Thinking Out Of The Box
In order to understand the meaning of thinking out of the box, I will relate a short story. There once was an old man who used to raise racing horses. Upon his death, he bequeathed his children all of his horses, to be divided among them. One half of the horses were to be given to the oldest son, one third to the middle son, and one ninth to the youngest son. However, there was a minor problem: there were 17 horses, and this number could not be divided by 2, 3, and 9. A solution was found by a friend of the father’s who also owned racing horses.

The friend told the oldest son that he would lend him a horse, so now there were a total of 18 horses. Based on the father’s wishes, the oldest son received 9 horses, the middle son received 6 horses, and the youngest son 2 horses. This amounted to 17 horses, so the children now returned the horse which they had borrowed back to the friend.

If you carry a gun in a holster or if you don’t use a holster and carry with the gun tucked into your pants or clothing, and whether it is concealed or not, you must remember this rule: anything you carry may be used against you! If you carry any type of firearm, no matter the status of the firearm whether drawn or not, and you are in a confrontation, it will be considered a firearm confrontation. If you carry a knife into a confrontation, it also will be considered a knife confrontation even if you didn’t mean for it to be one. These rules are important to understand because of the third stage of a conflict.

There are three stages of conflict: pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict.

If you carry a gun or knife for self-defense, as many do today, you must realize it can be used against you. If you engage in the fight and the aggressor is able to take your weapon, your fight has just become a blade or gunfight even if the attacker was unarmed to begin with. This is why weapon retention MUST be a part of training (pre-conflict stage). If you decide to carry a weapon, you must cover all of your bases in the pre-conflict stage by training in the use, retention, and disarming of the weapon. In KAPAP we use this triangle as a combat concept that comes from years of sweat, blood, and tears.

Law enforcement and security personal must be trained in the KAPAP weapon triangle, otherwise we’re asking for trouble. As you’re aware, we encounter lots of armed security people in the unsettled environment of today. Take airport security for example. It may seem safe, but is it really? It may be that airports are actually an “un-safe zone” if the security people are not training the KAPAP combat concept triangle. If airport security personnel do not know how to retain their weapons, then the terrorists do not need to smuggle guns through security. All they need is to be able to disarm the security personnel and create a firearm conflict in the airport. This goes for terrorists in any situation, and also criminals (think bank and armed guards).

There’s a saying we have in Close Quarter Battle (CQB), “you get the bomb and I’ll get the matches to light it”. If you think about what happened on September 11th you’ll remember that the airplanes served as bombs and all the terrorists needed to do was fly them to the targets. One of the most important things to study from history is that humans never learn anything from history…and that’s why we at keep writing and warning and warning about mistakes we see other CQB instructors in the market doing. KAPAP Academy put this goal in front of anything to put the word out and save lives. Many people say we will never forget September 11th. In our opinion the best way to respect the people who died in the attack and the families who love them, is to make ourselves ready by focusing more into the pre-conflict stages, and preparing ourselves for those kinds of CQB situations.

Anyone who wants to carry a concealed gun and/or a knife must seek training by law and apply for a permit to carry it so we know that person has received the minimum training for using the weapons. We sincerely hope they also know how to keep those weapons from getting into the wrong hands to be used against us. Most police forces need to focus a lot of training into gun (and weapon in general) retention because it is the most important training if you carry a firearm in public.

Weapon Retention Overview:
We’ve found similarities regarding weapon retention in martial arts like Iaido, Kendo, Kenjustu, and other traditional martial arts. There are four main steps for weapon retention.

The first step: Secure the weapon. Often this is to your hip – “holstering” it with both hands but sometimes with one hand. Dress code is also an important factor in this step – keeping the weapon in a secure position even when it is holstered, or wherever it is kept on your body.

The second step: Position your body to retain the weapon. We’ve found BJJ (Brazilian Jujitsu) to offer some of the best principles in regard to the art of positioning and relative positioning. Professor John Machado, our friend and teacher for BJJ, is an expert in the art of relative positioning. It is key to position yourself relative to your opponent so that the weapon is effective AND difficult for the opponent to obtain.

The third step: Effect of Release is related to striking or clearing the hands of the opponent as they try to take the weapon from you. There are many ideas for this and the best and most simple are like the Karate move called “Gedan Barai”. This move consists of you holding the weapon with one hand and use your other hand to strike down on the opponent’s hand as he tries to take your weapon. It is a simple and effective move, as are other moves that can be used to clear the opponent’s hands from your weapon.

The fourth step: Create Distance to make sure it is safe to use the weapon and you and the weapon are out of disarming range for your attacker.

We are very happy to see that the state of New York adapted the above system called SPEC (Secure–Position–Effect of Release-Create Distance) as the Gun retention system for their law enforcement training at the police academy, and can recommend it because it is easy to study and a very effective system for gun and weapon retention

For example, as you secure the gun to your hip or stomach area, the simplest idea is to imagine trying to open a jam jar that is hard to open. We pull it near our hip and stomach because this is the area of our body where the mechanism works the best and we have power to open the jar, i.e. core strength. That’s why this is same area we will want to secure the weapon to because that’s where we have the strongest hold or grip.

Thoughts on Post-Conflict
Another important thing regarding post-conflict, also described in our new book, is that whenever a weapon is present in a conflict there is liability due to the fact that weapons often mean the conflict has been elevated to the “deadly use of force” level. If you are a civilian carrying a weapon, even a knife that is legally acceptable, you must be aware that if you will stab someone you will need to explain in court why you chose to use deadly force. As a trainer of martial arts and CQB I try to warn my students about this. I know it’s legal to carry, but I’m sometimes more worried that someone will be tempted to use it by pulling it in the middle of a fight…and if you use it, and are involved in a confrontation, you already have started the post-conflict in a bad way. You will have to explain why you used deadly force even if the knife stayed in your clothes because the police will confiscate it and report that you had a knife, so remember this issue. I know that it may be better to carry a weapon and defend yourself than to end your life. I also know that the USA is a free country and we have the right to carry. But if you go to court, remember that someone (me) also told you to think about the post-conflict too. I’m very aware of the liability and legal aspects of carrying a knife and sure that if you use it, all the best advice from your friends that told you to carry it will not be able to help you with it in court. I’ve traveled in some of the most dangerous countries around the world and the USA and never have felt the need to carry. I’m concerned that over-confidence from carrying could cause situations that normally I would run from.

Now and the Future
Often, my students ask me in seminars where the system is going?

I teach KAPAP and Israeli Martial arts as well as Brazilian Jujutsu (BJJ). I love BJJ because of the art of control that comes with it. With BJJ you can dominate without the “blind eye” that sometimes is a result of training in “reality based” systems. What I mean by this is that it sometimes seems that the students of today seek only the end (street fighting) while ignoring the actual journey toward the goal. Yet, there is a lot of value in the finding of the “way(s)” to the goal.

Self-defense is more complicated than most “reality based” martial arts claim it to be. There is no way, in only 5 lessons, that students will have the same knowledge as someone who has trained 1 or more years (assuming they have a good teacher).

However, there is also a concern for those that have trained long-term; a large ego sometimes results. Dangerous mistakes can happen due to over-confidence. Long-term students sometimes think they know more than they really do.

Today I’m seeing several new “reality based” systems popping up. Most of them have people who are said to be “experts” in “Israeli MA”. Many students and consumers do not see that any solider of 3 years in the Israeli army can come to the US and become an Israeli MA “expert” by spending a lot of money on marketing. They say they are a “commando” or that they have the “most devastating system”. They also plug their name by adding the words “International Organization”. Few people ask them the important questions. For example – “Did you teach for the Israeli army?” “How do you, Mr. Israeli MA expert, know what the Israeli army teaches?” “Okay, so you taught for the Israeli police? Have you been a policeman in Israel? Have you been an official trainer to any unit? Which unit?” Or, how about asking the guy who is a “hero” holding the picture of the “last” grand master: “You said your background was in boxing in Israel? Even a boxing champion? Where? When? How was your record? Were you ever registered in Israel?” but the funny thing they will slander other that did teach at the Israeli police academy Israeli army and Israeli top counter terror units .

It seems to me we are today facing more of a “want-to-be” market. All you need is to put some commando clothes on and say “we are not a traditional martial art, we are a no nonsense martial art”. Does that mean traditional martial arts are nonsense? All that is needed to hit the map in the new “Israeli MA” is some great advertisements of beautiful women in tights doing some aerobics with large “alpha female” egos. I’m being sarcastic…

Well after 5 years of teaching in the civilian market, I’ve grown tired from this “joke”. There is no other better way to express this…what I see are clowns running systems calling themselves the “best ever martial artist”. All of them seem to be so good, that in only 1 year they have their black belt from “leading grand masters” of what I call new “Mc-Krav” clubs. I don’t currently see, and I have never seen, the Israeli army in tights (I wish we had those girls there though!).

Few, if any, of the “grand masters” hold a black belt or knows a martial art such as Japanese Karate or Judo…yet they are teaching people how to kill themselves “in style”. I’ve decided I’m definitely NOT part of this festival of “grand masters”.

I know exactly what Israeli Martial Art is – the good and the bad. The majority of the Israeli army doesn’t receive any hand-to-hand training. Only a few units receive some basic training, which is more to develop aggressiveness based on their power and not on any techniques. This is all done in a very limited amount of time. The Israeli Police Academy does teach a few basic techniques of restraint, but again it is very limited. Hagana (a defensive tactics system) for better or worse will try to cram as much as possible into a short period of training. There are also the counter-terror units, which get their training in a few different schools around the idea system called Lotar. Some of the Lotar schools are for the border police and others are for the army…and there is virtually no cross contact between, so not much is shared.

I have been an official instructor for all 3 major areas in Israel – the Israeli Army, the Israeli Police, and the Israeli Counter-Terror units. I can say that the level of training in these areas is not as good as some people claim. If I use my martial arts background, I can even say it’s a bad joke to think some of those guys with “Israeli MA” training can come here and offer what they learned in their limited training and label it the “best system”.

Most self-defense systems have good and bad things about them. We need to discover what we can learn and study from each system. We should not think or claim one system is better than the other if we do not have any experience in them.

Many civilians I have in my seminars claim they study Judo or karate or other systems, including BJJ. It makes me wonder all the time where they study, because immediately I can see they have no knowledge in the system they claim to be experienced with. I’ve even seen someone who is a certified as a Krav Maga instructor also claim to be a kapap instructor (because he got his certification by email). He even represented a certificate from Imi (one of the founders of Krav Maga)…and it’s funny because Imi was dead already for like 7 years!! Well, the market is funny. People run to do the next “in” or “cool” martial art instead of looking for a good instructor in their area. The thing is, the name of the martial art is not important, but the name of the instructor is.

In 5 years in the United States, no one has gone beyond Level 1 yet with my system. All are Level 1 instructors, and the first Level 2 course will be held in 2008. We don’t sell certifications, and we don’t have in 5 days a Level 1, Level 2, etc., nor if you pay in one payment can you become a KAPAP “grand master” or the “pointed one”. KAPAP is for simple people that want to work hard and develop skills that no one can ever take from them. They don’t need papers to point out their level. They can step onto any mat and you can see their level for yourself.

When I recently opened my school in Rochester (Avi Nardia Academy), I wanted to do the training the right way, with my family knowing all my students’ names. I roll and spar with all my students every day. I love to teach BJJ under Professor John Machado. When we step on the mat, we train hard by the old way – the traditional way – and yes, we are truly a no-nonsense martial arts school. My students are self-motivated and do not need some sort of bully or celebrity to keep them coming back…

I love to teach kids and my son even takes my class. My best friends have also joined my classes. Most of my students know who I am and what I do and don’t look for just the “Cool”. They get good training and work and train hard in a friendly and safe environment.

I find it interesting when people claim a system to be street or battle-tested. I often wonder, which battle? I’m Israeli and don’t know of any battle in recent history that was won by hand-to-hand combat in Israel. I ignore this as marketing fluff. There are more Karate students that used it in real life and in war situations than most of those systems claiming to be “battle tested”. To ride on that level is not what we look for. I think in BJJ the training is more real and battle tested because you fight every day and in every training session …and not only the students but also the teacher. That is the proof of their level based on real experience.

I try to teach the Israeli MA the way I know it and develop it to meet the demands of self defense today. We don’t see what we do as really an “Israeli MA” anymore because I have now been in the USA for more than 6 years. We have modified and changed so many techniques that are at the origin of Israeli martial art based on our experiences with other martial arts.

In Israel they may use the same mistake and try to “sell back the dead donkey”…as my friend Hanshi Patrick McCarthy told me. A businesses man name Gideon comes up to a farm and all the farmers told him to buy a donkey. So he went and bought one and the farmer told him he could pick it up the next day because he needs the donkey to work today…The next day, the farmer told him he was sorry but the donkey was dead. But the businessman still wanted to buy it. A few years later the farmer saw the businessman was very rich and asked him how he did it? “Do you remember the dead donkey? I got it from you for 5 dollars. Well, I put together a raffle for the donkey and each ticket cost one dollar. I sold 1000 tickets.” “Yes, but no one complained that the donkey was dead?”, asked the farmer. The businessman replied, “Yes, only one…the one that won the raffle…so I gave him back his 1 dollar back…” The moral of the story: A businessman can sell anything! And yes, some of those New “reality based” systems are actually dead donkeys that keep coming back under different names and are marketed by business people. They want to sell it to us again and again. Well, I don’t sell or buy a dead donkey.

The sad thing with martial arts sometimes is that the person who is in the fight for his/her life and needs to use his/her martial arts training but does not win, will not have the chance to come back and tell us how he/she was wrong and bought the dead donkey. That’s why I don’t teach dead donkey systems and also why I love to teach Kendo, BJJ, Thai Boxing, Karate, and Judo. All of these are under the concept of my system – Combat Concepts that are based on my life experience with Israeli MA and traditional MA.

Israeli MA is a young martial art. It is now starting to gain respect in the market but won’t do well if there are people with the wrong attitude saying “we are not traditional MA – we are no nonsense MA”. This shows an attitude that is not the way of martial arts. I’ve been criticized by Israeli martial art “grand masters” because I said the truth about them…they try to put rumors into the market that I’m a fraud and not a military major and other lies. It is almost like the Dreyfus Affair

Before anyone can put out a rumor, I suggest they take “The Triple Filter Test” from Socrates per my friend Patrick McCarthy.

THE TRIPLE FILTER TEST . . . SOCRATES the Classical Greek Philosopher
In ancient Greece, scholar and intellectual, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said,
“Do you know what I just heard about one of your friends?”
“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
“Triple filter?” asked the man.
“That’s right,” Socrates continued.
“Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and wanted to tell it to you.”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”
“No, on the contrary, it is bad.”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really.” Replied the man.
“Well,” concluded Socrates, if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, and nor even useful to me, why tell it to me at all?”

This old story can teaches us a lot about modern martial arts. We hear lots of rumors and get bad mouthed by others who cannot pass the triple filter test and do it mostly out of jealousy.

I teach BJJ because the type of BJJ we do in my academy passes the triple filter test as a martial art, as does the KAPAP we teach through my system. It is true, it is good, and it is useful.