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 www.avinardia.com

Tim Boehlert www.defendublog.com

© Copyright, 2013 Maj. Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

To Study the Old, Is To Understand the New

To Study the Old, Is to Understand the New


Hanshi Patrick McCarthy www.koryu-uchinadi.com

Maj. Avi Nardia www.avinardia.com

Tim Boehlert www.defendublog.com

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

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

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

Avi Nardia:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We see Kapap as a three-stage Martial Art:

1) The Combative component

2) The Sport/Recreational component

3) The Traditional Martial Arts component

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

1) Pre-Conflict:

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

2) The Conflict

What happens if you could not prevent it?

3) Post-Conflict

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

You will be charged with a crime.

A crime is customarily defined as having three elements:

1) Possessing the tools to commit the crime

i.e. those ten knives you were carrying!

2) The Intention

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

3) The Opportunity

You were there when it happened

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

This ideology reminds me of my teachers words:

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

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

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

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

Examine things of the past, and obtain new knowledge.

Develop new ideas based on a study of the past.

Gain new insights through restudying old issues.

Understand the present by reviewing the past.

Learning from the past.

Review the old and know the new.

Taking a lesson from the past.

Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.

Follow the old ways.

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


Hanshi Patrick McCarthy www.koryu-uchinadi.com

Maj. Avi Nardia www.avinardia.com

Tim Boehlert www.defendublog.com

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


Safety First, Safety Last


© Copyright, 2012 Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert


What’s wrong in the Martial Arts industry today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

In too many other training facilities, students are injured by over-enthusiastic instructors that let their egos dictate the lesson plan. Often ending up in an emergency room, because as trainers, they were not following good training standards.

Others sell their systems using good and/or bad marketing, depending on your point of view. It’s good marketing, as it relies heavily on people’s fear, and lack of education. There is a market for that. It also preys on their wish to be more than ‘wimps.’ Traditionally, this tactic has worked for years, but that does not make it right, or good. This marketing tactic ensures income, but at the expense of the students, and in many cases the instructors.

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

So, why all of the ego, and testosterone? Why the need to sell yourself based on a movie character? Anyone can call themselves an ‘expert’ these days and through effective marketing, they will put many students at risk. Far too many students are paying the price for this dubious marketing trend. In martial arts, all study should start with a good attitude. We must teach the proper attitude and the proper safety. It is our duty as instructors and educators. We teach martial arts. We are martial artists first and

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



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

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


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

Train as You Fight> 

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

Don’t be a Victim> 

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

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


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

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


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

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

Professor John Machado

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

Richard Almeida

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

Avi Nardia

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

Tim Boehlert 

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

© Copyright, 2012 Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert