I have been really lucky to travel during the worldwide Covid pandemic. I’ve recently traveled into Africa for different security projects and I was on a mission to teach, as one example.

I always try to do my best to study, and while I was in Angola I had met Israeli Karate and former Champion Feras Faur,5th Dan.Feras has been involved in Israeli Jiujutsu and is a long-time student of mine in firearms, security and Krav Maga Kapap.Hefound his home in Angola a few years back and met with me and with former Israeli commando officer Yosi Aviram and I’ve been following them both to study much about Angola and the land of Africa’s East side. 

From learning about the witch ceremony and Juju culture to learning unique-to-the culture survival skillsincluding discoveringwhat to eat that you find in nature. We explored learning how to use anything you find in the field and to appreciate the explorationof the magicof Africa.

Using and teaching these skill sets led me to the Favela, the poor neighborhoodwhere we met students that have been training in the Martial art Capoeira that has it’s roots in Angola.

I want to be clear that I’m no expert in the art of Capoeira and have no expertise about Africa, but I would love to share with Budo magazine readers some of the magic I met and that was shared with me.

Capoeira Angola, is a version of the martial arts that is rarely practiced either in Brazil or in Angola itself.But it’s name speaks to the origins of an art that reaches back centuries – before people were enslaved and transported from the Southern African coast to South America.

It was developed in what is now Brazil using rhythms and call-and-response singing found in the African traditions. The inclusion of instruments was crucial for distracting onlookers.

African influence downplayed

Capoeira Angola has a ritualistic feel and the movements are predominantly low to the ground, with the focus on precision. This is why the music is slower than in the dominant version, known as Regional.

The difference between Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Regional is subtle, but Capoeira Angola includes more instruments and its practitioners feel it is more spiritual.

I sometimes feel a little angry when I think about how Angola’s contributions to Capoeira get dismissed.

The African influence was deliberately downplayed, partly because of racism.

“It was recognized as a part of African culture and labeled as aggressive because of the slave association”

In the mid-16th Century, while working in the fields, slaves created what later became Brazil’s earliest form of Capoeira, disguising fighting techniques as folk dancing.

Following the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, the government banned Capoeira, fearing its use could make any revolt by freed slaves more difficult to overcome.

It went underground, and many black people continued to practice what is now recognized as Capoeira Angola in hidden spaces, using nicknames to protect their identity.

Around 1930, Reis Machado, better known as Mestre Bimba, developed a way of teaching Capoeira that made it easier to learn.

After persuading the authorities about the cultural value of the martial art, the ban was lifted, and Mestre Bimba opened the first Capoeira school in Brazil.

Capoeira was still looked down upon however, especially by the upper class Brazilians.

In response, Mestre Bimba set new standards – he introduced clean white uniforms, required students to show good posture and brought in a system of grading.

As a result, Capoeira began to attract a new audience that became interested in practicing Capoeira indoors.

This was the beginning of Capoeira Regional.

As some practitioners continued to follow the older form, they agreed on the name Capoeira Angola to differentiate it, but over time it was marginalized and largely forgotten.

Regional has a faster pace than Capoeira Angola. Mestre Bimba also simplified the use of instruments relying on only the Pandeiro (hand frame drum) and one Berimbau (bowed instrument.)

‘It relieves my anger’

Despite the name, the claim that Capoeira originated in what is now Angola remains a matter of speculation, as the slaves that left the Luanda docks came from across Southern and Central Africa.


Manuel dos Reis Machado or Mesta Bimba as he was better known, was born on 23 November, 1900 in Salvador, in the home country of Capoeira, Brazil.The youngest of 25 children, his first job was as a carpenter on the docks where he developed his physical strength; by the time he was 18, he could carry 120 kg.
He learned 
traditional Capoeira (known as Angola) from a Mestre called Betinho and went on to teach it for ten years before he developed his own style, which he called Regional.


© Copyright 2022 Avi Nardia w/Tim Boehlert

Lady death

Kapap Krav Maga, contemporary but yet fully based in traditional martial arts as part of a Self Defense Education has a Fire arm training or how we like to call it a Gun Jutsu – the way of a Gun. Shooting is and extension of a traditional swordsmanship and it is a Martial art as same as a hooting range is a Dojo. Like in old traditional martial arts settings open filed is the best environment for the classes. Here we can draw a parallel and say that a good shooting rage is the one, which provides a great variety of possibilities for the training, and it is not limited in space and movements. The best example is a combative training. In order to build situational awareness a proper facility/shooting range must come with as many obstacles as possible in the filed, from changing positions to high risks entries like kill house games, cover and concealed, bad vision, low light, shooting from cars and so on.  Only and open door shooting range can provide all of those requirements. Indoor shooting range is good to keep and maintain skills during the wintertime but even than my recommendation is to take advantage of all four seasons and train outdoors even if it is snowing.

Firearm has always been a better half of Kapap Krav Maga IJJ. Whilst Jiujutsu and hand-to-hand make one half, shooting and gun skills make the other. Shooting also comes with extra skills requirements in the filed like rappelling, water training, survival, hike and so on. 

With more than 40 years in the security and martial arts field it makes me proud to see more women taking part in the hand-to-hand program as well as in the firearm and field program.

The role of women in 21stcentury is comes with a new understanding of gender studies and learning from the history of many powerful and inspiring women that have shaped the destiny of this planet. We can see that in the ancient times the role of a women has differed from culture to culture and while the role of a warrior has been predominantly associated with a male figures there have been historically important women who were actively participating in different warfare’s and battles. They were not only a behind the scene characters dwelling in palaces and chambers as mothers, queens, lovers or old wise women. 

Great amount of my understanding of Martial Arts comes from the Far East and learning to know that female warriors are one of the greatest untold narratives in the samurai history. But over a span of couple of centuries female samurai warriors were found on battlefields fighting besides men with fierce and bravery. Female samurai warriors were highly trained in the martial arts. They were taught to use sword, the naginata and the bow and arrow mostly to protect themselves so we can say that this was part of self defense and primarily defensive in nature. 

What set Tomoe Gozen as a fearsome 12thcentury Japanese female warrior apart from her fellow warrior women that instead of defensive she was offensive. She became an icon due to her fierce determination as a warrior. Tomoe has disappeared from history and her fate has been speculated by many generations to come. 

Lets move to some recent history and to Lyudmila Pavlichenko that many people do not know her name. She was a Soviet sniper in the Red Army during the Second World War; credited with more than 300 confirmed kills what makes he one of the most successful sniper in recorded history. For example, officer Chris Kyle, US Navy Seal, who served during the war in Iraq, was the most lethal sniper shooter in US military history credited with over 160 kills officially. 

Lydmila Pavlichenko started her sniper carier at the age of ten when she joined a shooting club not being able to tolerate braging of a neighbor’s son how good shooter he was. She said that she joined the shooting club to show that girl could do as well as him. Later on she has earned a sobriquet “Lady Death” for a good reason. In her speech in United States she said that she was 25 years old and killed 309 fascist ocupant and than reportedly told “Don’t you think, gentlemn, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?”

Women are more and more encouraged to take part in different combat programs. One of the examples is Israeli Army who has always supported women as fighters and had them as part of the team from Navy Seal, YAMAM to Pilot program and in many different units.  There are many women in Avi Nardia Academy in KAPAP Krav Maga training and other martial arts programs as well. What we can see is that lately more women take part in the shooting program as part of their self-defense classes but many of them take it as a sport and become excelent shooters and competitors. Lydmila Pavlichenco would have been definitely proud of them as same as many other strong female characters who were writing new pages in history. Women empowerment comes in different shapes and what we do is to provide right tools and safe space for women to feel empowered and tackle every day life with confidence and awarenes. 

Women narrative is changing and learning from history we can find a value in the way martial arts and self-defense provides recognition of the complexities of what it means to be a woman and illuminate our understanding of women in contemporary afairs. 


 Mongering is often attributed to the act of encouraging a particular activity, especially one that causes trouble, promoting something undesirable or discrediting often used in combination. Fear mongering is the act of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue, spreading of frightening and exaggerating rumors of impending danger to purposely arouse fear in order to manipulated the public. It can be accomplished via different media. Nowadays it can be easily done through different popular social media. Many times under the false flag these acts are committed with the intent of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning the blame on a second party. One example of false flag is CIA project code name TP-Ajax in Iran. This easily takes us to the world of .espionage, which is a much more sophisticated subject Every project must consist of three vital points. First is to have a plan, then to create a strategy and then to decide about a tactic. Many tend to fail due to a lack of planning and strategy, building mostly relying solely on tactics. Remember Sun Tzu’s words: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory; tacticswithout strategy is the noise before defeat.” The same applies to cyber warfare and cyber defense. Cyber warfare is a state of daily conflicts. It’s related to the technological environment and cyber security, on the same time cyber conflict encompasses those and much more others security subjects and risk managements. Governments and companies face these cyber wars.every seconds Another thought is that a lot of money can be made from healthy people who believe that they are sick. Pharmaceutical companies sponsor diseases and promote them to physicians and consumers. This is a “Disease Mongering “. Who makes the Medicine, makes the sickness? “Disease awareness” is a marketing strategy, built in clever ways to affect us all by pharmaceutical companies Dr. Li-Meng Yan’s twitter account was blocked since she made certain statements about the origin of the Global Pandemic Covid-19. She and her colleagues appear affiliated with a group founded by Steve Bennon the former advisor to President .Donald Trump Dr. Yan was labeled as a “whistleblower”. She claimed that Covid-19 is “man made virus ” and “not from Nature” – Comments previously made by President

Trump and secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Dr.Yand has claimed that the Virus was made in China and she had the evidence to show us the truth. While having USA and China in a race for a new G5 technology and seeing China one step ahead, China and the US keep fighting for the leadership in the world;having a Chinese tech giant Huawei as a center of their power struggle. Huawei has supplied the largest amount of network equipment for China G5 deployment and also others countries. However, the USA has blacklisted the company accusing it of possessing a national security risk and started lobbying allies to shun Huawei from their G5 Networks claiming they were all spies. At the same time, Huawei denies this accusation and many people in China and the world see this actions as part of the USA’s efforts to curb the rise of the worlds second largest economy and its economic race more than all. Back to Corona Virus – we came to know Wuhan city in Hubei Province with it’s 11 million size population and as a poli tical, economic, financial, commercial,cultural and educational center in central China, a major hub for transportation, the Chicago of China and one of the first cities to implement the G5. When you read a book “The Plague” by Albert Camus publish in 1947 that presents a snapshot of life during epidemic times, it remind us of what we encounter these days: intellectual arrogance, ignorance, evil as we all face death and how it effects society. In this book it is described how doctors and scientists .are in conflicts with governments and leadership During this hectic times we can see similarities described in Camus’s book like broken trust, splits and conflicts, many different opinions and how leadership around the world fails to respond in a constructive way, leading to riots and .protests For me this is the biggest terror attack. Terror means fear and for sure Covid-19 has created the biggest fear attack ever. There was also fear during the Spanish flue in the 20st century, but only Covid-19 was armed with the best public relation and marketing team. Every day the world faces more death from smoking but law does not prohibit smoking. Government seems to care about our health only if it’s ,Covid-19 related but does not care if it’s related to smoking, drinking, drugs

driving, food etc. Why Covid-19? Are we in a Third world War, digital war, and cyber and media war? Who earns and who will earn from this situation? As a former army and counter terror specialist, I can say that every country has a protection plan against biological war. Failing to deal with Covid-19 in a proper way, makes us all wonder ,is this maybe a part of a bigger plan and ?strategy while Covid-19 is merely a tactic

Push the Cow Over the Cliff


The Corona virus has disrupted life, as we know it. Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen this virus spread and the panic that has ensued. Markets have shut down, countries have closed their doors to travelers, and in some countries grocery store aisles have been left empty. As the fear of corona virus spreads faster than the disease, raising more questions than answers globally, we the teacher of martial arts have been asked to offer some insight into this virus and what it might mean for us, socially, physically, and spiritually. 

We all feel like we’ve been pushed to some unknown realm and heading straight to some new and unexplored domain, but looking back in time we can see that this world has already faced several apocalyptic scenario in the past like the Black Death era in the medieval times which changed the course of Europe’s history, Spanish Flu, AIDS, Ebola epidemic etc.  Once again we are facing a total lock down worldwide living in a state of perplexity; unable to think clearly and understand what the future will look like. What we know is that it wont be as same as before. The life will change; our lives will change. This is the only certainty.

To martial artists everyday life is already out of comfort zone.  The fight is real.  But what we can see nowadays is that this way of living has affected many. People are out of their comfort zone being stressed in so many different aspect of living from being physically confined within four walls, experiencing financialchallenges, getting stressed every day more and more with news and unstable political scene. Lot of us working in the sport and martial art sector are facing a big storm and turmoil as the gyms are closing down. At one moment Henry Ford even said, “Exercise is bunk. If you are healthy, you don’t need it; if you are sick you should not take it.” It’s worth a laugh, but wrong as we know that the link between exercise and physical and mental health has been subject of study of many researchers. They showed that physical inactivity was associated with a decline in cognitive function. Exercise as we know has numerous effects all over the body. One of the most important effect is increased blood flow bringing fresh oxygen flow throughout the body, allowing your lungs, heart, brain and muscles to function properly and efficiently.  It helps the body fight disease and sickness those bringing us back to the wise words of Juvenal saying “A healthy mind is a Healthy Body: Mens sana in corpore sano”. The original meaning was related to the connection between the soul/spirit and the body, today it is used to mean having healthy mind to enjoy a healthy body. Numerous clinical studies support that by looking after your mind you will feel better physically, but there is also evidence of the opposite that when you look after your body your mind will get a stimuli that contributes it’s stability. Exercise leads to a greater capacity for resilience and boost self-control and endurance. The connection of mind and body is inseparable and martial arts play a big role in connecting the mind, the body and the spirit.  As martial arts teacher our challenge is to ensure that our students develop and flourish as well balanced,physically and mentally healthy individuals that can successfully follow rapidly changing world. 

We are martial artists. Martial arts is what we do and the earliest evidence of martial arts goes back millennia of which most are fixed by the specific of human psychology. Martial arts have proved throughout history to improve the ability to find the inner peace and patience, to increase the individual security and safety. 

Since I have always claimed to be a man of a sword and teaching by the philosophy of the sword I want to give you some swordsmanship and Zen concepts of support:

” The sword has to be more than a simple weapon, it has to be an answer to life’squestions.” Miyamoto Mushashi 

“The way of the sword and the way of Zen are identical for they have the same purpose, that of Killing the EGO ” Yamada Jirokichi

“Be a master of a Mind rather than mastered by the Mind”– Zen

We have just experienced a war without one-shot economically, medically and emotionally wisegoverned by a virus that got here in one-way or another. What we must remember is that war is not about who is right but about who survive.

Zen story to open our eyes to new Corona Era 

Long ago, a Monk set out on his travels across a faraway land. Night was falling and he needed somewhere to shelter. Eventually, he found a humble shack, in the middle of nowhere. A poor family lived there and the mother, father and children were dressed in rags. The Monk asked if he could spend the night there. “You are most welcome to spend the night,” said the father. They prepared a simple meal consisting of fresh milk, cheese and cream and the Monk appreciated their simple generosity greatly.

When they finished eating, the Monk asked them how they managed to survive in such an isolated place, so far away from the nearest town. The wife told how they managed to survive. “We have one cow. We sell her milk to our neighbours who do not live too far away. We keep enough for our needs and to make some cheese and cream – that is what we eat.”

The next morning, the Monk said his goodbyes and set out to continue his journey. Not far from the family’s little hut, he came across the cow. The Monk pondered for a moment before leading the cow to the edge of a nearby cliff and pushing it over the edge.

Several years later the Monk again passed that way and found himself on the same road where he found lodging so many years ago. Driven by a sense of curiosity he decided to visit the family. He rounded the curve in the road and to his surprise, he saw a splendid mansion, surrounded by landscaped gardens, in the place where the little hut used to be. The Monk knocked on the door. The father of the poor family answered, now well-dressed and looking healthy. He recognized the Monk immediately and invited him in, inviting him to stay as a guest.

While they ate, the Monk asked what had changed in the years that had passed. The father explained how the family’s fortune changed. “You know, we used to have a cow. She kept us alive. We didn’t own anything else. One day she fell down the cliff and died. To survive, we had to start doing other things, develop skills we didn’t know we had. We were forced to come up with new ways of doing things. It was the best thing that ever happened to us! We are now much better off than before.”




Martial arts is about changing Lives – Live in Heart

To Live in hearts we leave behind is not to dieThomas Campbell

Life around you does not deceive you and it does not lie to you.  It is unfair. And those who claim that thinking of life as anfair is only one perception and not necessarily the way your life is are not telling the entire truth.  Being born in a country where food, water, education and employment are easily accesed by everyone makes the claim that life is about one percetion and how you choose to respond to difficult things that happen to you might be true. 

But for many people in the world these kinds of privileges and opportunities are only a dream. The dream of enough food, water, education, safety, shelter. In a place where full equity and basic human needs have not being achieved yet due to systematic disadvantages, children of Kibera Slum are working every day toward that dream. They took part in building a world where every person can achieve what they choose. Every time they step into their dojo in the slum they send a meaningful, powerful and purposeful message to all of us out there. “We are worth, strong and powerful and the world needs to see us shining hope.” 

We believe in building a world where every child can achieve what he chose to pursue. And we believe their meesage will reach out and touch your bottom of the heart and make us all grow with them together. 

On this occasion we as a group of martial artist under Avi Nardia Academy have recognized the need of this children and decided to help them train in a more safe and controled environment. This is why our first thought was to provide judo mats so they can have ground training instead of only punching and kicking what their training mostly consisted of before. My wife Aleksandra Nardia has traveled to Kenya in January 2020 with a blessing of Mr Kennedy Odede (the owner of Shofco) to meet their needs and provide basic equipments that every martial arts school should have i.e. mats, sticks, t-shirts. 

Along the way we have learned that part of their program in the Kibera Martial Arts School goes to art and reading classes and that their martial arts instructors take a good care that children occupy themselves with good quality program throughout the day besides being regular in the school.  They have music classes, dance, architecture, etc. 

Being born into the priviledged life style where we don’t face basic human needs deprivation we want to ask each and one of you to think about what is your privilege that you can use to help this community of children and make their world a little bit a better place? 

We want to thank to all our friends and instructors who are helping this children to have a better life and future. Big thank you to Alfredo Tucci for generously publishing articles about children in Kibera and another big thank you to Mr Kennedy Odede for allowing us to be part of this amazing project in Kenya. 

We will finish this text with a quote saying: “There’s nothing I admire more than someone planting trees under whose shade they may never get to sit”

Innocent Civilian Syndrome: The Sword of Damocles

© Copyright 2019, Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

As in most wars fought throughout history, each side tries to destroy the other’s Army and in the most critical ways. From the old days to modern days, as during the second world war with the United States pitted against Japan and Germany, seemingly not caring much about “innocent civilians.” The U.S. took thousands of innocent civilian lives at Nagasaki and Hiroshima in an instant, and it seems without much compassion. They used nuclear weapons to force a Japanese surrender and to save American soldiers’ lives. ‘Collateral damage’ is seemingly viewed the same today as a result of the attacks of 9/11in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

Professor Asa Kasher in 2005 wrote about justifying civilian casualties as the result of military actions against terrorists in a draft of the Israeli code of conduct. And, in 2009 Kasher revised his thoughts to say that soldiers’ lives should take priority over injuries to enemy civilians in any areas that are not controlled effectively by the IDF.

All militaries find it hard to conduct a war without civilian casualties, and yet most cross the line, and forget the ethics code of the Bushido. Since the gun was developed the value of the sword has declined. When the Japanese Imperial soldiers went into Nanjing, China, they forgot the Bushido code and murdered and raped women and children. Civilian casualties were well documented and the incident is one of the most well known war crimes ever written about – the Nanjing massacre. 

As a self-defense teacher, I teach the art of blades or swordsmanship with compassion, values and morals that are different than what many other knife teachers do — those that promote evil, possess huge egos and teach only how knives can kill. I see the sword as the most important tool to teach self-defense with the proper mindset of self-defense. Many students ask me how it helps in the street without the sword.

The art of sword teaches us first: movement and perfect relative position.

“Don’t give a sword to a man that can’t dance.”  — Confucius

The sword teaches us about angles of attack, proper body movement and later on much that we can incorporate into self-defense from the use of various blades — knives, swords, machetes, and even sticks or hand-to-hand techniques. We say, “Any weapon, one mind.”

Swordsmanship also teaches us moral values and ethics that start with respect of the blade. As a teacher I see many so-called “martial artists” that act more like hooligans. But, too many of these immoral teachers bully others and then want to teach their “Anti-Bully” programs to others!

I’ve taught a lot of students that couldn’t pass a belt test that then become new teachers that create their own ‘masters’ certificates. I’ve had to eliminate so many students that were yellow belts one day and the next day became ‘Masters of Israeli Martial Arts!’ They’ve all misunderstood the concept of being a martial artist by calling themselves “warriors”, dressing up like soldiers, and using slogans like We are the Real Deal!” or “We are not a martial art, we are combat.” and yet on the mat not one can spar. This new era of martial arts has denigrated and devolved because of all of these new ‘masters.’

Swordsmanship teaches us responsibility. Too many martial artists miss this point. Teachers send their students to fights and they get injured. Students and teachers forget their responsibility to pay class fees — the fees that ensure that the classes continue, the same fees that support the teachers’ ability to conduct the classes.

Each day I receive letters asking me, “Please let me be your student” and then after only a few classes, they depart and begin to sell themselves using their ‘master’ title.

Twenty years ago, when I started Kapap Krav Maga, there were many that claimed that my art was nothing, and yet today they are the ‘new founders of KAPAP.’ This is why I chose to use my name — it’s the only thing that no one else can take and use. As Avi Nardia Academy, I still find schools all over the Internet and throughout the world using my face to promote their schools! Most I’ve never met, and some I’ve dropped as they were not a good fit to my ethics, morals, school values and skills. I can teach almost anyone, but all need to come prepared with a proper moral code and good values. They need to come to me possessing a good education, and if it that’s missing, they can’t be fixed.

The sword school that I come from is one of two in Japan. Mine is the school of ‘the sword of giving life’, which is very different from the school of the sword of taking life. These two schools have been in opposition in Japan as long as they have existed. During the Second World War the latter led the sword classes for the Army, and that’s why the code of Bushido was missing.

The ‘giving life sword school’ teaches respect, honor, humility, integrity, morals and good values such as life saving. Civilian casualties are not allowed, and you can’t hurt innocents while seeking justice.

We teach our students responsibility, but when he fails to uphold that, honor dictates that he perform Seppuku (Japanese: 切腹, “cutting the belly”), sometimes referred to as hara-kiri (腹切.

In this new era, the foundations pillars have been lost, and that leads me to the Greek tale, “The Sword of Damocles”

According to the story, Damocles was pandering to Dionysius, his king, and exclaimed to him that Dionysius was truly fortunate as a great man of power and authority, surrounded by magnificence. In response, Dionysius offered to switch places with Damocles for one day so that Damocles could taste that very fortune firsthand. Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king’s proposal. Damocles sat down in the king’s throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius, who had made many enemies during his reign, arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse’s tail to evoke the sense of what it is like to be king: though having much fortune, always having to watch in fear and anxiety against dangers that might try to overtake him. Damocles finally begged the king that he is allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate, realizing that with great fortune and power comes also great danger.— Traditional

When you have a sword hanging over your neck you understand responsibility and that with one mistake this same sword may take your life. This is why sword people don’t run to fight but embrace peace and do everything to avoid drawing their own sword. They understand, like the lion that each fight can end in one death and with the other surviving the fight but not always uninjured. This is why we study animals — to try to avoid the fight. The sword is such a great tool to teach mindset in self-defense but also to add into it some skills and values. The use of the sword in teaching self-defense is the best that you can get. 

© Copyright 2019, Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Gun Fu

Gun Fu – The Martial arts of GUN

Normally I’m not a fan of weekend “Tactical Civilians” or “Weekend Warriors” as we say after the war the bar is loaded with heroes and in the CQB Market as many civilians want to play paintball and air soft and war games become fun. I’m not a big fan of civilians surrounding a hero ex-soldier who’s telling them war stories while they all look at him like kids with shiny eyes. I’m not a fan of civilians in uniform to respect the military and police code ‘serve and protect’ while the moral ethic is to dress in a uniform and take lives; it isn’t a game and we need to have a greater understanding and compassion to ensure we aren’t training psychopaths or wannabe heroes, which is why I stay away from these styles. 

When KAPAP Krav Maga started incorporating firearms training as part of its “System” 28 years ago, many claimed that firearms are NOT part of martial arts and today I’m happy in a way to see that many understand that in the modern era, the weapon we face in terrorist attacks and the majority of crimes are not the Nunchako or Baton. As more and more Martial Arts start to see the advancement of combatives study, I find myself teaching CQB / CQC and high-risk entries with civilians more often. As such, I have decided to take the time to write about CQB and high risk situations more, cover and concealment, dealing with an active shooter or terrorist in the hopes that some may find useful information and good education for using the proper terminology of CQB. 

Remember that some can be good shooter but bad fighter and we prefer to develop the fighting spirit and not only teaching people to be good shooters but also to handle aggressive situations to deal with reality and violence. 

  1. CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) vs. CQB (Close-Quarter Battle) vs. H2H (Hand to Hand)

CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) and CQB (Close-Quarter Battle) are military terms which designate the whole topic of unarmed and armed combatives. H2H (Hand to Hand) is generally considered to be part of this nowadays, the terms having been coined after the Second World War by the British Forces. Names such as Fairbairn, Sykes and Colonel Applegate considered any type of combat under 15 to 18 meters as CQC (Close Quarter Combat). As battle terms, they were correct since much of the fighting took place within urban, suburban and country settings. This type of combat could be carried out with hand-grenades, machines, trench tools (shovels) in numerous instances, cudgels, fixed bayonets, knives and even hand-to-hand.

H2H (Hand to Hand) designates unarmed combat that is fought chest to chest or face to face and describes the group of techniques that have been developed to defeat the enemy with one’s natural bare weapons (hands, feet, etc.), usually in circumstances where there is not the option of using guns or there are malfunctions.

CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) and CQB (Close Quarter Battle) are military terms which designate the whole topic of unarmed and armed combatives. Armed and unarmed conflict is covered by CQC impact weapons, edged weapons and adapted weapons (everyday items which in critical incidents can be used as weapons). H2H (Hand to Hand) is generally considered to be part of this nowadays, while the term CQB Covers armed-offence utilizing firearms (with the use of sights, depending on the distance). All of this is taught in a single system. 

Combatives systems use both CQC and CQB in order to be effective in real life situations we may face.

Civilians combative group, concentrate on the CQC portion which is primarily focused on the striking aspect with only basic physical weapons. This needs to be called “CIVILIAN COMBATIVES” while the army may use more CQB and also heavy weapons, machine guns, helicopters, air force and so on for more long distance engagements. 

True Combatives strive to keep training as realistic as possible, the argument being what is realistic for civilians should be thought of as self-defense, in that it is NOT exactly combative in nature.

In Combatives we have a “self-protection” mindset and not a “self-defense” mindset. This means that we actively protect ourselves so we don’t have to get to the point of defending ourselves (by attacking our assailant). In the former we are proactive (so as not to allow surprise assault) and “awareness” is our first line of defense. Conversely the “self-defense” mindset is reactive (having already been assaulted), wherein “reaction” is the first line of defense.

 The “self-defense” school of thought has 4 main reasons for its ineffectiveness and failures:

  1. Too many techniques– it is best to have a few worked to expert level.
  2. Non-realistic training– full physical contact, vocalization and multiple assailants is a must.
  3. No adrenal stress– a real violent confrontation can leave you shivering from adrenaline secretions to say the least, if not puking and standing in a puddle of your own urine.
  4. Defensive thinking– real violence often requires offensive and sometimes pre-emptive mindset.

Combatives program techniques use role play and scenario training for the street which is complemented with safe physical contact to “harden” practitioners with “stress tempering” to make them offensively oriented.

In this line of thinking, it is critical to maintain simplicity, directness, brutal effectiveness and determination. 

IBT (Initiative Based Tactics) in CQB:

The principles of IBT are quick and decisive action in high-stress, high-risk situations. Speed, surprise and violence of action are key principles which are designed to overwhelm and opponent and leave them no time to react, defeating them before they’ve prepared to fight. 

  1. Speed– coordinated ‘flood’ of individuals into a particular area of engagement, moving quickly but without being detected as so to be in the most advantageous position at the onset of action. This requires a high level of teamwork between operators involved, with clearly defined roles and a unifying plan
  2. Surprise– The idea of surprise is to be in an ideal and undetected position at the onset of action, without the presence of the operators being known. Optimally, at the onset of action, the attackers are unable to react quickly enough or to entrench themselves in a fortified position.
  3. Violence of Action– it is essential to dominate your opponent physically and psychologically with sensory overload. Multiple entry points, breaching explosives, aggressive assault, flashbangs or smoke, gunfire and any other technique to overload the opponent’s senses. 

In order to achieve these principles, it is essential to act with determination. Eyes and head should be up at all times, shooting accurately while in motion is essential, move quickly to trouble areas and handle them proactively, not reactively. These techniques need to be trained and drilled until they pass into the subconscious as well as drilling in teams. 

Cover and concealment – Both can save your life, but one more than the other.

In many training classes, you have probably heard the instructor say “you need to get to cover.” If a fight erupts around you, you want to get to cover before returning fire. Standing out in the open is a great way to get shot and the number one rule of a gunfight is not to get shot. 

Cover is the place you want to be when bullets start flying because it is any place that will stop bullets. A concrete wall, a telephone pole, a car’s engine block, these are all places where you can hide and know that a bullet will not pass through and hit you. It can be said that cover hides you from a bullet. 

The difference between cover and concealment is simple. If it doesn’t stop a bullet, then it is considered to be concealment because that is all it’s doing – concealing your location. Cover is something that will not only conceal your location but stop a bullet as well. 

Furthermore, it is critical to consider the firepower that is brought to bear against you. A .50 caliber rifle will be able to penetrate a position that would function perfectly well as cover against a .22 round. Be certain of your position at all times and know what you’re up against whenever possible. 

It would be an oversight not to mention the use of ‘cover fire’ in situations where you need to move from one area to another. Acting on the offensive can be a good temporary solution to get you out of a tight spot when you’re pinned down or when you need to move from one position to another. Always be aware of how long you can effectively cover yourself (or in the event that you’re covering another person), because when you’re bullets run out, if you haven’t made it to another position of cover or at the very least concealment, you will be completely exposed. 

We can use concealment to not be found in situations where cover is not available, in addition to using it as we move and fire back, but it is not as safe as real cover. 

  • 6 Basic pistol positions:

Sul Position:

The sul position means south in Portuguese and was developed because those training in the police academy had poor muzzle control with their pistols. This position has become a ‘tacticool’ technique, with many operators using this position both to ensure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction, but also when in a dangerous environment, yet not directly exposed to threats. 

The Sul position consists of placing your support hand on your stomach with the thumb up and other four fingers together parallel to the ground. The active hand is parallel with the body and the muzzle at a slight cant to prevent it from shooting your feet. The thumbs are touching as a reference and to ensure you maintain the position safely. 

This position has grown in popularity in recent years and is effective while moving and in confined spaces. One can also transition into a ready position quickly, though not quite as fast as some other positions, as we will see. 

  • High Ready Position:

High Ready is the fastest position from which to engage with a potential target, with the pistol in front of your face, arms extended, yet with the elbows at a relaxed angle. However, this position may limit your mobility and may not be viable in crowded environments or where the muzzle should be kept in a safe direction.

  • Low Ready Position (Traditional and Modified):

The traditional low ready position is when the gun is effectively in high ready with arms extended and both hands on the grip of the pistol, however, the arms are extended at a 45 degree angle downward to remain pointed in a safe direction. The modified position is essentially the same, but with the arms angled a bit higher, between high ready and low ready to allow for quicker action on the part of the operator. 

These positions are designed to allow quick target acquisition of any potential threat that one may encounter, but still could pose issues when working in dynamic environments or with other team members. Any sideways turning movements could pose a potential risk to other members of your team as your pistol would be pointing at their legs. It could also be unviable in confined environments or where the extension of your arms could pose a risk for exposure and giving away your position. In all positions, but particularly this one, situational awareness is critical to performing safely. 

  • Compressed Ready Position:

Similar to the high ready position, the compressed ready position has the muzzle of the gun pointed forward, though the elbows are at tight to your ribs and with your head ‘tucked’ in a bit. This allows for quick target acquisition and engagement, while maintaining better mobility and weapon retention. This also works in confined environments, but poses some of the same disadvantages as high ready, insomuch as the muzzle direction is not necessarily safe in populated or unknown environments.

  • Temple Index position:

Like Sul, the Temple Index uses a physical point of contact as a reference for muzzle direction, but that is where the similarities end. This position is achieved by placing your pistol to the side of your temple, your pinky, ring and middle fingers in direct contact with your temple and the muzzle of the pistol faced upward.

This position is effective for maintaining muzzle control and weapon retention in situations where a high level of mobility is required. It has the added benefit of the free use of your support hand to assist in situations where the use of this hand is necessary. 

  • CAR (Center Axis Relock) Position:

Developed by law enforcement officer and instructor, Paul Castle, the Center Axis Relock position is an aggressive stance, though can be employed effectively in certain environments. With the muzzle pointed forward and the support foot forward and both hands on the grip of the pistol, the arms are somewhat closer to the body and therefore the gun remains closer to the body. The pistol is at a cant, such that the left eye is looking down the sights of the pistol.

CAR provides effective pistol retention and a compact position from which one can be relatively mobile and quickly engage with targets. It is also particularly useful in compact areas. This has recently gained popularity due to its employment in the John Wick movies, by the protagonist himself.

  • Room clearing

Pointman and wingman

The point man is never wrongprinciple:

If the point man goes to the right, then the shooter behind him will have to buttonhookto the left.

The Point manis the soldier who takes point, who assumes the first and most exposed position in a combat military formation. He is the lead soldier/unit advancing through hostile or unsecured territory and therefore is first exposed to enemy fire.

The Wingmanacts as the partner to the point man, working cooperatively when approaching doors and entering high risk areas. The term originated in combat aviation, so named due to the support individual being to the side and slightly behind the lead pilot, or on his “wing”, while providing support and cover to the lead pilot. 

Key terms:

  1. AOR (Area of Responsibility)– Refers to the specific segment or ‘slice’ of a room or area of engagement that each operator will need to cover and clear to ensure efficiency of movement and clarity of action.
  2. Chokepoint– any point at which the entry or exit of an area becomes limited. Doorways in rooms are a prime example of a chokepoint and where firearms are present, this is also known as the “fatal funnel”
  3. OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act)– a decision-making process by which operators arrive at a particular action. The training of this loop over time makes one cognizant of the inputs that they are receiving in high-stress situations (and can also be applied to day-to-day situations), such that they can identify and react to stimuli more rapidly than their opponents. 


This technique is used as a pre-entry maneuver, the operator exposing only his eye for a moment as he observes an uncleared room. While good in environments where it is unknown whether the individuals inside are combatants or civilians, the risk of detection is high and may complicate the subsequent entry as the element of surprise will have been lost. Additionally, this is not to be used in situations where the wall is not suitable cover, as you will still be susceptible to attacks if bullets can penetrate the wall which the operator is standing behind. 


An aggressive movement where two operators simultaneously enter a room and hook around the doorway to move rapidly along the inner wall of the room which they are entering. This allows for rapid entry and minimal time spent within the Fatal Funnel. 


Essentially the converse of the Buttonhook, the crossover consists of two operators entering a room nearly simultaneously by crossing through the doorway to the opposite side of where they began. This provides a quick entry and minimal time in the fatal funnel, though the operators need to be coordinated as so not to run into each other. 

Slicing the pie:

Slicing the pie is a technique used for gradual observation of an area, consisting of slowly moving around a corner or obstacle with their weapon trained on the space directly visible (at the edge of the obstacle or corner) and with the upper body leaning slightly into the area being cleared as so not to expose the feet and legs. This technique is not only for entering rooms, but may be used in open environments with large obstacles which could be concealing an enemy. This is often preferred to other clearing tactics as it doesn’t launch you into unknown territory and allows you to slowly and deliberately clear every inch of the room.

Incremental method:

Similar to slicing the pie, the incremental method moves around obstacles in a similar motion, but instead of a gradual movement, the movements are stop-start motions incrementally clearing the entire room or area. This is the primary strategy used by Israeli CQB and the leg work and understanding the shape and size of the area which you will be clearing are critical to this being executed effectively. There are different philosophies on this subject, but ultimately, everything depends on the circumstances. Where there are more operators involved and from different angles, this can change the strategy for clearing a room completely. That is to say, whether you are relying on surprising your opponent through stealth or through speed of action and violent force.

Rules of clearing rooms:

  1. Muzzle before Flesh – the muzzle should always be the first exposed before the body, protecting the operator from return fire and also allowing them to ‘hide’ behind cover fire in the case that they are under attack.
  2. Do not stop in doorways –doors should be cleared as quickly as possible to minimize time spent in the Fatal Funnel.
  3. Never move faster than you can (accurately) shoot –don’t sacrifice your ability to neutralize threats for mobility, otherwise you will be identified before you can react.
  4. Maintain muzzle control at all times – Don’t point your muzzle at anyone’s back while working in teams. 

Drills for clearing rooms:

Practice in teams – effective coordination between team members is essential for entering and clearing rooms, as well as having contingency plans for when things don’t go as planned. 

Fields of fire – it is essential that operators drill the field of fire for which they are responsible. 

Work in simulation environments – practicing in environments that most closely resemble the reality and stress of a situation, without compromising safety, is critical. Airsoft and other such simulations are effective for understanding and practicing both solo and in teams. This will train the concepts into muscle memory and in the end will become second nature. 

Additionally you need to understand the goal of your simulation and drill various circumstances and how this changes your mindset. When practicing, the objective of simply killing the other team as opposed to rescuing a hostage or protecting a VIP in an ambush becomes completely different and different variables are at play. Making sure that you train under all these circumstances is an essential component to being adaptable to any circumstance. 

Mozambique drill– Also known as the failure drill, this is a technique that was developed during the Mozambican War of Independence. Mike Rousseau, a Rhodesian mercenary related the story of having encountered a guerrilla fighter who he shot twice in the sternum and upon seeing his opponent not incapacitated, followed up with a shot to the head. Upon telling this story to the founder of Gunsite Academy, Jeff Cooper, the drill was immediately incorporated into his modern technique shooting method as a drill for ensuring that more resilient opponents won’t be a threat, whether they be larger opponents, have body amor or be under the influence of drugs. Since then, this drill has been used by police, SWAT and many other operators as part of their standard training. 

El Presidente drill– This drill is a scenario driven exercise which simulates the operator performing the drill acting as bodyguard to the president, who is then faced by three armed assailants. The shooter begins in the surrender position with his back facing the ‘assailants’ and hands in the air. He then pivots while unholstering his pistol and placing two bullets into the center circle of three targets (the center target stands 10 yards [~9 meters] distant  from the operator with a space of 1 yard between each target [just short of one meter]). The operator then reloads and shoots each of the three targets twice again. The goal is to train speed and accuracy, with a deduction in points for each round that doesn’t hit the center of the target. This is a key drill to practice and often functions as a litmus test for an operators proficiency. 

Seiryoku ZenyO

Minimum effort, Maximum efficiency -“Seiryoku ZenyO”  – 

IJJ – The history of Israeli Jiu Jitsu (IJJ) goes back certainly to the first Kapap Instructors: Gerson Kupler (RIP), Yehuda Marcus (RIP), who were among the first generation to bring Judo and Jiu Jitsu into Israel, with a strong influence from Moshe Feldenkris.

How is it that we have forgotten names such as Moshe Feldenkris when talking about Israeli Martial arts?

In the days following the First World War, times were hard. A young Ukrainian immigrant named Moshe Feldenkra moved to the land of pre-Israel and that meant being ready to fight for your life at any moment. Knowing how to fight was not a sport or an exercise fad, it meant survival.

Young Feldenkrais had a scientific mind that sought sound, testable skills which he and his neighbors could use to defend themselves.  Japanese jiu jitsu had exploded as an international phenomenon in the early 1900s. Feldenkrais and his peers worked to learn jiu jitsu techniques for real life application in the street.  He published a book on jiu jitsu that was based on what he had learned fighting and teaching others with the goal of becoming a training tool for the Haganah, or Jewish defense forces. This book, Jiu-Jitsu and Self Defense (1930), was based on a studying the behavior of humans to develop instinctive or unconscious responses for self-protection and self-preservation. Much of his work was incorporated into the system that became known as  KAPAP – Krav Maga today.

Feldenkrais left for France  to study engineering and physics in Paris. There he met Judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano, in 1933. Kano encouraged him to study Judo. Feldenkrais learned Judo from Mikonosuke Kawaishi Sensei earning his Shodan in 1936 and a Nidan in 1938. He published several books on Judo including his most important Judo work: Higher Judo

Feldenkrais and Kawaishi founded the Jujitsu Club de France in 1936. This organization eventually became the Federation Francaise de Judo et Jujitsu (FFJJ) in 1946. The FFJJ was instrumental in the creation of the International Judo Federation which oversees sport Judo throughout the world. Paul Bonét-Maury, first IJF Secretary-General, was one of Feldenkrais’ students. 

Later in his life, Feldenkrais recalled a phrase that Kano had said to him: “judo is the efficient use of the mind over the body.” Kano also introduced the concept of “Seiryoku ZenyO” to the young Feldenkrais, which means “minimum effort, maximum efficiency”. Kano challenged Moshe to free himself from a reverse cross choke. Moshe attempted to free himself pushing Kano’s throat with his fist, but when this failed, he finally gave up. This impressed Feldenkrais, being 29 years old at the time and effortlessly subdued by a 75 year old Kano. It didn’t take long for Feldenkrais to receive his blackbelt and over time became one of the foremost Judo instructors in France, his reputation soon earning him the title “Pionnier du Judo en France”. His partnership with another key instructor in France, master Mikinosuke Kawaishi, helped him further hone his skill and gave him the necessary foundation to write two books. 

At the outbreak of World War II, Feldenkrais escaped Paris and served in the British Admiralty, continuing his role as instructor, now to the British soldiers on base. He retired in 1945 and moved to London, where he was able to continue his study of Judo under grand master G. Koizumi. So impressed was he with the skills of Koizumi, he spoke often the judo master while teaching Awareness Through Movement. 

When challenged by the editor of the Budokwai Bulletin to compare the judo at his club with that of other clubs, Moshe responded by saying “I do not think that such criticism would serve any useful purpose. Criticism leading to no improvement is wasted effort and as such is contrary to the spirit of judo. I prefer, therefore, to present to you another way of looking at things you already know…”

Relatively few have heard of Feldenkrais, but his impact on Judo has been large and significant as also I’m sure on Israeli Martial arts.

So why don’t we hear more about Moshe Feldenkrais in Judo and more importantly in Israeli Martial arts? That’s why I determined over the course of the last 20 years to write about Israeli Martial arts and remind people of the names that somehow do not appear in Israeli Martial arts and I’m sure these heroes of the original Israeli Martial arts inspired me when I was younger to take the first steps in Martial arts and study their books. 

More names from my childhood come to mind as I used to train under them in what was known as “Practical Judo”, or in other words, Judo as self defense with jiu jitsu. However, what I most remember is my father teaching me the way of martial arts and Budo, with the foundation of them being “Respect”. Many times I have seen in today’s day and age all the people who call themselves martial artists, but who have lost all respect for others and even to themselves by walking around with an attitude of “I’m better than you”, having forgotten the concept of: “It’s not about the size of your stones, but what you build with them!” Tim Boehlert  – partner for writing and teaching many times

Around 1992 I returned from many years studying martial arts in Japan where I made the same changes in my mind while studying swordsmanship under Sensei Kubo Akira, and a long list of teachers he sent me to. I studied and explored martial arts with more than 100 teachers to improve my style and see another’s “way”. During these years I also met a great teacher I follow until today, Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, who served as a mentor and big brother, showing me more ways and skills and more teachers as I continued to study Japanese culture and even play shakuhachi – Japanese and Chinese longitudinal and Zen and Kyudo – Japanese archery – Karate under Tadano Tomiyaki, Judo Jiujtsu at Shin Kiba Police academy ( Taiho-Jutsu ) and many more arts to open my mind and provide me with a well-rounded skill set – thereafter returning to Israel. 

When I arrived back in Israel, the first thing that shocked me was the closed mind and inability to see things another way. We know the best attitude is to be open to new perspectives and Lt.Colonel Avi Harush (RIP) was the first to help me and get me into the Wingate Army base to start changing the Krav Maga system and over time, the YAMAM, Israel’s top Anti-Terror unit recruited me to be the official instructor and member of a unit with a rank of master sergeant. Since I was working full time in the service, I could not teach civilians anymore and therefore, gave my club to my student, Chaim Peer, as a firewall to present the club and the civilian life as a teacher. Later, I become the Operational Police official instructor in defensive tactics (Hagana and operational behavior and Riot control) and there created the first KAPAP – Krav Maga civilian life class courses. Everyone knew Chaim Peer but not the background and real story and many wild rumors surface on the Internet which are completely wrong, including by few Krav Maga organizations who are attempting a character assassination of my reputation and name. They have tried to take me out from the Krav Maga market by spreading the most evil lies, including that I was never in the Israeli army. I could show I have been Major rank, including the Yamam service documents from my time there, but it seems that many in the Krav Maga community love the baseless rumors more than the truth and over time, even by “Partners and friends.” 

I have focused on 3 elements most important to the combative system, the triangle of KAPAP – Krav Maga and IJJ. Historically, KAPAP was the foundation, as more and more people see now that KAPAP is the father from which were born Krav Maga and Jiu Jitsu, which is directed toward the day to day lives of civilians. This allows us to devote time to teach slow as fast and to deal with civilians from different age groups, all the way from kids to grown adults. Through experience it’s better teach all 3 elements: in the short term, we focus on Kapap Krav Maga as an introduction, moving on to the long term study with Jiu Jitsu, as it is a more complete system and because, having done Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Judo, I continue to follow the ranking method. From 5 dan Shihan my leaders receive the red white belt as is the case in Judo, but from 6 dan I want to see them as Teachers Kyoshi and blue white belt as in Israeli Martial arts leaders world wide. My  belt  is white blue, ending in blue  as leader and founder. Those head instructors under me receive the white blue ending with white, followed by the other instructors belt, the red white and finally, the black belt. 

I received the blessing of Professor John Machado BJJ, carrying the black belt in his style and also by Hanshi Patrick McCarthy 9 dan, holding the rank of 7 dan under him in Aikijujutsu and now today we have the blessing of many organizations and world wide martial artists and we welcome to our home those good martial artist who demonstrate integrity, honesty and desire to learn. Whenever possible we try to avoid politics, taking the words of Dr. Feldenkris when it comes to critics – “I do not think that such criticism would serve any useful purpose. Criticism leading to no improvement is wasted effort and as such is contrary to the spirit of judo. I prefer, therefore, to present to you another way of looking at things you already know…”

We are filming 3 DVDs with Budo Magazine to share our way and welcome you to Israeli Jiujutsu, also known as IJJ. My next GOAL is to develop International Jiujutsu, combining Japanese BJJ and Israeli Jiujutsu and keep growing together!

The Significance of “Leaving Ego at the Door”

The Significance of “Leaving Ego at the Door”
(SPANISH translation – below main text)
By Leon Koh

In the course of teaching martial arts and self defense, especially in these past few years, more particularly in the past few weeks, I have been contemplating the significance of a statement that have been uttered by many martial artists. One that has also adorned the walls of a many martial arts academies.

“Leave your ego at the door”.

This phrase has been used so much and cliché that it does not do justice to its significance.  We often hear it on the lips of many trainers, reminding students of the need to “keep their ego in check”, “Leave your ego at the door”. It has become the mantra of many students and martial arts practitioners, yet the concrete actions they take to demonstrate it are elusive and varied.  What does it actually mean to “leave ego at the door”, who does it apply to, and how can we actually approach this? Not just from a philosophical perspective, but a more practical and actionable stand-point.

Firstly, we must establish the definition of Ego.  The term has been thrown around and loosely used. While ego and pride are synonymous, ego doesn’t just refer to one’s pride or sense of pride. Pride refers to one’s sense of self-respect and the importance of personal achievement. Ego, on the other hand, is that of one’s sense of self esteem and self importance.  Ego also refers to one’s self concept.  Therefore, having ego means to have an understanding of oneself and the value placed on one’s self-importance.

Considering these definitions, as a student, one must be able to suspend his perception of himself in order to progress and improve. To recognize that there are probably other selves that are not yet explored or developed. He should train to improve not to impress.  

All too often we can see students trying too hard to impress, pretending to comprehend a subject.  As a student, “leaving ego at the door” means having the awareness to know when to ask for help and when to accept help, with the purpose learning and thereby attaining mastery.  

Oftentimes, leaving ego at the door is focused on the students of the martial arts class.  This however should not be the case.  It is equally applicable for the different roles that you play in the class, as a student and a training partner. As a training partner, he will need to leave his ego at the door and relegate his self importance. This will allow not only himself to improve, but also his training partners to progress.   

For teachers, there is equal, if not more importance to manage their ego. It is, however, not so much as leaving ego at the door, but keeping it in check and adjusting it accordingly to the scenario.  Many a great masters and teachers, some of whom I have the privilege and fortune of being mentored by, shows the depth on how “leaving ego at the door” can be actioned. Grandmaster Avi Nardia reminds us to be “Always a student and sometimes a teacher” and Mr Tony Blauer says it eloquently “Don’t show a student what you can do, show them what they can do”. 

While students can be reminded by the teacher to keep their ego in check, under the watchful eye of their teachers, it is different for the teacher. In fact, just “leaving ego at the door” would be insufficient.  Ego can be like a pet that wonders into your home, unless tied down with a leash.  Teachers need to develop high self awareness and confidence, to metaphorically “tie-down” the ego at the door and not let it creep in while he is teaching. He would not see the need to impress the student in the class with showmanship and trickery, or to show students things which they are not yet ready for. Failure in doing so could mislead a student and affect their learning outcomes. Another aspect to consider is also the ability to acknowledge when an area is not of your expertise and have the willingness to learn, even from your students.

By actually understanding and managing one’s ego, we can harness to positively build character and to develop true subject and personal mastery. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say “Adjust your Ego at the door and while on the floor”.  Here are some actionable thoughts to help manage ego. 

Practical Tips on leaving ego at the door for students

  • Develop appropriate process oriented goals for training that do not have a performance component.
  • Recognize and understand that every student comes to train for different reasons and with different backgrounds and varying competence and fitness conditions. Be empathetic, without judgement. 
  • Recognize and understand that training at different speeds present different training and learning benefits, as it engages different parts of the brain.
  • Be open to feedback, genuinely seek feedback from peers and teachers.
  • Only offer critique when solicited.

Practical Tips on leaving ego at the door for teachers 

  • Develop true competence in skill sets being taught, having it validated by peers, to have high level of Self Efficacy and therefore confidence.
  • Focus on the learning outcome of the students
  • Facilitate a mastery climate 
  • Planning for the desired behavioral outcome and responses.
  • Understanding the goals of the student and only accepting the student when your teaching philosophy can bring about that desired outcome. 
  • Develop communication skills, as there is no learning disability, only teaching dis-ability.
  • Constantly reflect on your actions and behaviour when conducting classes.


En el transcurso de la enseñanza de artes marciales y defensa personal, especialmente en estos últimos años, más particularmente en las últimas semanas, he estado contemplando el significado de una declaración que muchos artistas marciales han pronunciado. Uno que también ha adornado las paredes de muchas academias de artes marciales. “Deja tu ego en la puerta”.

La frase se ha usado tanto que se ha convertido en un cliché que no le hace justicia a su significado. A menudo lo escuchamos en los labios de muchos entrenadores, recordando a los estudiantes la necesidad de “mantener su ego bajo control”, “Deje su ego en la puerta”. Se ha convertido en el mantra de muchos estudiantes y practicantes de artes marciales, pero las acciones concretas que toman para demostrarlo son esquivas y variadas. Entonces, ¿qué significa “dejar el ego en la puerta”, a quién se aplica? ¿Cómo podemos abordar esto, no solo desde una perspectiva filosófica, sino desde un punto de vista más práctico? 

Primero tenemos que establecer la definición de Ego. El término ha sido utilizado libremente. Mientras que el orgullo y el ego son sinónimos. El orgullo se refiere al sentido de respeto propio y la importancia para el logro personal. El ego es el sentido de autoestima y la importancia personal,. no solo se refiere al orgullo o al sentimiento de orgullo. El ego puede ser visto como autoconcepto. Tener ego significa también tener una comprensión de ti mismo. El ego también podría referirse al valor asignado a la importancia personal.

Considerando estas definiciones, en el contexto de un estudiante, debe poder suspender su percepción de sí mismo para progresar y mejorar. Reconocer que probablemente hay otros  yo que aún no se han explorado o desarrollado. Entrena para mejorar, no para impresionar.

Dejar Ego en la puerta es relegar su importancia personal para permitir, no solo, que usted mismo mejore, sino también nuestro compañero de entrenamiento, para así progresar. También podría significar tener la conciencia de saber cuándo pedir ayuda y también aceptarla. Con demasiada frecuencia podemos ver a los estudiantes tratando de impresionar demasiado, pretendiendo comprender un tema.

Muchas veces, dejar el ego en la puerta se centra en los estudiantes de la clase de artes marciales. Sin embargo, este no debería ser el caso. Es igualmente aplicable para los diferentes roles que desempeñas en la clase. Uno de los profesores, el asistente de enseñanza, el estudiante, el compañero de entrenamiento.

Desde la perspectiva de un entrenador, profesor, maestro, es igualmente importante suspender el ego. Muchos grandes maestros, algunos de los cuales tengo el privilegio y la fortuna de que me asesoren como el Gran Maestro Avi Nardia “Siempre un estudiante y, a veces, un maestro” y el Sr. Tony Blauer dice elocuentemente “No le muestres a un estudiante lo que puedes hacer , muéstreles lo que pueden hacer ”, cada uno enseña a su forma como esta máxima se puede aplicar.

La capacidad de dejar el ego en la puerta, también requiere que el maestro tenga suficiente auto conciencia, confianza en sí mismo, no hay necesidad de impresionar al alumno en la clase, mostrándoles cosas para las que aún no están preparados, ya que esto podría inducir a error ellos. Otro aspecto a considerar es también la capacidad de reconocer cuando un área no es de su experiencia, y tener la disposición de aprender incluso de sus estudiantes.

Aquí hay algunos pensamientos prácticos para ayudar a manejar el ego,

Consejos prácticos para dejar el ego en la puerta para los estudiantes.

Desarrollar objetivos orientados a procesos apropiados para la capacitación que no tienen un componente de desempeño

Reconozca y comprenda que cada estudiante viene a entrenar por diferentes razones y con diferentes antecedentes y diferentes habilidades y condiciones físicas.

Reconozca y comprenda que el entrenamiento  a diferentes ritmos presenta distintos beneficios de capacitación y aprendizaje. Cada estudiante tiene su propio ritmo de aprendizaje

Esté abierto a la retroalimentación, busque genuinamente la retroalimentación de sus compañeros y maestros.

Solo ofrezca crítica cuando se solicite.

Consejos prácticos para dejar el ego en la puerta para profesores.

Desarrollar un nivel alto de competencia  en los conjuntos de habilidades que se enseñan, validado por sus iguales, para tener un alto nivel de autoeficacia.

Centrarse en el resultado de aprendizaje de los estudiantes.

Planificación del resultado y respuesta conductuales deseados

Comprender los objetivos del alumno y aceptarlo solo, cuando tu filosofía de enseñanza puede lograr el resultado deseado.

Desarrolle habilidades de comunicación, ya que no existe una discapacidad de aprendizaje, solo una discapacidad de enseñanza.

The Kibera Project

The purpose of martial arts training is to overcome six kinds of diseases:
1. Desire to victory
2. Will to impress
3. Relying on technical skills
4. Desire to master psychology of an opponent
5. Will to wait for the opponent’s first move 

6. The desire to overcome all these diseases

Yagyu Munenori (1571-1646 Japanese swordsman, founder of the Edo branch of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū)

We also add Friendship as one of our goals in order to study martial art in a manner of love and peace. Friendship is what this text will be all about. 

Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi and the largest urban slum in Africa. Most of Kibera slum residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.00 per day. Unemployment rates are high, there are few schools, and most people cannot afford education for their children. Clean water is scarce with diseases due to very poor hygiene and a total lack of sanitation. 

The basic facilities we all take for granted on a day-to-day basis are just not available in Kibera. You can do a research about Kibera and read about its history, but for me the future is more important – these talented kids deserve a much better world and future. 

Sensei Salim Oboch, who was born and lived all his life in Kibera, has started a Martial Arts program for the kids of Kibera. Two years ago I had an honor of introducing KAPAP – Krav Maga in Kibera with my team from Mauritius and Kenya i.e. sensei Bruneau Laurette, sensei Cleven Langi and sensei Vincent Barayia. 

We plan to run a project, which will help children from Kibera to engage more in a study of Martial arts. So far we have received a big support and help from Kapap Krav Maga team in Kenya to start promoting Martial arts program with Sensei Salim Oboch and my wife Aleksandra Nardia who will try to build a project from an initial first aid to a long term one. 

Dear Martial arts teachers and friends we will soon come up with more information  how each and everyone  can be a part of this project and help this children to get hope and a better future. 
We will keep all Budo Magazine readers informed and, with the support of Alfredo Tucci and Budo Magazine, we will make the sound of Kibera be heard.