Seiryoku ZenyO

Minimum effort, Maximum efficiency -“Seiryoku ZenyO”  – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hand Gun-Fu and Weapon-Do

Hand Gun-Fu and Weapon-Do
© Copyright 2019 Avi Nardia

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

When KAPAP Krav Maga started incorporating firearms training as part of its “System” more than 30 years ago, many claimed that firearms are NOT part of martial arts and today I’m happy KAPAP WIN in a way and see that many understand that in the modern era, the weapon we face in terrorist attacks and the majority of crimes are not the Nunchako or Baton. As more and more Martial Arts start to see the advancement of combatives study, I find myself teaching CQB / CQC and high-risk entries with civilians more often. As such, I have decided to take the time to write about CQB and high risk situations more, cover and concealment, dealing with an active shooter or terrorist in the hopes that some may find useful information and good education for using the proper terminology of CQB. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Combatives we have a “self-protection” mindset and not a “self-defense” mindset. This means that we actively protect ourselves so we don’t have to get to the point of defending ourselves (by attacking our assailant). we are proactive(so as not to allow surprise assault) and “awareness” is our first line of defense. Conversely the “self-defense” mindset is reactive(having already been assaulted), wherein “reaction” is the first line of defense. also in Combative mind we MUST deal with violence as law enforcement or Army while civilian want to prevent and NOT engagement and avoided and need understand different between combative and self defense .and today we mixing in between and use some parts of Combative in self defense BUT need remember that once get a way to avoid is best and if not you may get into Combative.

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

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

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

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

IBT (Initiative Based Tactics) in CQB:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can create concelment with smoke granade and Camouflage and more

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

You gun fire is your first concelment

Basic pistol positions

Sul Position:

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

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

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

High Ready Position:

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

Low Ready Position (Traditional and Modified):

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

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

Compressed Ready Position:

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

Temple Index position:

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

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

CAR (Center Axis Relock) Position:

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

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

Room clearing         Cover Rule – “less seen of you and more seen of them” and “Multiple muzzle of us against one of them – fire power “

two main kind fast or slower as Dynamic entry and deliberate entry

An important aspect of room combat is the use of areas of responsibility, or individual AORs.
By dividing a room into pie like sections, the room can be cleared far faster than when all operators try to cover all areas at the same time.

  1. Pointman and wingman

The point man is never wrong principle:

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

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

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

  • Room shape – Box , L – shape , door locations center or attach to wall , half walls, window – door sizes ( how many team members can in )  , corridors, furniture’s , Lights and sound effecting ( sun shadow, what lights in , noise , traps )  architect plan 
  • Clearing rooms

Key terms:

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


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


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


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

Slicing the pie:

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

Incremental method:

Similar to slicing the pie, the incremental method moves around obstacles in a similar motion, but instead of a gradual movement, the movements are stop-start motions incrementally clearing the entire room or area. 

Rules of clearing rooms:

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

Lines of Attack

Lines of Attack

For Success in Sparring and Self-Defense, It Pays to Think Outside the Box!
by S.D. Seong

“Shapes are important in the martial arts,” Avi Nardia says somewhat matter-of-factly. “Karate, fencing and Hsing-I, for example, are very linear arts. Wing Chun Kung Fu is also linear, as you can see when a practitioner tries to take the centerline of his opponent’s body.”

The Israeli martial arts expert mentions the predominantly linear nature of most styles to point out a self-imposed limitation in the average martial artist’s fighting mindset. “Whether they’re sparring in the dojo or defending themselves on the street, people tend to think only of moving forward to attack and backward to avoid an attack,” he says. “They don’t immediately think about moving from side to side.

“We can move from side to side in any kind of fight—and we must move that way in self-defense.”

Unfair Advantage
“If I’m fighting you, I’ll always take a 45-degree angle to attack you,” says Nardia, who recently relocated to Israel after spending several years teaching in Rochester, New York. “The Japanese named it Tai Sabaki. Once you start using Tai Sabaki, you’ll find it much easier to defeat your opponent.”

In fact, using angles of attack can make it so much easier to get the upper hand that organizers of many martial arts competitions long ago decided to remove this X-factor from their events. “They keep things linear to make it harder for both sides,” Nardia says. “That’s why in fencing tournaments, they use a very narrow strip for their matches. It forces the competitors to get really good with their timing so they can ‘steal the linear’ of their opponent.

“In Kumite, it’s the same thing. Being forced to attack always along the linear path makes you develop your speed. That’s fine if you have the ability to become faster than all your opponents, but if you’re a slower fighter, you must master angles. That will help you defeat fighters who rely only on speed.”

Traditional Approach
“In Kapap, we divide training into sections,” Nardia says. “In addition to linear training, we do circle training and triangle training.”

When he and his students engage in linear training, it’s with the understanding that it’s basically force against force and speed against speed. “When you want to take the linear, you maneuver forward or backward with your legs,” he says. “Or you can manipulate your opponent’s hands to the side to open a path to his centerline—like they do in Wing Chun. However, if you use your legs, it can give you more opportunities.”

Studying a linear art like fencing or Kendo offers numerous benefits, he says. “Perhaps most important, it makes you fast. When I do boxing, people say my hands are fast—it’s because of all the Kendo I’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a jab with your fist or a jab with a sword — a fast move is a fast move.”

When Nardia and his students partake in circle training, it’s always with the understanding that they’re sacrificing certain advantages. “Linear attacks are the fastest and give you the longest reach, which means that when you go in a circle, you often lose time and the ability to cover distance,” he says. “However, you gain the ability to attack and retreat off-angle, which your opponent probably isn’t expecting. That gives you the element of surprise — it’s a give and take.”

Another benefit of using circle techniques, he says, is increased power. “We’ve analyzed the types of attacks used in arts like Pa Kua and Hapkido, and their spinning kicks and circular hand strikes are incredible with respect to the generation of force.”

Modern Addition
The other option when it comes to lines of attack is the triangle. “I learned this from the Machado family,” Nardia says. “Training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with John and his brothers really changed my life and the way I think about combat.”

Among the triangle-based lessons Nardia picked up was the ubiquitous triangle choke. It takes advantage of the structural integrity of the triangle by positioning one body part on each side of the neck to squeeze the carotid arteries while the third body part prevents the opponent from retreating. The body triangle uses the same approach to apply pressure on the torso.

The inherent stability of the triangle also bolsters balance, Nardia says. Picture a grappler on his knees. Because he essentially has only two points of contact, he can be off-balanced with a push or a pull. If said grappler is in a position that has both knees on the ground—in addition to his head, he’s much more stable. In ground fighting, this basic lesson in balance has many applications, Nardia says.

The main message Nardia hopes to get across is that success often hinges on thinking outside the box. If you’re used to fighting in a straight line, occasionally go circular. If you always spar with spin kicks, occasionally insert a linear leg technique. If you’re used to applying direct force while grappling, occasionally invoke the triangle. It’s a geometry lesson that can benefit all martial artists.

About the author: S.D. Seong is a freelance writer based in Southern California. For more information about Avi Nardia and Kapap, visit

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Random Thoughts
One of the joys of sitting down with a martial artist who’s not a native English speaker is listening as he or she extols bits of wisdom and philosophy in ways that might be described as quaint. The following came from the mouth of Avi Nardia during the interview:

• In martial arts, people always say, “Train as you fight.” You cannot train as you fight. If you did, you’d have to kill your opponent. Training is training, and fighting is fighting. Once you start to mix them, you don’t understand the art of coaching.

• People also say you do not want to fight on the ground. That’s nonsense. You cannot choose where you fight. If you could, you would choose not to fight at all.

• Teaching techniques like the front kick is more important than teaching techniques like the flying armbar. Even today, if I have to teach the military, I don’t see myself doing a flying armbar. You can live a very good life without it.

• A lot of people have a fear of losing. I tell my students: “Once you go to a competition, you’ve already won. You’re not making excuses anymore.”

• Martial arts don’t come from God. They’re not a religion. They’re something we can change.

• After you learn technique, you have to drill. You get to the position and back. It builds muscle memory. If you have to think about what to do in a fight, you’ve already lost. Sometimes people ask, “What would you do against this hold?” I say: “I don’t know. You’d have to put it on me, and then I’d know. I have no idea right now whether the best action would be a punch or kick or throw.”

• Martial arts is more than street fighting. It’s about health and well-being and happiness and relationships — it brings it all together for a better life.

[sidebar 2]

Essential Reading and Watching
For more from Avi Nardia, check out Kapap Combat Concepts: Martial Arts of the Israeli Special Forces. The 120-page full-color book outlines his fighting philosophy and techniques. If you’d rather watch than read, consider the Kapap Combat Concepts DVD set. Volume 1 is titled Principles and Conditioning, Volume 2 is Holds and Third-Party Protection, Volume 3 is Weapons Skills and Defenses and Volume 4 is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Applications.

Originally Published in Black Belt Magazine, © Copyright 2012

The Significance of “Leaving Ego at the Door”

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

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

“Leave your ego at the door”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practical Tips on leaving ego at the door for students

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

Practical Tips on leaving ego at the door for teachers 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solo ofrezca crítica cuando se solicite.

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

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

Centrarse en el resultado de aprendizaje de los estudiantes.

Planificación del resultado y respuesta conductuales deseados

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

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