Inferiority Martial Arts

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

This is Article #8 co-written with Avi in JUN 2014 – unpublished to date

“Think outside the box” – Hanshi Patrick McCarthy

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

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

Homo unius libri – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Understand the difference between Self-Defense and Fighting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maj. Avi Nardia [,,,]

Tim Boehlert []

© Copyright, 2014 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

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.”




Maj. Avi Nardia [,]

Ken Akiyama [,]

©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.

The Most Difficult Journey…

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

©Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Copyright © 2013 Avi Nardia with Tim Boehlert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.

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

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is teaching?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project Mission Statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Authors: Avi Nardia and Tim Boehlert ©copyright 2013


Maj. Avi Nardia [,]

Tim Boehlert []

©Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Born To Fight… But I Choose Peace & Love

“Born to Fight… But I Choose Peace & Love”

Avi Nardia Sensei & Ken Akiyama Sensei

I was recently asked when I first learned how to “fight.”

My philosophy is that I began fighting upon my first breath. I was born in a hospital emergency room; fighting to live, and I fought in intensive care for months until it was safe to be taken home.

Since then, I have been in many fights: from the streets of Tel Aviv, through a war in Lebanon, to my service with the YAMAM counter terror unit and more. All of these experiences reminded me to respect and appreciate life as a gift. I draw inspiration from the Latin word ‘spiritus’, which means ‘breath’, ‘soul’, and ‘vigor’ in English.

This is to explain that martial arts involves much more than fighting other people. There is a great deal of depth in learning martial arts and such learning shouldn’t be rushed. You can’t be a swimming teacher the first time you fall into a pool.

The Spirit of Israeli Martial Arts

The more I teach Israeli martial arts, the more I wonder if anyone understands these arts or if it’s just a fashionable image. Israeli martial arts are not the best in every way. For example, Filipino martial arts have depth of knowledge in stick and knife fighting, thai boxing and karate focus more on impacting, whilst grappling and BJJ excel on the ground. So, what defines the Israeli systems?

Hanshi Patrick McCarthy taught me that, in order to understand a martial art, it helps to study the culture and people who developed it. For example, Japanese martial arts come from a culture of conformity; while Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is more laid back. Each art is shaped by the attitudes of the people who develop them. To describe Israeli culture, I will say that if you tell me something fantastic, I want to see it; if you show me something incredible, I want to feel it. Only if your claim passes this test, will I believe you. Israeli martial arts are focused on practicality; that is why I like to describe Avi Nardia Academy as “Practical Martial Arts.”

I recently designed a knife with FOX Knives called the ‘Israeli Tracker.’ My inspiration for the design was based on the spirit of the knife as a practical tool for basic survival. A survival knife must excel at tasks such as cutting rope, building fires, building shelter and so much more. First and foremost, the knife is a life giving tool; yet most systems only show how evil the knife can be. Any fool can take a life, and even a child can fatally wield a blade. Further to the point, why not just use a stone?

In order to prove this concept, I would like to teach a workshop called “Only Knife.” In this course students can use any knife they want. Immediately, they will have to think, “How will I survive, camp, and build a shelter with karambit?” The karambit is for sure the last knife I would choose for a special forces team. They need a tactical knife that can work and perform functional duties. At Avi Nardia Academy, we teach students to understand the knife as a whole, and not just as a killing tool. We also teach about the use of force and point out that what is taught in many knife classes will be considered murder by a court, and not as self defense.

At my academy, we don’t fight because we hate the man in front of us. We fight to defend our friends and families behind us. The ultimate spirit of Israeli martial arts is understanding that you will never have another opportunity to defend yourself. We must use mind, body, and spirit in conjunction with techniques, principles of motion, and situational awareness. It’s not the better technique that wins the fight for your life, it is the spirit of determination to survive; the spirit of never giving up.

Shin Gi Tai

Recently, my Aiki Kenpo Jujutsu teacher, Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, spoke of the ancient Chinese maxim: “shin gi tai” Condition the body, cultivate the mind, nurture the spirit.

Nowadays, many people only pursue the way of the body; mostly with the new wave of MMA. However, it’s often overlooked that most top MMA fighters have a background in one primary style such as jiu-jitsu, karate, or thai boxing; not just “MMA” as its own style. It is very important for new students to understand that.

I have competed in a variety of contact martial arts, trained vale tudo fighters, and some of my friends and students (including UFC champion Carlos Newton) are world renowned in sport fighting. Thus, my words are based on experience. Sport fighting is a way to explore ourselves and our abilities, but it doesn’t teach us how to deal with losses in our daily lives, the deaths of people we love, or losses in business. Competitions are a small part of life, and a small fight when compared to standing face-to-face with something as dangerous as cancer, for example.

Whereas sport is a fight for achievement, a personal battle is a fight for survival. Survival requires the ability to think in challenging situations, develop and maintain physical health, and training the ‘spirit’, itself. Sun Tzu pointed toward this idea when he wrote, “Know yourself and you win all battles.” __This is the key to transcending from being a sport fighter into being a true warrior.

During the past few years I have been involved in survival training projects in the arctic, desert and jungle. My academy holds training camps in the jungles of Thailand called ‘Warrior by Nature’ with meditations on nature itself. When you go into the jungle, the heat, humidity, flies, snakes, bees and other dangers constantly tempt you to give up. Everything there wants to kill you. This environmental stress, combined with long days of thai boxing, MMA and KAPAP Combatives creates an experience which challenges one’s mind, body and emotions. Training in these extreme conditions inspired me to reflect on how important mental fortitude is.

After the jungle, I worked on a project in the Arctic with my old friend, student, and UFC champion, Carlos ‘The Ronin’ Newton. We developed a martial arts program for native Cree and Inuit tribes, based on Avi Nardia Academy. We experienced real arctic training at – 45 degrees, where any mistake could be your last. It was an honor to be welcomed into the community and to study how these tribes live on a daily basis in this astonishing cold. The whole experience was sort of a spiritual revival and when I left, the kids came and hugged me. I was proud to have done something for them that they understood and valued. This experience with the Inuit and Cree reminded me of an old Native American saying: “Certain things catch your eye. But pursue only those that
capture your heart.” The wisdom behind those words gave me pause to reconsider the past, present, and future of KAPAP and Avi Nardia Academy.

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. All of the applications and proposals for this prestigious position were reviewed, and I got the job.

As Master Sergeant in the YAMAM, I worked with Lt. Colonel Chaim Peer, a highly respected man from the army’s top special forces unit (similar to Delta force in the USA). Lt. Col. Peer brought great knowledge of unit needs and tactics, and with my knowledge of martial arts, we created a new close quarters battle system for one of the most elite combat operations units in the world. I named it KAPAP.

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 we first developed KAPAP 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 amongst 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 traveling 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, 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.


Authors: Avi Nardia and Ken Akiyama ©copyright 2014


Maj. Avi Nardia [,]

Ken Akiyama [,]

©Copyright, 2014 Maj. Avi Nardia & Ken Akiyama

KAPAP: Krav Panim el Panim, The Art of ‘Gaku Jutsu–Do’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An'Ichi Miyagi Sensei

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

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

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

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

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

Authors: Avi Nardia and Tim Boehlert ©copyright 2013


Maj. Avi Nardia [,]

Tim Boehlert 

©Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

Mind, Body, Spirit

“Mind, Body, Spirit”

Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authors: Avi Nardia and Tim Boehlert ©copyright 2013


Maj. Avi Nardia [,]

Tim Boehlert 

©Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert


Shooting: How Close Is Too Close?

“Shooting: How Close is Too Close?” 

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

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


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

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

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

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

Pic 4

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

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

Introducing: Instinctive Point Shooting Combat (IPSC)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



Maj. Avi Nardia [,]

Benjamin Krajmalnik []

Tim Boehlert 

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



Use of Force and a Defensive Mindset – Benjamin Krajmalnik

As a civilian firearms instructor, I often encounter an absolute misconception with respect to the application of force in the defense of one’s self or others.  While statutes between states vary, many people have internalized that because the law, as stated, allows them to use deadly force in the event of, for example, a home intrusion, they are totally justified in doing so.  In most cases, these individuals have not thought out the repercussions of being involved in a shooting.    Even if the said shooting is deemed to be justified, and therefore there are no legal ramifications, there are many psychological and social effects which will unfold which will be life changing.  I will not delve into these within the scope of this article, but rather explain when use of force can be used.  I am not a lawyer, so if you carry a firearm for self defense, I recommend you consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction to get legal advice.  I am strictly speaking from a tactical defensive perspective.


One of the biggest misconceptions is that if one feels threatened (since statutes usually use this terminology in their use of force criteria), one must engage.  This is an absolute misconception.  To illustrate this, I will explain the differences in types of engagements.  There are essentially three types – military, law enforcement, and civilian.

Under the first type of engagement (military). a threat is identified, and our objective is crystal clear – engage and neutralize the threat.  We do not have discretion as to whether the engagement is to take place or not, when given the order we have no option of retreating (unless as a result of the engagement that is the tactically sound option), and we are to use all means at our disposal in order to neutralize the threat.  Our objective here is to take the object out of the fight – either by severely injuring him (which will take additional troops out of the battle as they attend to him) or by killing him.


Our second type of engagement is a law enforcement engagement.  Unlike the military, the mandate of law enforcement, when a threat is perceived, is not to neutralize it by killing it, but rather to apprehend and bring to justice.  As in the first type of encounter, law enforcement does not have a choice – it is their job to apprehend the threat.  The approaches may vary, leaving discretion as to where and how to effect this.  While normally it is not advisable to break contact with the threat, in some cases a tactically sound decision might be to break contact while maintaining surveillance, and apprehend under conditions which are more favorable to the law enforcement unit or where a lower level of threat will be present to the public.  IF in the course of the apprehension the subject is killed will be a matter to be investigated as to the acceptable levels of use of force by the department.

The type of engagement which we are concerned with is a civilian engagement, and I will go more into detail.  Regardless of the legalese of any statue governing use of force in the defense of one’s self (and this is more critical in Castle Doctrine states where individuals may feel that the law is “on their side”), we must be able to articulate a defense for our use of force.  To do this, there are three components which must be addressed – the triangle of AbilityOpportunity, and Intent.  If we can prove that the assailant or perpetrator had the ability, the opportunity, and the intent to inflict severe bodily harm or death, then one’s deployment of deadly force will be justified.  These three factors do not relate only to the assailant, but also to the person deploying force in self defense.


Unlike the military and law enforcement engagements, as a civilian we have one objective – survival.  Anytime you use force in self defense, you are going to have a level of legal liability, so the best course of action is always to flee.  We do not carry a firearm for ego, and we do not engage to make a point.  I do not care how skilled one thinks he may be – anytime an engagement takes place the outcome is unknown, and you may be on the losing side of the confrontation.  Your best course of action is always to flee – and this is regardless of whether the use of force would have been with a firearm or empty handed.

I will present a hypothetical scenario.  You wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of something shattering in your kitchen.  There are various courses of action you could take.

Option 1:  You take your handgun and go down to the area where you heard the noise to engage the perceived threat.  As you arrive to the kitchen, you see an unknown silhouette, and “fearing for your life”, you fire a shot into the threat and take it down.  Did the suspect have the Ability to inflict bodily harm?  It would depend.  Let’s take a scenario where you encountered a large male.  After he was already on the ground, you see he is significantly stronger than you, and next to his body you see a crowbar which he used to break into your house.  In this case, he would have the ability, since he had both the physical potential as well as the means to do so.  Did he have the Opportunity?  At this point, absolutely not – until you closed the distance to engage him, he was outside a reactionary gap which would give him the opportunity.  Did he have the Intent?  Well, from the data we have at this point, his only intent was to steal something from you – no overt threats were made.  Unless the subject were to act in a threatening manner upon seeing you, if you were to shoot it might very well be deemed unjustified and you could be criminally liable.  But now, let’s make it even more interesting. After you take the shot and approach the subject you see that you just shot your son’s friend, who unbeknownst to you, came back from a party slightly inebriated and stumbled while trying to get some water.  Now, we go into the social and psychological effects in the aftermath of the shooting.  You just took the life of an innocent person, and more so of someone close to you.  Do you think you will be able to live with yourself in this aftermath?  What about the ramifications in your social circles? Life will indeed be very complicated for you post-conflict.

Pic 4a

Option 2: You take your handgun and carefully go down in an attempt to escape.  In the process of doing so, the suspect sees you and threatens you.  The suspect is totally drunk and unable to walk straight.  He has one of your kitchen knives.   You are 5 feet from the door, and he is 30 feet from you.  Do you engage him?  First of all, by taking the course of action of fleeing, you have already shown that you had no intent at using any level of force.  Now we analyze the subject based on our three criteria.  Did he have theAbility?  Well, that would be questionable.  He did have a weapon which he brandished, and may be able to close in on the distance fast enough, but until he begins to do so it is marginal at best.  Does he have the Intent?  Absolutely – he has made an overt threat and is brandishing a weapon.  Does he have the Opportunity?  In this case, it is very much like his ability – if he starts closing the gap faster than you can escape, then yes.  Otherwise, no.  Use of deadly force in this case would depend on the posture that the suspect took when he saw you were fleeing.  Any attempt to approach you would indicate that burglary was not his sole intent.

Option 3:  The layout of your house is such that you cannot safely escape avoiding detection.  You dial 911 and call the police.  You inform them of your exact location inside the house, of the threat that is inside your house, and also inform them that you are armed.  You keep the line open, and shout to whoever is downstairs that you are armed and any attempt to come upstairs will be construed as a deadly threat resulting in the use of deadly force.  You take a tactically sound position upstairs such that if the threat comes up to engage you, you will have the advantage.  By following these steps you have given yourself the maximum of coverage you could potentially have.  You have called law enforcement for them to take care of the assailant, you have issued a warning, which is now recorded, as to your willingness to use deadly force only in the event he comes up, and you have taken a tactically advantageous position.  The suspect starts coming up the stairs, in total darkness.  You see an object in his hand.  He has been warned about not coming upstairs.  You are already in a defensive mindset.  He is closing that gap, and he has been warned, so therefore he has the ability and opportunity, and since he has the object in his hand, intent to do harm.  Do you take the shot?  Rule #1 – you do not fire until you have identified your target.  The “suspect” coming up was your son, coming from college for the weekend, unannounced.   The object in his hand is his Ipod, through which he is listening to music and was unable to hear your warnings.


Perception and reality, especially while under stress, are very different.  But having a plan ahead of time, following it, and following basic safety an tactical rules will minimize the chance of you having to use deadly force.  It is always preferable to have the threat come to you, and not the other way around.  You do not know what the threat is comprised of – by taking a tactically sound posture you minimize the chance of being on the losing side of the engagement.  You will not be taken by surprise.   But even if you have taken all of the correct steps as in our Option 3, never fire until you have identified your target.  A few months ago, a famous South African runner shot his girlfriend.  She was in the bathroom, he claimed he woke up to sounds in the bathroom and thought someone had broken into his house.  He fired his gun through the closed door killing her.  I would hate to be his lawyer.  I cannot know if it was murder or not – that is up to the courts to decide – but he is absolutely guilty of homicide, having fired without identifying his target.

KAPAP: The Art of Giving Life, Not Taking Life

KAPAP: The Art of Giving Life, Not Taking Life

Maj. Avi Nardia [,]
Tim Boehlert 
© Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

2 Speak to everyone of happiness, health and prosperity.

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

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

into a reality in life.

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


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

your own.

7 Forget about past mistakes and concentrate your energies on the

victories ahead.

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

that address you.

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

criticize the others.

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

feel fear and too happy to tumble in adversity.

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

not through words of vanity but through benevolence.

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

what is best within you.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abraham Lincoln 

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

Tom Robbins, 

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


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

Andrew Vachss 

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

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

Lynette Mather 

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

Denpa Kyoshi 

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

Leonardo da Vinci 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Maj. Avi Nardia [,]

Tim Boehlert 

© Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert