KAPAP: Then, Now, and Into the Future
When I returned to Israel after 8 years studying martial arts abroad (mostly Japan), I was recruited back into the Israeli Army by Lt. Colonel Avi Harus (RIP) to create a new hand-to-hand system for Army special forces recruits. I had previously been a senior NCO and was by that time a field grade officer at the rank of Major.
When I assessed their existing program, I found that the martial arts system they were practicing hadn’t been updated in more than 30 years. I developed a new hand to hand curriculum that was more practical, effective, and fit the mission of the school. This program I developed here was the basis for what would later become one of the world’s most respected martial arts.
When Israeli’s elite counter terror unit wanted to refresh their system, every CQB trainer in Israel applied for the prestigious position; including former operators. The unit is called the YAMAM and it is the special operations division of the Israeli national police; renowned as one of the most experienced and combat ready units in the world.
As a Master Sergeant in the YAMAM, I build with my knowledge of martial arts, and created a new close quarters battle system for one of the most elite combat operations units in the world. I named it KAPAP – Krav Panim El Panim – Face to Face Combat ..
KAPAP was a mostly forgotten WW2 era Hebrew acronym which means “Face to Face Combat.” I named the new system KAPAP in order to ensure our new system was distinguished from krav maga styles. For reference, ‘Krav Maga’ became the default name for military hand-to-hand from the late 1960’s onwards.
When I first developed KAPAP – Israeli Krav Maga we were specifically building a program for specialized unit of operatives. However, it wasn’t long until our new system was recognized as an extremely effective and cutting-edge combatives program. Even though our system was not originally intended for the general public or even martial artists, KAPAP quickly gained popularity and a strong reputation among the CQB community.
Eventually, I moved outside of Israel and began sharing principles and methods for civilian and police defensive tactics. KAPAP continued to grow and during these last few years, I’ve been travelling non stop for teaching. Now, I have a great team of instructors with KAPAP schools throughout the entire world. We have even taught KAPAP in Antarctica. In just 15 years, KAPAP has moved from being a system for a small group of operators to a worldwide, world class system for all.
My primary focus is on continually growing and developing the quality of my instructors so that the same message, techniques and spirit can be learned in every school. In order to accomplish that, organization is essential. Following the encouragement of my friends and teachers, I built Avi Nardia Academy as my worldwide team of schools. As I also carry black belts in Karate, Judo, Japanese Jujutsu, and Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,also as senior instructor with title Kyoshi and rank as 7 dan under world lead legendary martial art teacher Hanshi Patrick McCarthy my school – Avi Nardia Academy is a school of practical martial arts that includes hand-to-hand, knife, stick, firearms, and everything in between. We teach traditional, sport and combatives under a single flag for anyone who wishes to learn and progress with only one major prerequisite: integrity.
KAPAP is no longer just the “Martial Arts of the Israeli Special Forces.” I am honored to have a wonderful student aged 72 in my academy. This is an example of KAPAP as I see it progressing into the future. We need to support civilians; including women, children, seniors, and teenagers. I see my personal achievements in life very differently than I used to, and I now value teaching handicapped children in a disabled centre as more important than teaching special forces.
I teach from the heart and as a warrior. My ethos is centered on truth, love, and peace. I encourage my students to be compassionate, without being vulnerable. The interesting thing about people, whether they are physically strong or weak, is that we can all choose to be kind, respectful and peaceful.