KAPAP to the public, I am proud to see KAPAP spreading its wings and beginning to soar very high with new members around the world joining my team each day.
I have devoted my life to martial arts and I hold Black Belts in many different martial arts and I will continue to explore more and more.
There are not more than five principles in modern KAPAP (push and pull, balance displacement, high and low, relative position, two points of contact) yet combinations of them can produce more techniques than can ever been seen!
Martial arts are about love and peace, and being yourself, free of ego, smiling more and enjoying life, as life is martial art.
“Keeping an open mind is the most skill I own.” — Hanshi Patrick McCarthy
“It is better to be a student of reality, than a master of illusion.” — Avi Nardia
“It’s not the size of your stones, but what you build with them.” — Tim Boehlert