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CQB: Lessons from the Old School

©2014 Ken Akiyama with Avi Nardia

While the original combative focus of many traditional martial arts has been minimized, these arts still hold important lessons that reach far beyond the purely physical dimensions of combat.  To survive in the fight of your life, you need much more than muscles and a tattoo.  Furthermore, shiny muscles are basically useless to a teacher who is focused on developing his students.  That’s why new learners need to look beyond the shine and shimmer, to find genuine teachers.

Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, 9 dan
Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, 9 dan

One of the most unique characteristics of Avi Nardia’s school of KAPAP is that he developed the system based on extensive experience in the training methods and techniques of old school martial arts.  Of course, there are plenty of clubs that haphazardly take ideas from books and the internet and mix them together.  However, Avi’s Modern KAPAP is exceptional because it is based on his unique intelligence, charisma and an old school education in the combative arts including: 4th dan in Kodokan Judo, 6th dan in Kendo under Master Kubo Akira, 7th dan in Japanese Jujutsu under Hanshi Patrick McCarthy (also my teacher), and black belt in RCJ Machado BJJ.  Factor into this equation, his experience with the Israeli special forces recruit training program and service as official CQB trainer in Israel’s top counter-terrorism unit.  The result is the world’s fastest and most intuitive system of self-defense: Avi Nardia’s Modern KAPAP.

Avi_BJJ_LogoWhen we look at Avi’s system of KAPAP, we see a compelling presentation of martial arts as translated through the lens of the world’s top CQB instructor.  For all the strengths of TMA (traditional martial arts), there are aspects of TMA training that are either impractical or unfeasible for the average civilian, police officer, or soldier.  As such, Modern KAPAP is partially defined by Avi’s genius system for identifying what not to teach as part of KAPAP.

Einstein is often credited for having said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”  Whether Einstein actually said that or not, these wise words aptly explain why so many systems of self-defense will fail under pressure; they are either too simple, or too complicated.  Most of our students do not have the time or desire for years of study into esoteric martial arts; they need to develop a good level of ability in a concise manner.  Therefore, the biggest secret of Avi Nardia’s school of KAPAP has nothing to do with the techniques.  The secret is the mental training and that is why Avi filmed this DVD, to show how old school concepts are used for training modern self-defense and CQB.

The samurai knew that mental posture and an indomitable spirit were paramount to success on the battlefield.  In the old days, a samurai had to study many arts including horsemanship, swimming, and even writing, music, and culture in order to cultivate an open mind, emotional balance, and of course, tactical proficiency.  Thus, the samurai were trained as warriors of mind, body, and spirit; ready to fight in any situation.

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Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi is regarded by many as the greatest swordsman of all time.  In his Book of Five Rings (1645), he wrote, “Make your fighting stance your everyday stance.”  In budo, fighting posture is known as kamae, and it is a central theme.  In fact, the study of old school martial arts is so emphatically centered on kamae that casual onlookers typically misjudge what they are looking at when they witness traditional training.  What they do not understand is that the study of physical posture is actually a means for developing posture of the mind and spirit.  One of our goals at Avi Nardia Academy is to ensure that these teachings are not lost like the ancient archery techniques of the Saracen warriors.

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15th Century Archer – Prince Maximillian


The study of history is an abundant source for inspiration and lessons in humility.  Let’s remember that warfare, CQB and self-defense are not new subjects and over the millennia, mankind has probably forgotten as much as we actually know about these complex subjects.  Take for example, the Danish archer who defied modern experts by resurrecting old archery techniques.  He studied ancient books and resurrected lost techniques from the Saracen warriors for firing arrows with astonishing speed and accuracy.  By studying the old school, he set “new” world records that were long believed to be impossible and therefore deemed as mythological.

In this new DVD, filmed in Shoshin dojo, Avi shows the connection between old school budo and modern CQB in several ways.  One demonstration includes the compelling parallels between live sword iaido (sword drawing) and proper handling of a handgun.  Firearms may be the latest advent of individual weaponry but they do not escape the timeless wisdom and logic of the old school.

Another integral facet of self-defense training is intelligent body conditioning.  On this DVD, Sensei Chris Shabazz demonstrates powerful body conditioning methods with explanations of the benefits and precautions of the exercises while Avi provides an important perspective on being intelligent when choosing training practices.

Many military combative systems tout themselves as being the most “lethal and destructive”  Unfortunately, many of those claims might be true, but not in a way that you expect.  Combative and MMA programs are typically designed for men between ages 18-22 who are in top physical condition and have already been prescreened and selected based on outstanding fitness and high-risk personality types.  Despite their fitness and enthusiasm, many recruits and students of such programs will sustain injuries that will last them a lifetime.  Such injuries may be deemed acceptable in some military programs and sports, but in Avi Nardia Academy, we teach “Safety first, safety last.”  In our school of teaching, high risk training is not necessary in order to develop combat effectiveness for a professional soldier, police officer, or for an office manager who is learning self defense in her free time.