By Avi Nardia and Sam Markey ~ to understand Israeli martial arts as a self defence system, you need to understand the history of Israel and why the art was developed in the first place, and to see why it must continue to evolve. You need to understand the goal of the art.
Remember, Israeli martial arts were a concept before it was a “martial art”.
Israeli martial arts have a history that started in the late 1940s. During this time the Jewish people were under attack and they were forced to fight, not so much for their culture or life style, but simply to survive. For this reason Israeli martial arts do not use a belt system and we do not bow to one another, not because we don’t respect our enemy, but because we do. This art was developed for “real life” survival, not for sport.
There are many famous people and others who aren’t so famous who contributed to the history of the Israeli martial arts. One of the most famous is Solomon Aruch whose life story was told in the movie “Triumph of the Spirit”. Solomon Aruch had to fight on a daily basis in Nazi concentration camps to be allowed to survive. The Nazis would arrange boxing matches and he would be forced to win or die. Their was Hana Senseh, a young Hungarian, a new immigrant, living in kibbutz ‘Sdoth Yam’ who was recruited to serve as a paratrooper in the British Army. She fought against the Nazis, helping Jewish people in Hungary during world war two. This young brave girl lost her life in this mission. In addition, their was Oli Giveon, the commander of the Revengers Unit that fought the Nazis and was later responsible for hunting down Nazi war criminals. There are legendery fighters alive today such as Meir Har-Tzion, who helped found Paratroop Unit 101, the first Israeli anti-terrorist unit. Of Meir Har-Tzion, Moshe Dayan said: “He was the bravest Jewish warrior since Bar Kochba. These and many others are the people behind Israeli martial arts and CQB training.
The road to the development of Israeli martial arts and CQB has been a long bloody road, filled with the deaths of many of those who helped to develop it. Only someone who has no comprehension of the true cost of its development, in terms of human life, would think about owning it or using it for financial gain. It is alive, used for everyday survival, not meant to become stagnant, stuck in the past. This is why we fight so hard to see that no one person “owns” Israeli martial arts and CQB and why it cannot be trademarked in Israel and why it should not be trademarked anywhere else in the world. Israeli martial arts and CQB has no one owner or creator, it belongs to all who fought and lived and those who fought and died and to those who continue to work to develop Israeli martial arts so that those who use it will survive to fight another day.
This is the history of the real Israeli martial arts and CQB, the spirit of fearlessness and determination, the back bone from which the Israeli martial arts and CQB training derived. So, if you want to learn Israeli martial arts, you must learn it with the same spirit and heart of those who developed it and continue to refine it.
Unfortunately, Israel is the most experienced nation in the world when it comes to terrorism and that is why it has developed one of the most valued CQB training systems in the world – the Israeli martial art of KAPAP/CQB, whose history has been written in special ink, called blood. The knowledge gained in developing the martial art of KAPAP/CQB came from not only the experience of successful operations against terrorist attacks, but many times it came by making tragic mistakes. It was after these mistakes occurred that better techniques were developed to avoid making the same tragic mistakes again. For this reason, the Israeli martial art of KAPAP/CQB is about evaluation and evolution. Even today, the weapons of warfare and self-defence have evolved from earlier techniques and strategies. For example, a few hundred years ago the bow and arrow was a combat tool, while today we have guns – the bow and arrow of modern times and of modern martial arts. Just as the arrow was once the edged weapon projected towards a target, it is now the bullet that is the edged weapon. Instead of the bow as the force behind the delivering of the arrow, gunpowder now takes on the same role to deliver the bullet. That is why today, in the evolution of Israeli martial arts such as Kapap, we see guns being used as an integral part of the training, especially when it comes to gun disarming and gun retention, should be taught as one unit together. Not only is it important to know how to disarm a gun, but you must also know how to retain it, and if necessary, use it. We see guns and firearms as martial arts!