Monthly Archives: December 2014

Empty Hands

Empty Hands

In our new Avi Nardia Academy DVD produced by Budo Magazine, we teach about the bridge between old school martial arts and modern CQB (close quarters battle).

My experience as a Major in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and later as official trainer for Israel’s top counter terror unit taught me that cultivation of the warrior mind and spirit must be considered as the priority over simply training the body. When I look at the current state of combative arts, I see too many students being impressed by the flash and glimmer of so called war heroes and self proclaimed grandmasters. Some of these “masters” are people who barely survived a few days training with me. Others, I kicked out of the IDF or police academy. Without giving these people any more recognition than they deserve, my goal is to explain to the next generation that a knight in shining armor is a man who has never had his metal truly tested.

         In order to provide some perspective, I wanted to develop this DVD to show the bridge between old school martial arts and modern CQB. I want to thank Chris Shabazz, a great Sensei and full contact karate fighter under Sosai Masutatsu Oyama’s school of karate for his participation in the filming. We filmed in Shoshin dojo, which means “beginners mind.” Training in this historic dojo always inspires me to continue with the spirit of “Always a student, sometimes a teacher.”

         The following article, by Ken Akiyama, is a primer for viewers of this new DVD. I hope you enjoy the film and thank you for your support.

-Avi Nardia, Founder, Modern KAPAP

 

 

Teaching the Old School of Close Quarters Battle

by Ken Akiyama with Avi Nardia

 

While the original combative focus of many traditional martial arts has been minimized, these arts still hold important lessons that reach far beyond the purely physical dimensions of combat. To survive in the fight of your life, you need much more than muscles and a tattoo. Furthermore, shiny muscles are basically useless to a teacher who is focused on developing his students. That’s why new learners need to look beyond the shine and shimmer for genuine teachers.

One of the most unique characteristics of Avi Nardia’s school of KAPAP is that he developed the system based on extensive experience in the training methods and techniques of old school martial arts. Of course, there are plenty of clubs that haphazardly take ideas from books and the internet and mix them together. However, Avi’s Modern KAPAP is exceptional because it is based on his unique intelligence, charisma and an old school education in the combative arts including: 4th dan in Kodokan Judo, 6th dan in Kendo under Master Kubo Akira, 7th dan in Japanese Jujutsu under Hanshi Patrick McCarthy (also my teacher), and black belt in RCJ Machado BJJ. Factor into this equation, his experience designing the Israeli special forces recruit training program and service as official CQB trainer in Israel’s top counter-terrorism unit. The result is the world’s fastest and most intuitive system of self-defense: Avi Nardia’s Modern KAPAP.

When we look at Avi’s system of KAPAP, we see a compelling presentation of martial arts as translated through the lens of the world’s top CQB instructor. For all the strengths of TMA (traditional martial arts), there are aspects of TMA training that are either impractical or unfeasible for the average civilian, police officer, or soldier. As such, Modern KAPAP is partially defined by Avi’s genius system for identifying what not to teach as part of KAPAP.

Einstein is often credited for having said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Whether Einstein actually said that or not, these wise words aptly explain why so many systems of self-defense will fail under pressure; they are either too simple, or too complicated. Most of our students do not have the time or desire for years of study into esoteric martial arts; they need to develop a good level of skill in a concise manner. Therefore, the biggest secret of Avi Nardia’s school of KAPAP has nothing to do with the techniques. The secret is the mental training and that is why Avi filmed this DVD, to show how old school concepts are used for training modern self-defense and CQB.

The samurai knew that mental posture and an indomitable spirit were paramount to success on the battlefield. In the old days, a samurai had to study many arts including horsemanship, swimming, and even writing, music, and culture in order to cultivate an open mind, emotional balance, and of course, tactical proficiency. Thus, the samurai were trained as warriors of mind, body, and spirit; ready to fight in any situation.

Miyamoto Musashi is regarded by many as the greatest swordsman of all time. In his Book of Five Rings (1645), he wrote, “Make your fighting stance your everyday stance.” In budo, fighting posture is known as kamae, and it is a central theme. In fact, the study of old school martial arts is so emphatically centered on kamae that casual onlookers typically misjudge what they are looking at when they witness traditional training. What they do not understand is that the study of physical posture is actually a means for developing posture of the mind and spirit. One of our goals at Avi Nardia Academy is to ensure that these teachings are not lost like the ancient archery techniques of the Saracen warriors.

The study of history is an abundant source for inspiration and lessons in humility. Let’s remember that warfare, CQB and self-defense are not new subjects and over the millennia, mankind has probably forgotten as much as we actually know about these complex subjects. Take for example, the Danish archer who defied modern experts by resurrecting old archery techniques. He studied ancient books and resurrected lost techniques from the Saracen warriors for firing arrows with astonishing speed and accuracy. By studying the old school, he set “new” world records that were long believed to be impossible and therefor deemed as mythological.

In this new DVD, filmed in Shoshin dojo, Avi shows the connection between old school budo and modern CQB in several ways. One demonstration includes the compelling parallels between live sword iaido (sword drawing) and proper handling of a handgun. Firearms may be the latest advent of individual weaponry but they do not escape the timeless wisdom and logic of the old school.

Another integral facet of self-defense training is intelligent body conditioning. On this DVD, Sensei Chris Shabazz demonstrates powerful body conditioning methods with explanations of the benefits and precautions of the exercises while Avi provides an important perspective on being intelligent when choosing training practices.

Many military combative systems tout themselves as being the most “lethal and destructive” Unfortunately, many of those claims might be true, but not in a way that you expect. Combative and MMA programs are typically designed for men between ages 18-22 who are in top physical condition and have already been prescreened and selected based on outstanding fitness and high-risk personality types. Despite their fitness and enthusiasm, many recruits and students of such programs will sustain injuries that will last them a lifetime. Such injuries may be deemed acceptable in some military programs and sports, but in Avi Nardia Academy, we teach “Safety first, safety last.” In our school of teaching, high risk training is not necessary in order to develop combat effectiveness for a professional soldier, police officer, or for an office manager who is learning self defense in her free time.

This DVD video is educational, inspiring, and eye opening. I highly recommend the film to practitioners of all styles, old and new. Knowledge is empowering and this production by Budo International will make a great addition to your collection, bringing along with it the spirit of “Sho-shin – Beginner’s Mind.”

 

 

Authors:

Maj. Avi Nardia [www.avinardia.com, www.kapapacademy.net]

Ken Akiyama [www.koryukan.us/, www.kapapusa.com]

©Copyright, 2014 Maj. Avi Nardia & Ken Akiyama

Awareness in Budo

Awareness in Budo
© 2014 Avi Nardia & Ken Akiyama with Carlos Newton

I first met Carlos Newton when he was 17 years old. Back then I could see that he had talent, but to accomplish what Carlos has achieved takes more than just talent. His success and skill is the result of hard work and we know that hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.

Over the years, Carlos and I have shared friendships and crossed many bridges together. It was a long time ago when Carlos was one of very few experts allowed as my guest in Israel to teach the Special Forces. More recently, I was honored to complete a big circle by sharing knowledge and friendship with Carlos’s son Nick, who is now a young man of 17 years age.

During the last few years, Carlos and I have worked on many new projects together. Working with the Cree and Inuit tribes in the Arctic has been quite an adventure. 300 miles of remote roadway lead their native land; isolated territory inside the arctic circle where the temperature drops to minus 45 degrees. Our project is to teach martial arts to the tribes in order to reinforce their cultural traditions and values.

Carlos and I have also been teaming up on seminars and this year we produced a DVD with Ken Akiyama and Budo Magazine on the theme of “awareness”. Awareness is a key subject in martial arts. In order to gain skill in martial arts, you must first gain awareness of yourself, your fears, who you are, what you are, and most of all, what you want to be. Only after studying yourself can you begin to study others and only after knowing yourself, can you know others. The more you are aware of in life, the more you can make from this life. In martial arts strategy, the more aware you are of what is happening around you, the greater your ability will be to accept and counter.

Awareness is very important to study, as being aware will enable you to observe the first rule of self defense – action is always faster than reaction. In military and sport applications, we step into challenges and even seek conflict. However, in self defense, we seek to avoid conflict and escape. Often times a military unit’s mission will be to seek out the enemy and engage in combat. However, the idea behind civilian self-defense is to avoid conflict and escape without harm. There is a big difference and now you can understand why many teachers who teach military systems are missing the point of self defense. The application of military combatives is completely different from context of self defense. Police work is another context that has it’s own unique characteristics.

Good self-defense requires good awareness and great self defense requires great awareness. I know an Israeli combatives expert designed his system to teach his guys only 5 moves. His strategy is based on one tactic – if any one comes close you, kick the groin. He shared an anecdote to support his strategy. He said that a cat will always climb a tree to escape any danger. He said that if you give your students too many different ideas that they will not be able to think under stress. I immediately replied with a question, “What if there is no tree?”

Some teachers attempt to support their theory of oversimplification with scientific research. An experiment that was not related to martial arts was performed which showed that when people have many options to choose from, they will require more time in order to make a decision because they are seeking the best option. This research is valid when it comes to something like choosing a meal at a restaurant of selecting a piece of ripe fruit.

A system of teaching that is based on the assumption that the students are incapable of thinking seems like giving vitamins to a dead body. Why would you teach people who don’t have the capacity to think? I always explain to my students that a jet pilot needs to calculate many things in high speed. The pilot must be able to react quickly, and with awareness of many concerns while keeping the plane in the air. That example proves that we humans have the ability to make decisions under stress.

One secret to this ability is to cultivate a mindset of action, rather reaction. As I mentioned earlier, the best defense is to attack first. Even United States law allows preemptive action if you sense an immediate threat. You have the right to throw the first strike and still be protected under the right to self defense.

In the last seminar with Carlos Newton, Ken Akiyama and myself, we taught that action is faster than reaction and how you can use gravity and object mass (weight) to help you to hold your opponent down. We shared ideas from Aiki Kenpo Jujutsu, Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and invited a few guests to share their own ideas in free fighting.

In the spirit of expanding awareness, we also taught about the importance of studying “what if” scenarios, the chain of attack, and cause and effect relationships. Ken Akiyama demonstrated some ideas from a big project we are working on to share movement drills that are very effective for developing strength, and relaxation. The ability to move your body in a relaxed way is a vital skill for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and self defense.

Jiu Jitsu is about understanding actions and reactions. When you can predict the effects and vulnerabilities of your actions, you can always block your opponents options before you attack. When you do this, your opponent will become very frustrated. When that happens, you destroy your opponents ability to think. When your opponent can not think, you win. That’s what makes jiu jitsu a great game of strategy. Strategy is the study of action, reaction, and forethought. Strategy requires awareness.