Category Archives: Budo Interntational

Inferiority Martial Arts

Inferiority Martial Arts
Authors: Avi Nardia and Tim Boehlert ©copyright 2014

This is Article #8 co-written with Avi in JUN 2014 – unpublished to date

“Think outside the box” – Hanshi Patrick McCarthy

Skills that were taught to me by Hanshi Patrick McCarthy. The skill I’m most grateful to Sensei for! Respect! I keep reading books and many books not just one book.

There is a saying – “Beware the man of one book.” Homo unius libri, meaning “I fear the man of a single book.”

Homo unius libri – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I hear every day in Martial Arts the words ‘this is the BEST martial art.’ My next question is then how many Martial Arts and what kinds of experience in Martial Arts do you have? It’s typically none, meaning they’ve done only this one. Many times it’s good medicine for inferiority people to feel good with themselves as they feel they are doing the best, knowing the best.

I have devoted my life to Martial Arts and hold Black Belts in many different Martial Arts and I continue to explore more and more. Show me that reading just one book is as good as it gets for Self-Defense and understanding self-defense.

To understand the body, the mind, the spirit we need more than one book and method. Our research and exploration leads me to creating the group study of KAPAP and Practical Martial Arts.

When you’re looking into Martial Arts teachers who lead and create Martial Arts and are the most creative you’ll discover that they’ve read more than just the one book from O Sensei Gigoro Kano Oyama but they’ve read books from all of the great teachers in the past. Hanshi Patrick McCarthy knows this is the only way to gain knowledge. He’s most definitely not a one book man that think’s that one book has the answers to all in life.

“Keeping an open mind is the most skill I own.” Hanshi Patrick McCarthy

When we feel inferior we want to hold onto what we have or know, and we’re scared to keep walking as on the way we may see that we’re wrong or that maybe we need to study more.

My advice: Don’t be an Inferiority Martial Artist, but study to be creative. As Albert Einstein said “Creativity is intelligence having Fun.” Have fun in your training, don’t run around in fear.

Understand the difference between Self-Defense and Fighting.

Sometimes fighting comes about as a result of feeling inferior. The inferior may feel that they have something to prove.

In fighting we want to confront the object we try to confront and don’t avoid the fight. We want to fight and it’s our goal to fight.

In Self-Defense we try to avoid the fight doing all that we can to not be confrontational and confrontation is the last thing we want.

When a solider or Police officer tries to confront a subject, his/her goal/agenda IS to confront, to fight and herein lies the problem of not understanding the difference and thinking that fighting is self-defense.

In Self-Defense your goal is to avoid and escape from any and all confrontations and to save fighting as your last option. It doesn’t mean that you’re not ready to, but all of your training and education is not about your ego. It’s not about “Touch me and your first lesson is free.” as many proclaim and then state that it was self-defense. This is purely egotistical, clearly and not self-defense.

There are many mistakes between what is self-defense what is fighting.

Teaching to fight is not teaching self-defense and many times it’s teaching to get into your student into problems with life and ultimately the law as well.

Attitude, education and study are the most important tools to keep you away from becoming an Inferiority Martial Artist. Teaching from a love, peace and fun point of view gets you better results than teaching with fear and using a victim attitude.

Teaching and studying Martial Arts have lead me to try understand the mind and spirit of myself and my surroundings. I remember talking with a Krav Maga student in one of my workshops while taking lunch and he started to talk about himself and said “I was a fat boy and all of the kids bullied me… but look at me now, I do Krav Maga now and if anyone ever touches me, I’d tell them ‘touch me and your first lesson is free.'” It got me to wondering about how extreme his inferiority complex was, and how big his ego. I said to him “have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re still out of shape and trust me you don’t want to fight. Even today your performance in Martial Arts is so bad. Now forget the past, you are over 35 and who would want to bully you at all? Just enjoy life.”

This scenario stayed in my head as I saw more and more students from ‘real street self-defense’ courses and saw how theses courses were lead by bully teachers using ego slogans like ‘touch me and first lesson free.’ It worried me that if someone really touched them it might be their last lesson. They would kill themselves with their self-illusions.

Martial Arts are about love and peace, and being yourself, free of ego, smiling more and enjoying life, as life is Martial Art. If you take only one part of life you don’t get the whole of it, it’s the same as if you took only sport or combatives from the Martial Arts — you didn’t take the whole thing, even though you could see the mountain of Martial Arts.

Over the years I have started to call these Martial Arts ‘Inferiority Martial Arts – I.M.A. They always need to challenge others, to show off, show how strong they are and critique all Martial Arts. “You don’t want to fight on the ground?” Who wants to fight at all? Who wants to fight with or against a knife? For the same reasons that we study blades, we study the ground. Martial Arts, like many things need to be practical. If you have nice chair but can’t sit on it, it’s lost its target audience.

Martial Arts can also be used for self-defense but the term self-defense is so complicated. What is self-defense? Defense first from ourselves. Lots of Martial Arts teachers target vulnerable people with their video-clips and advertise “don’t be a victim.” Once you’ve answered their ad and joined these classes, you have defined yourself as a victim! While talking with a friend, he’d said that Brazilian Ju-Jitsu was his therapy. It relieved his stress and made him feel so great after training, and also benefited him with great conditioning, strong stomach muscles and body, and provided skills useful for self-defense.

An inferiority complex is a lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty, and feelings of not measuring up to society’s standards. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme asocial behavior. The term was coined to indicate a lack of covert self-esteem. For many, it is developed through a combination of genetic personality characteristics and personal experiences.

Classical Adlerian psychology makes a distinction between primary and secondary inferiority feelings.
· A primary inferiority feeling is said to be rooted in the young child’s original experience of weakness, helplessness and dependency. It can then be intensified by comparisons to siblings, romantic partners, and adults.
· A secondary inferiority feeling relates to an adult’s experience of being unable to reach a subconscious, fictional final goal of subjective security and success to compensate for the inferiority feelings. The perceived distance from that goal would lead to a negative/depressed feeling that could then prompt the recall of the original inferiority feeling; this composite of inferiority feelings could be experienced as overwhelming. The goal invented to relieve the original, primary feeling of inferiority which actually causes the secondary feeling of inferiority is the “catch-22” of this dilemma.] This vicious cycle is common in neurotic lifestyles.

Feeling inferior is often viewed as being inferior to another person, but this is not always the case in the Adlerian view. One often feels incompetent to perform a task, such as a test in school.


So what makes students into Inferiority Martial Artists? Mostly it’s inferiority instructors (they can’t be called teachers) that are overloaded with Ego, that use ego-laden video clips and an egotistical attitude to attract his students and ‘convinces’ them to ‘don’t be a victim’,’Train with me, it’s the navy seal real deal’, ‘I’m the real deal.’ What is ‘the real deal’ at all, as we’re all real aren’t we? These people give themselves grandiose titles and I see guys that have been kicked out of Karate, Arnis, or some Martial Artist programs in Israel. Now they are ‘Grand-Master of Krav Maga!’ It’s a good sale, and he is suddenly more true, more tactical, more Rambo or military, and so on to attract these students. My question: Why does anyone want to dress-up with an Army-style uniform for 2 hours and train in a mid-city mall and then drive back home? If you want to join the REAL Army, the Army is there, as is the Navy Seal program or Real Special Forces programs, unless you can’t get in and it’s your inferiority style.

Many of these will claim Judo is a sport like Aikido and will not work, Karate is old and so on. If you think Aikido doesn’t work, that’s because you’re either looking for a quick fix or too lazy to dedicate your time to train and understand the art. Study Martial Arts and perform Martial Arts. I wonder why the current market is so loaded with people that haven’t even earned their black belts in any style like those in Krav Maga that claim to be Grand Masters!
Remember this:

“It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.”
Niccolo Machiavelli

First be a good human. Keep your integrity. Having the title of being a good father is more important than showing off all of your other titles.

“If you don’t know the difference between what you’re doing and what you should be doing you’re destined to fail.” – Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince”

One of my friends complained today about how Integrity is missing in the Martial Arts, and that many teachers SELL certificates. I told him its more interesting how many people will actually BUY those ‘certificates’ as they know there’s no integrity in buying them! The Paradox is easy: with no ‘integrity students’ how can you find ‘integrity teachers?’ When integrity students are rare you will find only a small handful of teachers with integrity. So who need’s to feel the shame more, the Seller or the Buyer?

BUT is it bad? No, as it helps us explain the principle of Dark and Light: To see Light, we need Dark. Wrong is wrong even if no-one is doing it, Right is Right even if no-one is doing it. Even a broken clock gives the right time twice daily. Yes, even some of these guys can show one or two good moves, does that make them Grand Masters?

In my Army officer training my commander said “Now you’re in the officer course, where a normal solider can make 100 mistakes a day, BUT, as an officer you’re allowed only 1 mistake a day. To lead men, you need to make less mistakes, not to get two things right in a day.You need to make less than 100 mistakes in a day, every day.”
This is how we view our KAPAP Leaders – less mistakes!

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Bob Marley

..this is how I feel as a Martial Artist. I don’t see it as showing off how strong I am. I know when the day comes and I will have no other choice — when I have to fight with 6 tumors and life than Martial Arts will be there for me, and I’ll win.

To all ‘Real Self-Defense systems’ to study from: As my father told me before he passed away when I asked him about war he said “we did what we had to do to defend ourselves and our families.” It’s not done for marketing promotion or posting on FaceBook. When you must defend you will find how much you know from playing with life and living right with love and peace.

“Love everybody, but never sell your sword.” Paulo Coelho

Here is one more principle: trust all and trust none, only trust yourself. But if you don’t trust yourself, for sure all will not be there for you as you need. It happened to me, and since I trust myself I recovered from being sick with tumors. Lots of ‘Friends’ failed me or more-so themselves. Do I need them?

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. And if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali

Grab a plate and throw it on the ground, does it break? Now say you’re sorry, did it go back to the way it was before?

But I study a great lesson: Storms make trees take deeper roots. All these lessons make me stronger!

Sometimes it’s not the people who change, it’s the mask that falls away.

In Japanese we say Honne and Tatemae. Honne and Tatemae are Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires ( honne?) and the behavior and opinions one displays in public ( tatemae?, lit. “façade”).
Honne may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one’s position and circumstances, and they are often kept hidden, except with one’s closest friends. Tatemae is what is expected by society and required according to one’s position and circumstances, and these may or may not match one’s honne.
The honne–tatemae divide is considered to be of paramount importance in Japanese culture.

Cat in a Tree: Only One Way or Many Ways?
[a Wingate University teaching story]

I was demonstrating a series of techniques when I was interrupted by another instructor who criticized Avi’s teaching, saying it was wrong to give students choices. In order to function under stress he asserted, students should only be given one simple response. In this way they would be able to act instantly without thinking. To illustrate his point he began to tell a parable about a cat. I will have to paraphrase the story but the gist of it goes something like this. One day a cat was walking with a buffalo when they came across a crocodile. The buffalo tried to gore the crocodile but was killed and eaten whilst the cat simply ran up a tree and escaped. The next day the cat was walking with an elephant when they encountered a hunter. The elephant attempted to swat the hunter with his trunk but was shot and killed whilst the cat ran up a tree and escaped. The story went on and on with the cat befriending a diverse range of unlucky animals. Unfortunately they were all killed in tragic circumstances whilst the hero of the tale simply ran up a tree and escaped. Avi patiently listened whilst the other instructor finished his story and then having skillfully made his point the man looked smugly around the room. Nodding his head sagely Avi paused for effect and asked if he could just ask one question: “what if there is no tree?”!
The fact is that although I know where the other instructor was coming from he had demonstrated the old adage ‘a little bit of knowledge is dangerous.’ When initially teaching students to survive under stress, it is important that in the early stages students should be provided with a small range of options which deal with the most likely situations using classical or operant conditioning methods (‘stimulus – response’.) This will help students to quickly acquire the requisite key skills, build confidence, avoid ‘mind freeze’ and enable them to respond at the more unconscious level. This type of training will prepare students to act and react. Once those responses are mastered, students will then be taught the ‘what-if’ and the more advanced techniques as this is the element of training which will ultimately allow the student to adapt under pressure.

The Japanese say that it’s better to start to study 15 years later with the right teacher than to start with the wrong teacher. In the current market of Martial Arts where the sale of achievement/rank certificates, where many instructors earn 7 levels in 3 days, you should ask about the roots of your teachers. Most teachers talk about other teachers, but I always explain to my students about my roots as a Martial Artist, as this is what we teach. “I don’t teach you to be soldiers.” I help them trace my roots, introduce them to my teachers in Karate, Aiki Kenpo Jujutsu, BJJ, Kendo and so on. I earned it all, I didn’t buy it!

“When you have money in your hand, only you forget who you are, but when you do not have any money in your hand, the whole world forgets who you are.” Bill Gates

This is not a saying for a Martial Arts teacher. A Martial Arts teacher is not there for money, we are here for students, for any need, to help support, and for direction. Yes we need to earn our incomes, but we don’t live by the dollar, we live by integrity.

To close-out this column, and with everyone now thinking, The last thing in Martial Arts is the self-defense “Fight”, sharpening your moves is more important than hitting the tree – make-ready your axe first!

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

It’s the same in Martial Arts: Be a good Martial Artist and carry a sharp axe. Train yourself in mobility and stamina and all, then you will be ready when there’s a need to cut down a tree, and it’ll be easier, but if you try to cut the tree with no preparation, it may not work.

Maj. Avi Nardia

Tim Boehlert

© Copyright, 2014 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

The Most Difficult Journey…

“The Most Difficult Journey Is The One You Must Make Within Yourself…” 
– Hanshi Patrick McCarthy

Copyright © 2013 Avi Nardia with Tim Boehlert

Just a few years ago a group of Krav Maga practitioner’s tried to gain market-share with the only skill they knew, slander. They tried to character assassinate me using lies and nonsensical claims. Using a few guys that I had removed from KAPAP: One was a war criminal, and once I found out, he was out. One was kicked out of the Israeli Army for being AWOL and shameful and I also refused to allow him to test to get in YAMAM unit. One was an Ex-YAMAM member that tried to become an instructor, but wasn’t good enough, and instead the YAMAM unit took me as it’s Instructor. One guy was discharged from the Israeli Army with Mental Health issues after just 3 weeks of service. He claimed to have training from the Israeli Secret Service, but in reality he was merely trained by a guy that was once a military driver. The second was an Air Force technician and the last hardly served in the Army having the lowest IDF military profile 31, which meant that one more point down and he would be out of the Military. Yet this ‘great team’ managed with real Kapap that popped up after 15 years, to claim there was no Kapap, but since Kapap had gained popularity, now all Krav Maga best sellers were becoming KAPAP. This ‘team’ claimed that Kapap was the YAMAM system, but they forgot that I instituted it and set it in YAMAM with Lt. Colonel Chaim Peer. This ‘team’ united with a pedophile that was convicted 6 times in Israeli court for raping his students. But ‘now’ they are the ‘real-deal’!

One day my kid came home from school and asked me why in school when they ran a Google search on my name, it popped up that I was a fraud! This was one of the most disturbing moments of my life. How can evil win? These criminals were even using the power of the internet and internet forums to try and set bad names and slander on my father RIP. That was when I decided to fight back.

My father taught me lots of things, but the first and most important was respect. What’s the meaning of respect? My father never spoke of his past, of wars even though he’d been in 5 wars and was one of only a select few men that can wear the dress Red Wings in Israel! I asked my father just two weeks before he died to talk to me about his past, but he said “we did what we had to do, not for reward, but we defended what we believed in, and our country, and for what we built and our families and nothing more.”

My father lost his two parents when he was 11 years old. He moved to live in Israel and did not have an easy life. I remember as I visited and then lived in Japan that my father would go to work at 5am, and on a cold day I just understood what he’d said many years ago to me: “I may have hard work but I will manage to send you to the best schools and get the best education so you can have successes in life.” I owe him my successes for sure, as I also became an officer in the Army even though I wasn’t interested in it, but he pushed me hard to choose the good ways in life.

After my father died I understood how many people loved him and respected him and then understood how ‘rich’ he was. In this article I’ll try to share some ideas as to why I continue to ignore evil and push it away. Evil people and my enemies: enemies are never my friends as bad people are just bad people. This opened my eyes to study more. As hard as the slander has been it’s taught me a lot and made me a better person. I can also say that it has shown me a lot about my friends, as Martin Luther King said “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And yes, my friends kept silent as many would like to be taller by stepping on others.

I try my best to teach with love and peace, keeping ego away as in Machado BJJ there is a great quote: “leave your ego at the door when you enter this dojo.” I’m old school. I try to instill in people good values and good morals and good education, not just skills of physical techniques, and in my school there will be no bullying or egotistical martial art. That brings me to a nice read to share with you by Hanshi Patrick McCarthy:

“People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did, but
People will never forget how you made them feel.”

I dreamt I had an interview with God. “Come in” God said. “So, you would like to interview Me?” “If you have the time” I said. God smiled and said: “My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?” “What surprises you most about mankind?” God answered: “That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”

God’s hands took mine and we were silent for awhile and then I asked, “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?” God replied with a smile:

“To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.

To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.

To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis!

To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally differently.

To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them… and likes them anyway.

To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I’ll answer.”

“People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did, but
People will never forget how you made them feel.”

I try to get my students to journey more inside themselves and not so much into others – “The Most Difficult journey is the one you must make within yourself…”

In the last several years I have travelled almost non -stop to teach KAPAP and today we have KAPAP world-wide from near the North Pole to the Antarctica and all around the world.

I didn’t target rich people, as I have no interest in the rich ladies of Beverly Hills fighting in their tight pants “doing the fierce Israeli Army system.”

I want to teach communities and poor people and to give people something more in martial arts that’s not about showing off. And that has gotten me into becoming ‘Sensei on the Road’ – and where the road ends, the adventure begins.

I’ve started to teach native tribes and travel into real-life communities teaching, but I find myself mostly studying and looking into myself. I’ve studied that when you see the tribe leader living with his village and when his village is floating, his home is floating too. That shows me that our way of life, with our leaders living in golden temples, is far from us…

Teaching martial arts make me wonder many times about life, as martial arts is the study of life – where most real Grand Masters are at best fools. If they had really been smart they would have found something better to do and more profitable.

What is teaching?

All GREAT teaching comes from the heart – there are no words for it. Finding words to explain the ‘Do’ – way is like throwing stones at the moon.

In the last few months I’ve been teaching in a new project for Native Indians from the Cree and Inuit tribes and have also started a great study myself about life and visions of life from their perspective.

When I was a kid I always loved cowboy movies, but I was always on the side of the Indians. The older I got, the more I understood why. I could feel their spirit, and it spoke to me more truly than western money ideas and perspectives of life. Here are some inspirational quotes that I’ve found
that we can all learn from, provided by Native Indian Tribes – that are
still valid today, and which are new inspiration and guide posts for me,
and hopefully for you as well.

“I am poor and naked, but I am the Chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.” Red Cloud

“Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” Cree Indian Prophecy

“Our first teacher is our own heart.” Native American proverb

“When the blood in your veins return to the sea, and the earth in your bones return to the ground, perhaps then you will remember that this land does not belong to you, it is you who belong to this land.” – Unknown

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” Ancient American Indian proverb

“Certain things catch your eye, But pursue only those that capture your heart.” Old Indian saying

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” Cherokee expression

“Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.” Hopi

“We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.” Qwatsinas, Nuxalk Nation

Here is an outline and Mission statement that I provided to present my program:

Project Mission Statement:

“Through this project children will develop healthy attitudes and social skills through targeted physical activity in interaction with peers. Through the success of the process of mastering different skills and activities which are included in this project children will develop self-confidence and build a positive image of themselves and their environment. Sports and physical activity greatly decreases the degree of aggressiveness, i.e. to divert it through creative engagement in physical exercise. In developing this project, the focus was the current situation of the society and of all the problems facing today’s society, families and young people, such as alienation, violence in the family and among peers, the impact of media pressure and the internet, enjoying the opiates… In order to achieve objective and realistic knowledge children need to be trained. With this project of martial arts we want to form a strategy that will help children and young people in the wider understanding of their environment and their place and role in the family and society. Young people at this age are not mature enough to understand the issues and they can still be affected in a positive way to social values. One solution would be to promote and popularize sports and we believe that the School of Martial Arts was one of the ways to promote human values and increase the level of sporting aspirations in young population.

The objectives to be achieved by the implementation of the proposed project:
The project aims to introduce sports and Martial Arts to students in elementary and secondary schools, so that their interest directs towards activities that help them achieve better living conditions, promote mental and physical development. Practicing sports in adolescence contribute to the prevention of violence and drug abuse and create awareness among youth about the value system.

Informal education project activities :
Within the project and in addition to sports activities it will be worked on the role of sport in the wider context of the development of interpersonal relationships and communication. Through various forms of sporting activities, in addition to physical education, students develop general sportsmanship affirmation and positive learning attitudes and positive life values such as developing trust among people, identifying and resolving miscommunication and misunderstandings, as well as a positive view of diversity and tolerance. Developing trust between people is essential for mutual respect, open minds, understanding and empathy. You can thus promote the development of communication skills and team cooperation and positive appreciation of diversity. The achievement of the trust, communication, competence and tolerance enables easier development of personality, behavior modification, and prevention of potential conflicts within the family and society.

The goal of informal and educational activities :
Raising awareness of social perception, i.e. awareness that the accuracy of the observations of others depends on the precision with which we highlight (collect, perceive) certain information (verbal and nonverbal.) This experiential knowledge improves the personal observations and increase confidence in interpersonal communication situations. The project aims to converge youth sports to their interest directed towards activities that allow them to better living conditions, promote mental and physical development, and further information and encouragement that takes part in the development of the same.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle

“Know yourself and you win all battles.” Sun Tzu

Maj. Avi Nardia

Tim Boehlert

©Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Kapap: Krav Panim El Panim, The Art Of Gaku-Jutsu Do

KAPAP: Krav Panim el Panim, The Art of “Gaku Jutsu–Do”
Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert (11/13)

KAPAP (Krav Panim el Panim – face-to-face combat) is a Martial Art form from Israel, mostly considered a modern and reality based Martial Art, but I prefer the name ‘Practical Martial Art – PMA.’ Those two meanings of KAPAP as a modern and reality based Martial Art has created a certain amount of confusion in the market lately, so let’s clarify it.

The early days of KAPAP takes us back to the ‘old days’ in Israel, 1930 through 1940, when it was a generic name for face-to-face [Hand-to-Hand] combat. The name was used even before Israel was declared and established as an independent state in 1948. Until the late 1960’s it was used as a generic name by different Israel security forces. The system was based on judo, Jiu Jitsu which takes us back to the Japanese understanding of Martial Art with teachers such as Yehuda Markus, Gerson Kopler, Michel Horowitz and many other trainers and teachers from that early period. It is interesting to note that in Israel most of the older people would be more familiar with the term Kapap while the young generations would be more familiar with the name Krav Maga.

Krav Maga was one of the many systems that were born out of the old days. On my return to Israel from the Far East, where I was studying Asian Martial Arts for eight years, I was asked by the Army Lieutenant Colonel Harush Avi to create a form of Krav Maga for young recruiters as a part of preparation for military service. At the same time Israel’s top counter terrorism unit, YAMAM, had recruited me as a member of the unit and the trainer for the CQB and hand-to-hand program with the rank of Staff Sargent Major (highest NCO). My task was to re-write and re-structure the old program and to incorporate new training methods. In this mission I teamed up with Lieutenant Colonel Chaim Peer, who was well-experienced in military and other security forces. The system that we developed together was later recognized as reality-based mostly for the idea that “It is better to be a student of reality, than to be a master of illusion.” Most of the moves and training were connected and tested in reality-based situations. At the same time the true idea and meaning of Kapap were missing. That was not the Kapap that we had in mind.

Kapap is a system that consists of three aspects: traditional, sport and combat. A whole system cannot not operate without those three dimensions. It’s like a family tree: the tree with no roots falls down easily and it’s branches fall off, dry and die quickly.

For the last 15 years Kapap has been in the civilian marketplace and we’ve tried monitoring the quality of it by denying 75% of students who apply for it. Even by having that filter we feel many times that we are getting the wrong people. In the old days students would have asked for admittance to the school. What we face today is overblown advertisements, and attempts by students to get into the schools and teachers who are ready to sell certificates by e-mail without ever seeing the students just in order to build up a system! In Kapap we do it old-school style: our students need to ask for admittance into the organization. They must regard us as teachers and we will teach them as it was done in the old days.

Lately I have started considering KAPAP more like Zen teaching. It could be due to the time that I spent practicing Kendo in Japan, which is very noble Zen swordsmanship.

In our modern era the sword has been supplanted by the introduction of modern firearms but the values of morals and ethics which should be passed to the students through the Martial Arts is the same. The gun is modern archery. During a knife fight it is important to keep the right distance and to reach for the vital points of the opponent in order to win and at the same time keep him out of your safe zone. In order to solve the distance problem people have created spears and bows and arrows. The gun could be seen as a small spear which is a bullet filled with black powder and the ignition or explosion of it as the string’s power. And again if Zen was the way of archery, there is no reason why the gun should not also be considered the same. Once I started teaching surveillance and awareness I noticed that most people were talking about gun disarming, but none of them had ever used a gun in real life. It was a red light to me that so called “masters” could not even take the magazine out of the gun or clear a malfunction or jam. It was very scary to see that those “masters” actually taught people.

Only by merging the following three aspects will you get a true understanding and knowledge of the gun. Gun usage, gun retention and gun disarming are those three significant aspects that bring you to that level. By missing only one dimension of it you will fail. All those ideas led me more into the research of the Asian way of fighting. In the old days a true master was not recognized as such by himself but by the others. Today people are self-proclaimed ‘Grand-Masters.’ Therefore I want to emphasize the importance of ‘Gaku’ , ‘Jutsu’ and ‘Do’ – the traditional way of teaching and learning Martial Arts.

‘Gaku’ means academic learning which occupies our minds. ‘Jutsu’ is the practice and study of the actual techniques in order to defeat an opponent. And the ‘Do’ is ‘The Way,’ the spirit we all try to attain in our lives in order to gain the true knowledge of ourselves and the world. That’s the main idea of Kapap: “Always student, sometimes teacher.” That’s why the Martial Arts teacher was also known as “Shinan–Jaku.” It means ‘pointing to the South’, like a compass, because in the Japanese tradition, pointing to the North was considered bad luck. The teacher was considered to be a compass pointing to the right direction for his students. Those three aspects of learning Martial Arts occupy mind, body and spirit.

Kapap’s compass is set to point to integrity first and most students and Grand-Masters are missing this quality today. Someone told me that Israeli Martial Arts has no integrity so I explained it to him this way: While most Grand Masters today are self-made, did not have any real teachers and they follow ANY way, that’s a compass that has no direction other than income.

You may see that some people in Israeli Martial Arts are students that have been kicked out from other schools and organizations for reasons that I see each day. I kick out some bad apples from the Kapap basket, and the next day they are Grand-Masters of Kapap, or they have or made their own new “Real Kapap”, based on lies and more. Then they try to sell evil lies about their teacher and try to take him down.

During my early training, when the teacher kicked you out of his dojo, that was the biggest shame you could ever face. Today you just cross the street or open Google and find a new organization to send you your Grand-Master certificate!

So to keep integrity in the Martial Art’s today is a real struggle. Most Grand-Masters today have only done maybe one week in Israel and then they certify themselves! How many people really lived in Israel and studied for years in the Israeli Martial Arts? When I was in Japan my teacher asked one of my students “so, how many years have you studied in Israel?” My old teacher is blind today, can hardly walk in his old age, but it seems to me that he gave me the best class as can we really call our students – students.

The compass needle always leads the way, but are our students ready follow? Or if you don’t award them a colored belt or advance their rank but tell them to train harder, will they the next day become ‘director’ of a new organization and call you fraud? How can anyone call his teacher fraud if he himself teaches what he was taught exactly?

I have been a victim of character assassinations by students that I kicked out of my dojo and Kapap as they shamed themselves. I kicked one guy from our Level 1 training out that was from France, and the next day he went from Level 1 to a Level 5 Instructor, even though we only have four levels! I kicked one guy out of the Israeli Army, and he proceeded to load the internet with lies, he just forgot to mention that I kicked him out of the Israeli Army for being AWOL! And the stories go on and on!

So in this world it’s hard to find real integrity and everyday I see more of the shamed that have been kicked out of many Israeli organizations inventing new Krav Maga organizations. The marketplace is seeking worthless paper certificates and not real study. It’s about ego and bullying, not Martial Arts.

Someone asked me about a guy that had some some certificate signed for Kapap or Krav Maga, and I answered that bathrooms are loaded with papers signed by some butts — it’s not the paper that makes you, it’s who signed the paper, and how easily he signed it and for how much money? In Kapap under Lt. Colonel Chaim Peer, the price is expensive: tears, blood, sweat. If you can’t pay in those denominations, keep being the director of some “real” system!

Jutsu is something that’s the most basic and it is introduced first in the art, for physical methods are the most basic root methods of an art, but it’s not the most important goal. Training is followed by Gaku, which is a study of the historical and technical. Then follows the philosophical and spiritual implications.

A beginner will have no idea about the physical movements, so he has to go through a lot of techniques first to integrate the movements into one’s own body. If the goal is purely for sport, winning contests, or for pure physical health or self-defense, it can stop here and that’s fine for what it is.

As the student improves his technique he has to realize that there’s some kind of technical underpinning. He needs to study and take his own initiative to read books and research into why the techniques are done a certain way. To some people this would seem like a waste of time, but knowing a bit about the history of Kendo will enlighten a Kendo competitor. Theoretical and historical knowledge adds to the physical capabilities of the student. Gaku and Jutsu work hand in hand.

Eventually every advanced student will come to the point of asking himself some deeper questions about the meaning of his/her training and how this activity fits into our lives and changes us as human beings. Here we see the influence of the art on spirit. This is the ‘Do’, the MOST important part of the learning process. We see our lives being changed by the art in a positive direction and giving us larger perspectives. Without any concern for Do, budo training would be merely recognized as a system whose only purpose is beating up or killing someone else.

It is not necessary to divide the three as you train. Jutsu is informed by Gaku, and both are enveloped by Do. While in the beginning gaining technical mastery is most important, as one progresses, Gaku and Jutsu also begin to take center stage, although Jutsu should never be neglected. In the end, a balance between the three is struck, where feedback loops move back and forth between the three categories, increasing the knowledge of all three.

But remember, without integrity you can’t find the Kapap way and at the end of the day each of us stands in front of his/here own mirror, and we can lie to all but not to ourselves! When I stand and look in my mirror, I like what I see and know that I will work harder and be a better student.

“Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.” Hopi

An'Ichi Miyagi Sensei

Photo Credit: Mauro Frota w/An’Ichi Miyagi Sensei, Higaonna Dojo

And this personal message:
To: Avi Nardia
From: Mauro Frota

Sensei, the photo was taken in a private class with An’Ichi Miyagi Sensei while I was living at the Higaonna Dojo, sleeping at the floor (a little like Karate Kid) 🙂

One day, An’Ichi Miyagi Sensei told me that he was coming to teach me a private class. I told that to Morio Higaonna Sensei and he told me to clean the dojo to receive his master. And so I did. We trained Sanchin and Tensho kata, along with basic kata Gekisai, and lots of talk about martial arts philosophy and moral values. He gave lots of examples from his own teacher, the founder of Goju-Ryu karate, Chojun Miyagi. After that he made me promise to write him a letter and visit Okinawa again. And I did so. At the dojo, he was always with a white belt, and during the opening ceremony, instead of being in front of me, he asked me to be beside him. I will never forget that day – it was my birthday present, as I was turning 21 in that same day.

Hope to see you again soon to keep on learning Kapap from you, especially because you treasure my background and give importance to moral values.

Maj. Avi Nardia

Tim Boehlert

©Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Mind, Body, Spirit

“Mind, Body, Spirit”

Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

KAPAP [Krav Panim El Panim] is an Israeli Martial art that today is an internationally recognized system that started out as a bridge between Martial Arts systems.

KAPAP was put together when I was chosen to become the unit Instructor for the YAMAM, a top Israeli counter-terrorism unit. As Israel’s top unit, any instructor would hope to get this assignment. I admit that I was the worst and that’s why I was chosen. Many former unit members tried to become instructors for the unit the unit. The YAMAM command looked into the program that I built together with Lt.Colonel (Res.) Chaim Peer. It was the most up-to-date system for hand-to-hand combat that met their needs. We built the system as a bridge between systems and by analyzing many different Martial Arts systems. We also relied on our own experience in the Martial Arts, while ourselves holding black belts in some Martial Arts.

We asked Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, one of best reality, traditional and combat Martial Artists from sport to combat, to be an advisor to start what today is known as KAPAP. Today it has gained popularity, and many times we slow down so as to build slow – it’s better than building too fast. We want the right people and refuse most of the people that pass the First Level with us. We take more than 75% of the students that try to become instructors out. Some of those become new ‘Grand Masters’ the next day! But understand this: this is not our market nor the people that we want to share with.

With his years of tactical and army experience, Lt. Colonel(Re.s) Chaim Peer and I added more and more to our ‘bridge’ by upgrading and progressing KAPAP. Everyday we add more layers with the help of many friends and teachers. Over the last several years we have added Machado RCJ Brazilian Jiujutsu. Many systems claim “we don’t want to fight on the floor on in the streets!” or “we don’t want to fight a knife!”, but we still need to study it to be a well rounded fighter and Martial Artist. You won’t be able to choose where and maybe not when you will fight, or if it ends up on the ground, as a close-quarter combat scenario, if it’s on stairs, in an elevator or even while you’re eating. It could even happen while you are watching in a movie theatre, or sitting in your parked car!

KAPAP is a Martial Art that could be called “Banana” as far as we are concerned and it would still be KAPAP with the same mind, spirit, body and ideas and principles, but we keep the name KAPAP to preserve the heritage and with respect to Israeli Martial Arts Roots. What makes a system is not it’s name, but rather the people that stand behind the system. After 15 years of building the name KAPAP, we now get slandered by some that say I am not the real KAPAP and it can go all the way back to the world’s oldest book, the Bible. “Hast thou killed, and also inherited?” — Have you murdered and also inherited? At first they will murder you, through your character and then they will try to come to the marketplace based on lies. But they inherit whom they murder, to build themselves and to look taller by slandering others and standing on their shoulders. The very shoulders of those that built what they now try to stand on, as Real KAPAP, real Krav Maga.

As Martial Artists, we understand human weakness and life and deal with it. Eleanor Roosevelt said ‘Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” For every case of slander, rather than waste valuable time, or energy trying to defend our Art, we choose instead to post a new DVD, or a new book, and to share more ideas, not to talk about small people, but to talk about ideas and share more.

We are establishing a new workshop based on the idea of “with only a knife.” It will be a workshop that stems from years of observing in the martial arts the attempts of many to try to sell more ‘reality’ or ‘real-deal’ training that uses slogans such as “Blood on my hands” with Rambo stories. These marketing ideas also present the knife and it’s associated fighting skills as evil tools in many ways. How bad can it be in a fight when we all already know that a person with a knife in his/her hand or a gun is stronger than that same person without this tool? But it is different with a gun. A gun is used only for one goal: which is to take life. This is why I mainly claim that I don’t like guns, even though I have used guns since I was six years old and taught firearms for many years. ANother important point to note is that you never fight with a gun or a knife, but you always fight the person that holds it. This important principle should be kept in mind – in any fight with a weapon, you are not facing the weapon, you are facing the attacker, and your attack should be with this in mind.

I see myself as a teacher of swordsmanship and draw from sword principles. Guns demand less skills than swords, so we introduce into the battlefield the values of the sword in the fight — the value is teaching spirit, mind and body. I always use it in my teaching, the sword of giving life, not the sword of taking life. We all know that any fool can take a life, but to give life is an art and real skill with wisdom. This is why when I see how some advertise knife or gun training with slogans like “with blood on my hands”, it’s a shame. Guns are made to defend and not to take life and its sad when sometimes we need to do so. It’s not something to be proud of. In my travels I’ve heard many ex-Army Rambo-types claim that others are only good paper-shooters, but that they can shoot people. I’d rather shoot paper targets to improve my skills, than be a war criminal.

Last year I designed a knife based on this concept. Growing up in the shadow of my father, it’s based on an Army knife that was used in the first IDF units. It served not only only for hand-to-hand combat, but also as a tool to help prepare food and use in the field. My father used it for years in the kitchen, and that is how I grew up, with this knife always in our kitchen, to use as a tool not to take life. How do you know that a person is good knife man? You give him a knife and ask him do some work with it. Any fool can kill with it.

So, along with my friend Toby Cowern, who is an arctic survival teacher and our KAPAP survival instructor, we have designed a new program to further develop the mind and spirit while using survival skills. We’ll share new ideas and knowledge with our students. I’ve just returned from demoing it to the Croatian Police and Special Forces units, and they adopted it! They were impressed with the program and ideas that were used for survival and mental training to develop inner power and will.

In last few years the Karambit knife, which is only an evil knife, can cut but no more so than any other knives already present in marketplace. For some it is the ultimate knife. It’s similar to what happened during the early days of the Nunchako, which was popularized through a popular movie. It’s touted as a knife that can do all kinds of tricks, but is that realistic and can it serve as a tactical knife? The answer is simple: you grab your Karambit knife and we’ll grab our survival knife and we’ll go into the woods and do some work and see how well each performs. Army troops and Special Forces troops need to cut ropes, cut through metal, build shelters in the field, find mines in the ground and more. Let’s see if the Karambit knife can do it or not? Well, we already know the answer to the question. If it’s being touted as a tactical knife, used for killing, we have firearms. If your primary gun malfunctions, you will move to use your secondary handgun, and all these movies that show fighting with knives — that’s for the movie audiences, and not for real soldiers. This is why I think that the Karambit knife has nothing to do more-so than to take a life, which any stone will do the, and the same as any knife.

Our mission as teachers is also to teach compassion and not to take life. Teaching swordsmanship always starts with a lot of respect. In doing Iaido the first cut is done slow so as to teach the mind careful control. It is done this way to teach us that life and death matter, and that when a life must be taken from any reason, it is not a game.

Taking a life is a sad act, a serious and unpleasant matter, either to save one’s own life or that of another is a terrible cost. It’s a very sad and hopefully unnecessary act that if we can prevent it, we need to do so. We must keep teaching our students with humanity and compassion, and set it with skills. We must teach not only the body/physical skills, but we must also add the philosophical mind and mentality into it and teach the use of inner will power.

We may look strong and healthy from the outside, but without our inner power and strength we can easily break under small stress. Our mental strength and our mind is not built with strong walls to withstand the earthquakes or the tsunami’s of life and stressful situations that we will find ourselves in from time to time.
As Martial Artist’s we seek to teach and study the reality-based Martial Arts and thus realism in our techniques and moves and ‘system’, but how can we do it really?

We can train to disarm an aggressive opponent armed with a knife or gun,but how can you defend yourself against a cowardly slanderous person or co–worker who will do anything to get your work? “Real Deal” people who try to pull you down so that they look better without ever having the skills to show it? Can you defend yourself from real life? Can you continue to teach real Martial Arts without falling into economic problems or without selling out yourself and your art? Can you fight so many competitors in this business who see threat in your success and will do all they can to try pull you down by using any crazy slander that they can? Can you fight, and stand in these economic times and keep your beliefs and teach what needs to be taught: this study called ‘Martial Arts’ or Budo or even KRAV Panim El Panim (KAPAP)? Can you fight sickness and your own health, the death of close friends and loved ones? Can you fight a car accident or a failed business? We study, teach and hold a ton of techniques that we can use to defend against an armed attacker, multiple attackers, against kicks, punches and chokes but can we use these techniques to win against our personal failures or tragedies? Can the study of Martial Arts also defend us in our everyday lives and how do you build our own inner power?

Without inner power, I would quit Martial Arts and perhaps life. When I was born, I fought with little chance to live as a newborn in this world due to blood poisoning which led to other problems that left me in the hospital for a very long time during my early childhood. Growing up in a new country now called Israel, by a spartan father that lost his parents at the early age of 10, my father had to take care of himself and his two brothers which led him to devote his life to Israel, serving in 5 wars defending his family. My father taught us not to fight those that we hate in front of us, but to fight to defend those that we love who are behind us. Pushing me into Army life at 14 years of age, I myself have grown up in the Army academy. I can’t compare what I did to what my father did, as I am not made with the same inner power as my father. To think about the hardships he had and to survive as he did, I can only try follow in his footsteps based on his strength and inner power, and hope to be as brave and courageous as he was – to follow in his path, and try to understand the most important word he taught me for Martial Arts or life: Respect.

In my life I’ve survived many assassinations attempts. During the Lebanon war, I was shot at more than a cat with 9 lives! I lost best friends. One was the youngest Colonel at age 27, but he didn’t make it to 28, and this is called success? It’s called devoted loyalty. To share, giving through love and peace. By defending his country, he gave the most that any human can – his life.

I survived the assassination of my life by Krav Maga proponents, Jewish men, my own blood? Everyone warned me about my enemies. I have been assassinated by ‘friends’ – evil people. Some were co-workers that joined forces together to try to character-assassinate me. How would you deal with it? When your son comes home from school and asks you why while using an Google-search,his father’s name his name pops up as fraud? His father is described as a fake self-defense teacher. The character assassination was perpetrated to try to destroy me and take me out of the Martial Arts marketplace. Our name is our flag. Some ‘funny’ group, led by a guy that I removed from the Army for being AWOL and for committing Army crimes, tried revenge and built his name and group name by using terms like ‘real-deal’, or “blood on hands” – is he a hero? As one of my friends said, “I’m not a war hero, but for sure a hero of life.” You can fight one lion but not 100 rabbits. The skunk does his best publicity and the slander didn’t help anyone to win in the marketplace. Martial Arts is a skill, but slander is a shame.

I have survived at the same time 6 tumors, attacking me one after another. I’ve had 6 surgeries. Even through the loss of my father, this group of evil people, one with documented mental illness that was dismissed from the Israeli Army, they continued to slander me. Shame on them. I lost two friends. One was shot on the border of Egypt and Israel after he took a terrorist out. I lost one of my best friends, and maybe the last real friend I had. He was a real hero an humble. Thanks to him, many suicide bombers had been taken out and many terrorists eliminated. Life is the real art and he was defeated by cancer. We spoke and joked just two weeks before he died, and he asked me if I was worried. he wanted to know how I dealt with my health issues and I asked him how he dealt with his. He said “I stopped being afraid of death and accepted it.” That’s the Samurai spirit. We open our arms to death. We love life, but accept death. To live for tomorrow, but think every day is our last, and how will you use it best? By sleeping or doing things? This is why my day has 25 hours. I get up one hour earlier to do more, to share more, to love more, to talk for peace more. To help make our world a better place and to be a small part of it enjoy it. Every day is like my last, but I plan to have a long life. I was also faced with a bad car accident last year. The policeman that showed up to my accident couldn’t imagine that I even got out alive! Yes, I am a cat with 9 lives. I am born and die many times, every day, that’s why every day is my birthday! I don’t wait for my real birthday to be happy and smile and share my birthday cake.

Asking questions only led to more questions. Sometimes I’d start with answers and leave the questions until later and for others. Live the day. Try to explore who you are and make yourself better. Work on your mistakes and improve upon them. By accepting being beaten in life, meeting all hardships head on with understanding, love and peace, you will develop inner peace and respect. I’ve met some really great people that are truly humble and kind human beings, with understanding toward humanity and respect to others.

“Good medicine is always bitter” training is not always fun, but there is a lot of fun and appreciation afterwards. Students think they do their best, despite the fact that they don’t know what their best is. The teacher is the students ‘fear,’ not because he is himself fearful, but because he understands and shows students their weak points. As much as a student receives from the teacher, he convinces himself that it is it all due to his own efforts. Teachers deserve respect because of their destiny as a parent or priest, and which may end up with nothing. But as with my own teachers, their spirit carries on even as they are no longer with us. This is why we bow to Shinzen, to thank the great spirit, and to remember that all we know is only so as they had passed it onto us. We need to obey and to pass it onto our students.

Teaching and study should not be done with ego, but only with love and peace.

Nature is a great teacher, this is why we always hold training in nature and also survival training to complete all this study about inner power mental stamina.

To write this column I drew from Zen ideas Kodo – the ancient ways, by Kensho Furuya ,R.I.P., [1948 – 2007], ideas from my teacher Hanshi Patrick McCarthy [Aiki Kenpo Jiujutsu and Koryu Uchinadi], from my teacher Professor John D. Machado [Machado RCJ Brazilian Jiujutsu] and from my personal life.

Maj. Avi Nardia

Tim Boehlert

©Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Shooting: How Close Is Too Close?

“Shooting: How Close is Too Close?” 

Avi Nardia, Benjamin Krajmalnik (“Krav-jmalnik”) & Tim Boehlert

When students ask me “what is the most dangerous gun?” I always say “your fork as most of us will die from over-eating and not from gunshots.” For a few years students, instructors and even the folks at Budo Magazine have asked me to put together a DVD on firearms instruction, but Lt.Colonel(Res) Chaim Peer, KAPAP founder always refused to give civilians too much info as he wanted KAPAP to be only for our people. Experience had shown that others would copy KAPAP and call it different names. He always said that ‘Integrity’ was to do the right thing. Not many see it, but in today’s Martial Arts marketplace, there are many, many opportunists, 24 year-old kids that leave the Israeli Army, and then call themselves Grand-Master, or ‘Real Deal’ and then try to call everyone else a fraud and slander them using their own DVD and background information of study to claim that THEY are the only ‘Real Deal!” So, after a very long time I managed to ask Chaim Peer for his permission to create a new DVD, and thus we have created a new Kapap Firearms DVD.

Personally I don’t like firearms, even though I have been around them since I was born as my father served in the Israeli Army. To see firearms in our home was natural, and as a kid I used to play on his Jeep or with some of his military gear, as it was always around our home as part of my father’s visits home from the Army. Sometime’s I would even drive the Army ambulance, as my father later became an Army Medic/EMT.

At around 6 years old, my father spoke with me and explained firearms to me, citing specifically the ones that had been in our home, an Uzi and an AK-47 . He said “I know you know where it is and if you touch it with out my permission, I’ll smack you!” and then he smacked me – as he caught me with a smile on my face, smiling about the ideas to come. He then said “this is a very bad thing, a gun, BUT I know you may want play, so if you want to, all you need to do is ask me but please don’t do it without my permission and without inspecting it FIRST.” He then taught teach me the second rule,”Safety First,Safety Last.”

These two rules I will hold with me forever and they are more important for me today as a firearms instructor as I see so many people fooling around with guns. During this past year a firearms instructor, a “Rambo, Real Deal deadly guy” shot one of his own student’s four times! I thank God that the student survived. As a joke, we say in Israel, “…the instructor is also a bad shot” as a macabre joke. But EGO caused this accident, nothing else.

This event led myself and Ben Krajmalnik, who also served in the Israeli Army/IDF to come out with a new basic DVD to explain a little about firearms and safety and to share some basic techniques to train with firearms. Mostly I don’t like to teach firearms unless I know the students personally, or if she/he is in Law Enforcement or coming from a friendly Military service. Firearms are made only for one purpose – to kill. This is why I’m not much in favor for it and in any firearms class I always state to my students “if you carry a firearm, you need be ready to kill! It’s not for fun, it’s not for ego and to show who has the bigger gun as most people play with guns to extend their ego.” In my experience I have had many students from the best firearms instructors, but when I left the the Israel’s top counter-terrorism unit, I understood that mostly we didn’t really know how to shoot properly. The art of shooting is more than shooting people and too many ex-military personnel say things like “I’m not a paper shooter” – that’s just egotistical.

I have had lots of firearms instructors from many fields such as hunting, sport shooting and even Army counter-terrorism experts. Shooting can be done for Combat or for Sport or recreational, and some do it only for fun. The sport is very demanding and hard but combat requires less skills, but it’s goal of using the gun is ONLY to kill.

I have studied the gun from all three methods of training and from so many instructors and mindsets, and I then understood many mistakes in the Israeli systems that I studied first, like “point shooting.” Point shooting, which is GREAT for self-defense at close distances and is helpful to break the 21-foot rule – The Tueller Drill – is a self-defense training exercise to prepare against a short-range knife attack. Sergeant Dennis Tueller, of the Utah Police Department wondered how quickly an attacker with a knife could cover 21 feet (6.4m), and so he timed volunteers as they raced to stab their target. He determined that it could be done in 1.5 seconds. These results were first published as an article in SWAT magazine in 1983 and in a police training video by the same title, “How Close is Too Close?” Point shooting is great for this scenario, BUT by not using gun-sights you create different problems and one BIG mistake with Israeli firearms training is to walk with an unloaded gun (for safety) but if you find yourself in this scenario you can’t use one hand to try and load under stress as you may need that hand to block a knife attack and use your other hand to draw your weapon with. It’s a very common mistake go with an unloaded gun, so if you carry a gun you must be ready to use it in anytime you carry it.

Introducing: Instinctive Point Shooting Combat (IPSC)

Safety with firearms and handling firearms in the use of self defense and protection.

Point Shooting is the skill of quickly discharging a firearm (usually a handgun) with minimal or no use of the sights on the weapon.  It is a method of shooting that relies on instinctive reactions and kinematics to engage close-range targets. This shooting method is used in fast and dynamic situations when there is no time to use a gunsight or in low light conditions. Point shooting does not rely on sights and instead places the gun below the line of sight, but still in the field of vision. Since the sights are not employed, the shooter focuses on the target. The point shooting method is often referred to as threat focused shooting.


The purpose of Instinctive Point Shooting Combat Training (IPSC) is not to develop marksmanship or to develop competition skills. It is not for shooting holes in paper targets and it is not a skill for hunting small game. The purpose IPSC training is to enable you to quickly and effectively stop someone from making you a victim. IPSC trains people to survive life-threatening situations and trains you to react in a fraction of a second in order to defend your life and protect innocent people. It is a self-defense discipline.

You cannot shoot another person on mere suspicion.  The innocent citizen or police officer must wait until a predator or terrorist makes an overt act, putting the citizen in a situation where they must react to their actions. In a gunfight the aggressor has the advantage and the defender is a second or two behind them. Against this terrible disadvantage, the citizen must be able to overcome lost time with a combination of speed and accuracy.

IPSC shooting trains you to survive a gunfight, even when the aggressor has the advantage. We teach speed and accuracy in an armed encounter because you need to be the survivor.

There are no rules in a gunfight, knife fight or street fight; there are only facts, which when understood, can give you a winning edge:

Fact: Almost all gunfights, knife fights and assaults occur at distances of under three meters.

Fact: Most gunfights and assaults are over in two to three seconds.

Fact: A high percentage of gunfights and assaults occur in dim-light or where sights are hardly visible.

Fact: In a spontaneous life-threatening situation, the body undergoes changes that degrade our fine motor skills because our vision is focused exclusively on the threat.


To win in a gunfight or to survive a life threatening assault requires great speed and accuracy; drawing and firing the gun at close-range without the use of sights. This is Instinctive Point Shooting Combat.

Violence – recreational or otherwise – is a part of society, and in the new era of terrorism it knows no boundaries. Whether we like it or not, violence is going to be a feature of our lives for a long time to come.  Rather than ignore it or hide from it, we must learn to handle it.  The objective way to live with violence is to avoid it, deflect it or reduce its impact by being prepared for it.  We do not get to choose the bad things that happen to us.

A person’s natural instincts – which include spontaneous reaction to sudden attack – are formidable powers that usually ensure survival if they are harnessed correctly. In my experience there are two factors that interfere with our ability to defend ourselves: inappropriate equipment and inadequate training.  These things have killed (and continue to kill) innocent people.

After many years of involvement in personal security I have reached the conclusion that in order to harness the natural survival instincts of the human body, equipment and training must be kept as simple as possible. Attacks are sudden and without warning and a huge advantage during an attack is a concealed handgun capable of immediate action.  Requiring no time-wasting, no two-handed loading operation or a frantic search for a cunningly hidden safety catch, it is available in a split second. It is a handgun that can be pulled, pointed and fired repeatedly with ease, as well as capable of being carried safely.

The training and the equipment recommended by IPSC is calculated to keep people safe with minimal impact on their daily lives.

Maj. Avi Nardia

Benjamin Krajmalnik

Tim Boehlert

© Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia, Benjamin Krajmalnik & Tim Boehlert

Kapap: The Art Of Giving Life, Not Taking Life

KAPAP: The Art of Giving Life, Not Taking Life

As a student of Japanese swordsmanship, it’s clear that “To Study the Old is To Understand the New.” I was an “Uchi-deshi” for almost 8 years in Japan, under sword Master Sensei Kubo Akira, and I have followed him for the last 30 years. I witnessed his skill in front of me everyday and it was inspiring. He demonstrated his mastery as my teacher with every move, every breath. As he taught, he’d often speak of Nakayama Hakudo, also known as Nakayama Hiromichi, Soke of Muso Shinden Ryu. This is why I also teach my students Arts and Crafts. You cannot teach, you can ONLY study.

When I moved to Los Angeles I searched for a teacher that could keep this spirit and inspiration, and I found Professor John Machado. Professor Machado always taught me that Brazilian Ju Jitsu needed to flow with good spirit and good attitude and that you needed to maintain your own health. BJJ is an inspiring way of life and is all about having a good quality life.

I was never a student of Carlos Gracie, Sr., but I can say that I do study a lot and am inspired by him, even though I have never met him in person. I have felt his spirit in every BJJ class with my teacher. We used to joke back then and we would call it “story time” as Professor Machado would sit and share stories, inspirations, and things from his heart. He would share with his students while some kept rolling, or some would sit nearby. I used to go home and make a list of what I needed to keep studying. Not so much the techniques, as I always had techniques in my mind, and was always getting them right and wrong! It was more about the timing and where you’d plan to use them. That’s the key, because if you use great technique with the wrong timing, it would be like using the wrong tool for the wrong job. This I’d already studied with one of my most inspired and inspiring teachers, Hanshi Patrick McCarthy. Hanshi McCarthy always looked to build a bridge between the Old Days Traditional Martial Arts and the Modern Martial Arts, using flow as used in Aiki Kenpo. When I found BJJ, it was the best fit for me but it also showed the flow as in Aiki Flow – all the way from standing to ground.

Professor John Machado always spoke of “Uncle, Carlos Gracie” who was possibly the single most important figure in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu history. He was the very first Gracie to germinate the roots of BJJ, Japanese Jiu Jitsu. Carlos Gracie was known by his nickname “Pai Branco”, which means “White Father” in Portuguese, by family and friends. This was the name his brothers and close family called him due to his habit of wearing white at all times and because he was considered the head of the clan, it’s fatherly figure. He was the weak student his father brought to Maeda Sensei, using the stage name of Count Coma. Count Coma, Misuyio Esai Maeda, was a Jiu Jitsu/Judo representative sent to Brazil by Japan to share Jiu Jitsu with the world.


He had lots of stories, from Nutrition to Health, about how to flow, and I was inspired most about nature studies and human studies by this great teacher and his stories. He would tell stories of how he’d swim in the river with alligators, or how he developed mental training and stamina that would change him from the white chicken and train him to be the war chicken.

I am inspired by Carlos Gracie’s 12 commandments, and would like to share them here:

1 To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

2 Speak to everyone of happiness, health and prosperity.

3 Give all of your friends the feeling that they are valuable.

4 Always look at events from a positive point of view, and turn positivity

into a reality in life.

5 Think always in the best, work solely for the best and expect always the


6 Always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about

your own.

7 Forget about past mistakes and concentrate your energies on the

victories ahead.

8 Always keep your fellow men joyful and have a pleasant attitude to all

that address you.

9 Spend all the time you need in perfecting yourself, but leave no time to

criticize the others.

10 Become too big to feel unrest, too noble to feel anger, too strong to

feel fear and too happy to tumble in adversity.

11 Always have a positive opinion about yourself and tell it to the world,

not through words of vanity but through benevolence.

12 Have the strong belief that the world is beside you if you keep true to

what is best within you.

This all came back to me during my last training with Hanshi McCarthy while I was looking into more study between swordsmanship, Judo, Jiu Jutsu and BJJ. In looking at today’s Modern Martial Arts, we must excel at what we do and what we teach and with what ‘messages’ we will and must pass on to the next generations.

One of my ‘messages’ was to develop a new knife based on this whole study. The new knife is made by Fox knifes in Italy and it’s called the “Israeli Tracker: KAPAP.” This knife was developed from many ideas, beginning with my own history.


My father was a combat paratrooper. The background color of his wings was red (as opposed to blue) signifying that he actually made combat drops. This is rare, since most paratroopers train but do not actually deploy into combat in this fashion. As such, I grew up amongst the first paratroopers of the IDF, absorbing their culture, their history, their stories and pictures from the old days. One picture I have never forgotten is that of the platoon training knife-fighting in the 1950’s, when KAPAP, Krav Panim El Panim/Face-to-Face combat, was the close-combat system used in the IDF. As we re-developed it and started to re-introduce it throughout the world to the civilian market, this picture kept popping up again and again in my mind as the start of KAPAP. The picture is that of my father, which I adapted into my logo. I carry my father’s memory and tradition. This ‘shadow’ of the knife has followed me since I was a small child. I remember how my father used the knife outdoors and indoors as a heavy duty knife.

I enlisted in the army in 1980 and was challenged to go to war in 1982. I served in a war zone for two years, and my father’s knife was always on my military vest. When I left the army, I gave my knife

to a Lt. Colonel friend as a present. I then traveled to Japan to study Japanese Martial Arts for almost 8 years. I became a 6th Dan in Japanese swordsmanship and a 7th Dan in Aiki Kenpo Jutsu. I have done different martial arts, but I always see myself as a Combat and swordsmanship teacher.

My school of swordsmanship is that of giving life. When I started to teach Combat, I noticed that many were teaching how to kill with a knife and explained the knife in the wrong way. You can kill with a stone… but the knife is the most important tool for humans. We use it for our survival everyday. By connecting my personal history, my way of life, and my principles, as well as a deep study of swordsmanship and knife fighting from the masters, I developed ideas as to what would constitute the ideal all around knife. Based on the origin of the knife, and with my experiences as an Olympic fencing coach and knife fighting teacher, as well as Japanese swordsmanship, I started to design this knife which would be the basis for a workshop we teach in KAPAP called “Only Knife.” Students will take only a knife and go into the woods by themselves and survive. The design of the knife had to be one that was not only effective as a weapon, but it would also have to encompass other capabilities: to allow one to build their own shelter, to get their food, to get their water, to help them build a fire, and take care of all their needs to survive. The idea is that with my Fighting knife you can not only kill but also save lives and survive. This is the main idea for this knife – to give life, not to take a life.

KAPAP is not a conventional system. It is a bridge between systems: it’s a philosophy and a concept. KAPAP was not designed as a belt ranking system, or to create new Masters and Grand Masters. There are more than enough systems that do this. As a bridge, KAPAP’s goal is to unite Martial Artists from different disciplines so that they will be able to communicate and share knowledge as brothers-in-arms. We wish to do this without conflict, ego or politics based on common martial art principles.

Someone told me “There are no bad students, only bad teachers.” I wonder what these bad teachers were before they became bad teachers? I think they may have been bad students. And today, with ‘No Roots’ systems, we get so many Grand Masters of Everything, and that is really Nothing.


There are so many YouTube and Facebook ‘internet’ or ‘keyboard’ warriors and Grand Masters that are in Martial Arts for a only few days seemingly, and they all slander great people and teachers. These same teachers have been in the Martial arts for most of their lives! My friend Sam Markey told me a story about someone that had asked him if he could fight two or three attackers and he said “I can fight one lion, but not one-hundred Rabbits – True is On the Mat!” There are not so many teachers today as there are too many organizations, and running those organizations has become more important than teaching.

“An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.” Alexander the Great 

I love being a teacher and will continue to fight to remain a teacher and not a business organization. One of my main teachers is Nature. This is why we are doing lots of survival and bushcraft workshops, as no art or craft can really teach and you can only study, and your skills will be tested for real. It’s the same with Martial Arts. People try to over-sell themselves in the Martial Arts like this: There was one legendary teacher and this one student had been his best student, but since the teacher is now dead, they are the new Grand Master of that teacher’s life-work. But it’s never like that. Most good students also had something in them to create, explore and study and this is why most of today’s modern Grand Masters should remember that they are here to carry the flame, not the ash. Carry the Sprit. This is why I try teach all 3 elements: Body, Mind and Spirit. It’s the same as carrying the three circles of Martial Arts: Traditional, Combative and Sport.

Always remember that techniques can work or they can fail. They are dependent on the situation, on proper timing and also what target that you choose to hit. It may be wrong, but it can also be right at the same time. Trust free-fight sparring and not theory or static practice. Truth is always discovered on the Mat by trying and mostly by studying through failing: You can hit this way and you can hit that way, with an open hand or a closed hand. The experience of free-fighting, action/reaction, standing to ground fighting, using a weapon or no weapon, strikes or no strikes, Gi or No Gi – lessons can be learned, even when you fail.

Stay away from those cowards that say things like: “We are not a sports Martial Art” or “We are not a traditional Martial Art, we are a no-nonsense Martial Art” or “No Referee, No Tap, No Rules.” These slogans only show FEAR, as we all understand that we can kick someone in the groin or poke his eyes in a real fight. But, have you forgotten about the other guys skills? The advantage of a fighting sport with a referee and Tap Out rules is that it only gives you one way to challenge yourself and your fears. By hiding behind these slogans, you are not getting better prepared. By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail. Nature has no mercy at all, if it’s going be snowing and you get dressed in only your underwear, it’s still going to snow and you will still need to deal with it. To study nature, to love nature and to flow with nature — this is why nature can be such a great teacher. Pain is also a good teacher, but no one wants to learn this in a class!

Study yourself, improve your skills. Survival gives you so many ways to train your spirit to get stronger. To feel fear is normal and necessary, it is nature’s way of giving you that extra shot of energy. Knowledge is the first step in overcoming your fear. By placing yourself in nature, you can study and learn to use your thinking in survival situations. Panic can cause humans to act without thinking.

I would like share some quotes and words of wisdom and then end this ‘lesson’ with “Mokuso.” Each traditional class starts and ends with it.

Nature gets you to bully yourself. Challenge yourself, not others. 

“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” Lao Tzu 

Great people and inspired people are said to stay away from evil. 

“I would rather be a little nobody, than to be an evil somebody.” 

Abraham Lincoln 

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.” 

Tom Robbins, 

“When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sandpaper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.” 


“Life is a fight, but not everyone’s a fighter. Otherwise, bullies would be an endangered species.” 

Andrew Vachss 

“With ignorance comes fear – from fear comes bigotry. Education is the key to acceptance.” Kathleen Patel

“What if the kid you bullied at school, grew up, and turned out to be the only surgeon who could save your life?” 

Lynette Mather 

“If there are no heroes to save you, then you be the hero.” 

Denpa Kyoshi 

“You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.” 

Leonardo da Vinci 

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill 

As I have mentioned many times, the first thing to study from history is that we do not study from history! Keep away from evil and the Martial Arts that try to teach you to be a bully or evil.

“Don’t carry a weapon – be a weapon.” Avi Nardia

This is how we train, to be the weapon, by using our brain, and with mental training like that taught in survival studies. All Kapap training strives for the concept of not depending on any weapon other than ourselves. Like the sandpaper quote above, you become the weapon by a slow process of the body, mind and spirit all being polished.

Understand the purpose of Mokuso in the opening and closing Reshiki.

“Mokuso is the Japanese term for meditation. It is performed before beginning a training session in order to “clear one’s mind” of the distractions of their everyday life, and is similar to Mushin, a Zen concept. This is more formally known to mean, “Warming up the mind for training hard.” We repeat Mokuso at the end of the training session when we practice a moment of introspection.

Introspection is the self-examination of your conscious thoughts and feelings. Introspection can be referenced in a spiritual/martial context as the examination of your spirit. Introspection is related to the philosophical concept of human self-reflection, and is contrasted with external observation.”

Maj. Avi Nardia

Tim Boehlert

© Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

To Study The Old, Is To Understand The New

To Study the Old, Is to Understand the New

Teaching modern Martial Arts and Reality-Based self-defense, many times we are faced with questions like: “Why do you study Brazilian Ju-jutsu?” or “Why do you study Judo?” or “Why do you study Japanese Swordsmanship?”, and ultimately with “What do those disciplines have to do with modern Martial Arts and Reality-Based self-defense?”

Most Reality-Based practitioners forget who the founders of their systems are, and the roots of that system, but it’s always important to remember those roots. We also see it within the Martial Arts.

Avi Nardia: 


I was born and raised in Israel and joined the Army, and thus I cannot agree with some Krav Maga schools that declare: “We are not a traditional Martial Art, we are a no-nonsense Martial Art.” With ego-laden talk like this, falling is a big risk — and it’s too high of a risk. 

Krav Maga is also based on traditional Martial Arts, and all of it’s moves come from old manuals and books that were available and utilized during the World War II era, including many Martial Arts books about Karate, Judo, Hand-to-Hand Combat and Ju-jutsu. I’ve never seen a move that I hadn’t already seen in old Martial Arts books, way before Krav Maga was born. All of Krav Maga’s kicks and strikes have been taken from many different Martial Arts and have been set into one puzzle in Israel, to teach fast self-defense to it’s Army personnel. Krav Maga techniques were to be based on a few simple criteria: techniques had to incorporate only a few minimal moves and techniques could not be overly complicated, as they might not always be effective. And many times techniques were developed and taught to give the soldiers confidence and basic self-defense tools, but nothing more. 

When I returned to Israel in 1992, after almost eight years in the Far East studying Martial Arts, I must admit that as a Martial artist that desired to study Martial Arts, if I could have found the knowledge that I sought so close to my door, I would not have flown all the way to the Far East to study! 

Lt. Colonel Avi Harus, R.I.P., asked me to setup a new more advanced program, that would achieve a few simple goals: it should be less injurious to it’s students, and it should prepare cadets to join the Israeli Special Forces. This is where I began to see the good things in Israeli Martial Arts systems as well as the bad things, and I began to progress it, to develop it to the next level, to teach it, to fully experience it and to thoroughly test it. This experience eventually lead me to being recruited by a top Israeli unit after they had tested most of the current Israeli systems and instructors in Israel, including some ex-Yamam members. They found that the program that I developed was the best program suited for them and this is where KAPAP, the newest Israeli Martial Art, originated. 

Together with Lt. Colonel Chaim Peer and his vast experience, we went to the Special Forces to discover what their needs were, and there we worked with one of the most inspiring Martial Artists that I know, Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, who also functioned as an advisor. 

We started proposing the most advanced system to the unit. Through the years the system would 

be changed and it got more and more progressive, most recently with the addition of Machado RCJ Ju-jutsu. I was honored to be one of the RCJ instructors and I was also chief instructor for Aiki Kenpo Ju-jutsu, under Hanshi Patrick McCarthy. 

Thus, since the Krav Maga system is taught to kids, it is not really accurate to claim that Krav Maga is the official system for the Israeli Army. There are no kids in the Israeli Army.

We are teaching a new and modern system, with some of it’s roots emanating from the army, the police and counter-terrorism units, but with it’s main roots coming from the traditional Martial Arts. With Kapap expanding into the civilian and world-wide marketplace, the system acquired the name Face-to-Face (Krav Panim El Panim.) As an international name, it was less and less ‘Israeli.’ As Kapap progressed, there were more new ways to study and progress over the years to make Kapap more of a ‘wide-angle system.’ Now, even the world-wide system is hard to define as it’s more of a concept, and once a concept becomes a system it starts to get limited and once we define Zen it stops being Zen.

Krav Maga students and or it’s instructors have been quoted as saying “No groin, no Krav Maga.” We’ve tried to take the ego out of Kapap and we say “No brain, no Kapap.”

We see Kapap as a three-stage Martial Art:

1) The Combative component 

2) The Sport/Recreational component 

3) The Traditional Martial Arts component 

We have no problem competing in Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, Thai Boxing, Ju-jutsu, Judo, Brazilian Ju-jutsu and more. All of these systems serve as a great reference point and provide great study materials. There are those that say: “Train as you fight, fight as you train”, but this quote also reveals a real misunderstanding of reality. If you were to train as you’d fight, you would be dead or badly injured, but we teach “Safety First, Safety Last.”

Some say: “In the street, there is no referee.” Thank God it’s like that, because if you lose in the ring the fight will be stopped and you can learn a lesson from your loss. If you live by your ego alone and avoid the challenge of competing, you have already lost, as you probably fear losing and excuse it by relying on empty phrases like “in the street, there is no referee.” You hide your fear, and can’t face seeing yourself losing in the ring.

Always remember that if someone can knock you out in the ring he could do it in the street and that competing in the ring only gets you close to what a street fight might be like. Still, it’s much closer than training and sparring only in a dojo. In the ring you will experience a more realistic fight, you will experience a certain level of fear and you will experience the effects of a real adrenalin rush, in a safe, but different way. Don’t feed your ego and live in this dangerous fantasy until one day, when you get taken by surprise and by get into a real fight in the street. Remember that if someone can kick you in the head or knock you down in the ring, they can also kick you in the groin and attack your eyes in the street. Your attacker is not deluded like you are, and he will not fight and abide by your rules, he will only go with his.

Many Reality-Based systems also claim that: “In the street, the ground is the last place you want to fight.” We would also add that a gun or a knife is also the last weapon that we’d want to fight. We don’t even want to fight. So, by not studying ground-work, you will never understand how to get yourself up from the ground if your attacker puts you there, and with so many Mixed Martial Art

ists and ground fighters around today, you may face a guy that will take you to the ground, your first time, and you will lose. By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.

We also see Reality-Based students dressing up with helmets, rifles, handguns and knives. We think that’s funny. Who would even consider attacking someone that dresses this way? It’s just not realistic. No normal person goes out into the streets like that — for example, brandishing multiple knives. The guy looks like “Bob the Builder.” To go out into public that way, with ten knives on your belt, portrays you as a bully with a huge ego, and it will only result in legal issues for you. How would you explain yourself in a court of law? “Bob, why do you carry so many knives on you?” If you experience a street-fight, and use just one of those ten knives, and the attacker is injured or killed, you could be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon or murder.

We define the fight as having three distinct phases or stages:

1) Pre-Conflict: 

The preparation that includes awareness, psychological preparation for an attack, hand-to-hand training for the fight, ground fighting, weapons training, and thinking about the legal aspects

2) The Conflict 

What happens if you could not prevent it? 

3) Post-Conflict 

You will likely need to explain to a Police Officer why you are carrying ten knives for self-defense, and then do the same to a judge and a jury 

You will be charged with a crime. 

A crime is customarily defined as having three elements:

1) Possessing the tools to commit the crime 

i.e. those ten knives you were carrying! 

2) The Intention 

Carrying those ten knives with you and with the intent of using them when you thought it might be appropriate to do so 

3) The Opportunity 

You were there when it happened 

This fight with our ego and evil reminds us also that as Martial Artists we must not only demonstrate and utilize our integrity, and many morals and values but that we must also teach them. Many times we see instructors teach that knives are an evil tool and they show how you can cut and slash with a knife but they forget to teach as part of their training that we can also avoid taking life. We must try to save lives, not take lives. Just because you can does not mean that you should. The Samurai code as we interpret it is that you should use the sword to GIVE life, not to TAKE life. Traditional Martial Arts start with education and morals, and then adds skills.

This ideology reminds me of my teachers words:

On Ko Chi Shin (Study the old, understand the new) 

Examine things of the past, and obtain the new knowledge and the opinion from there.

This is a proverb from Confucius that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures. It can be translated several ways:

Coming up with new ideas based on things learned in the past.

Examine things of the past, and obtain new knowledge.

Develop new ideas based on a study of the past.

Gain new insights through restudying old issues.

Understand the present by reviewing the past.

Learning from the past.

Review the old and know the new.

Taking a lesson from the past.

Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.

Follow the old ways.

The direct translation would be: “By asking old things, know new things.” To learn new things that are outside of your experience, you can learn from old things of the past. You can find wisdom from history.


Hanshi Patrick McCarthy

Maj. Avi Nardia

Tim Boehlert

© Copyright, 2013 Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Safety First, Safety Last



What’s wrong in the Martial Arts industry today?

• At one defensive shooting academy, a firearms trainer shoots and wounds one of his own instructors.

• At other training facilities, students are routinely hospitalized with ‘training accidents.’

• There are systems in the Martial Arts marketplace that claim to produce the ‘Baddest,’ or ‘Deadliest’ students. One instructor even markets himself as a ‘Real-Deal Israeli… with blood on my hands.’

• If you search YouTube on the internet for firearms instruction you will see many that sell themselves as the iconic movie character Rambo.

• Some students and/or instructors walk around with multiple knives on their belts, which makes them look like Bob the Builder.

A firearms instructor that shot and injured one of his own instructors. This man has military experience, he trains LEO, military and civilians. He knows guns, so what happened? He fired four rounds down-range on another human, but only had three hits. One bullet to the hand, two bullets near center-mass. He missed with one bullet. Why? Would you assume that he is an expert in his field, based on who he trains? Couldn’t you also assume then that he’d know the difference between a live target and a stationary one? That he’d know his range-safety rules? What went wrong? While this a tragic example, it points out that an ‘expert’, may not be so.

In too many other training facilities, students are injured by over-enthusiastic instructors that let their egos dictate the lesson plan. 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.’ Traditionally, this tactic has worked for years, but that does not make it right, or good. This marketing tactic ensures income, but at the expense of the students, and in many cases the instructors.

Do you really want to be the guy that walks around with 12 knives on your belt – Bob The Builder? If you found yourself in a real fight, are you prepared to share your knives with your enemy? How you will explain it, in your post-conflict phase, in court — why you had 12 knives on you for self-defense? You will be charged with murder, and find yourself unable to defend yourself claiming self-defense.

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, not to promote it as a ‘B’ movie. We don’t require military fatigues and helmets to prove our methods and techniques work. Where would we face that? When we teach civilians, we should not mix our training with what might be taught in a Commando unit. Too many civilians want go out in public dressed with paramilitary uniforms, but when it comes to training hard, then they say ‘no thank you!’ If you really want to be a soldier, join the army!



At an industry awards dinner an award was presented to the ‘Best Self-Defense Instructor’ of the year. The winner was too afraid to go to his hotel alone, so he asked me to escort him. Is it reality, or an illusion? Unfortunately, many Reality-Based programs have nothing to do with reality anymore. Reality-Based martial arts got it’s start several years ago, and the ‘reality’ aspect has been copied, and diluted from it’s original intent. As one of the pioneers of Reality-Based martial arts, I coined the phrase “It is better to be a student of reality, than a master of illusion.” One system stated that “we are a combat system. We are not a traditional martial art. We are a no-nonsense martial art.” Another system describes itself as ‘non-sport’ Are they real?

Trainers may try to show off, but they forget the most important aspect: we are also Educators. With the recent popularity of Mixed Martial Arts, many have forgotten the differences between the Dojo and the Gym, the workout and the class. As teachers in martial arts, and yes, firearms are a part of KAPAP. Guns are evil – guns have only one purpose: to kill. So why do so many people try to get their pictures hugging guns? This is why I don’t like guns, but yes, I teach firearms to make sure people are safe if they use one.In KAPAP, our motto is ‘safety first, safety last.’


I never saw myself as soldier, even though I became an army Major. I always followed my heart, my common sense, my morals, my ethics and I also asked my students to follow theirs, to use their own brains. And that’s one of the things that makes KAPAP different. Question these marketing hooks:

Train as You Fight> 

It’s a catch-phrase that makes no sense. You cannot ever train as you would fight. If you were to train that way, you’d get hurt every time you trained. Would you really train with a sharp knife? How about a loaded handgun? You will get hurt or killed if you do. Guaranteed.

Don’t be a Victim> 

Why should you think of yourself as a victim? It’s a ploy to use your fear against you. It puts you in a bad mindset – failure. Fear is a good thing! You can use your fear to alert you to imminent threats. You can use your fear to avoid conflict. Why would that be a bad thing?

Don’t fall for bad marketing. Question ‘experts’ credentials. Learn the laws concerning self-defense as it applies to you and where you live. You will likely be surprised. Don’t be manipulated by marketing.


The triangle of teaching or study was developed with and after years of experience. Mistakes were made along the way, but we were lucky nothing bad happened, and we survived to change and develop better ideas based on the mistakes that had been made.

The basis is technique and drills. By studying the different techniques and linking them together to create different drills and play, we can then get to the top of the triangle, which is the fight. Unfortunately today, with MMA attitudes, many students want to start fighting before studying. This leads to a triangle with no base to fall back on. It means injuries, and accidents that need not happen.


As disturbing as these facts and trends are, there seems to be no imminent solutions either, unless we, as martial artists, step up, speak up and take corrective actions – for ourselves, and for our students. Being a martial artist should not be about profit at the expense of others. It should be about education, safety, respect, culture, morals, and common sense. Let’s elevate the Martial Arts as educators, not merely as instructors and trainers. It’s time for us to build a better future for all of the Martial Arts community.

“Keep the ego out of schools, keep an open mind and study.” 

Professor John Machado

“A good instructor teaches students how to fight, a great instructor teaches students how to live.” 

Richard Almeida

“It is better to be a student of reality, than a master of illusion.”

Avi Nardia

“It’s not the size of your stones, it’s what you build with them.”

Tim Boehlert 

Start building. Do your part to make a positive difference.

© Copyright, 2012 Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert