July 17, 2024

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Krav Panim El Panim – The Israeli Elite Combat of Kapap

Krav Panim El Panim – The Israeli Elite Combat of Kapap

To understand Israeli martial arts 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.

No one can sit in Los Angeles or anywhere else and teach Israeli martial arts and claim to be the official system of the Israeli army if they have never served a day in the Israeli army.

Remember, Israeli martial arts was a concept before it was a “martial art”.

Israeli martial arts has 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.

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. Don’t learn Israeli martial arts and QCB because you’ve seen what you think is Israeli martial arts done by some actor in the movies or on T.V., and please don’t fall for the marketing scams of those who know nothing about the spirit of the real Israeli martial arts.

If you are truly interested in Israeli martial arts, read on and learn more about it.

The Development of Israeli KAPAP/CQB

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, whos history has been written in special ink, our 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.Gun retention which 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!

Israeli CQB training, as well as KAPAP, owes its development to many different individuals. Though most of their names are missing from any list you will find, they have all contributed to the art and that is why no one individual can claim sole ownership of having developed it. As with any martial art, it is important to understand the origin of Israeli martial arts and to recognize the culture from which it began. For Israeli’s, the roots of Israeli CQB came from anti-Semitism and the Nazi’s desire to kill the Jews. It is the same feeling that some radical Muslim groups have today against Jews. It is this climate of hatred that has given Israeli’s their fighting spirit, fighting back in order to survive. This is what Israeli martial arts is all about – to do whatever it takes to survive the fight. For Israeli’s, the reality is that when you’re in a fight for your life it’s not important how good you look delivering a spinning kick if there is a chance the technique will kill you. And why will it kill you? Simply because the spinning back kick is useless and the person you were fighting against used ugly, but practical, techniques to live another day.

Israeli KAPAP and Traditional Martial Arts

KAPAP was the first CQB training introduced in Israel and was based on stick fighting, knives, guns, and hand-to-hand and even stone throwing in the old days. The idea is to fight with what you have available in your hand. For instance, when people argue about what gun is the best gun to have or what knife is the best knife to have the answer is obvious – the best gun or knife, or any weapon for that matter, is the one you have in your hand when you need it. This is also the main idea behind Israeli KAPAP/CQB. It was not developed to create a new Ryu and lots of “new”10th Dan grandmasters so that Israel could have a place in the international arena of martial arts. That is why there are no uniforms or belts or ranks or even bowing to an opponent when sparring or training. All are considered useless because they serve no purpose in an encounter involving a real, life-threatening situation. An example of what occurs during a real encounter occurred last year with a martial artist who was shot to death during a fight in parking lot. Although he was a kickboxing champion he lost his life to his assailant who shot him after he tried to grab the assailant’s gun. Certainly, if it were a fight in the ring the martial artist probably would have won the fight. However, the fight was for his life and not for prize money. This is not to say that every encounter will end successfully, but how you respond to a situation will depend on whether or not you have the ability to effectively defend yourself or the mentality to accept the fact that it is okay to run away from a situation in order to stay alive.

As mentioned earlier, Israeli KAPAP is based on evaluation and evolution, which must be done for every technique in order to examine it, to see if it accomplishes what it is designed to accomplish. In KAPAP, techniques are also evaluated to determine whether any soldier or police officer can do it and, for civilians, whether they can be done by the weakest man or woman. The techniques must also be easy to teach. If the individual or group has a very limited time to train, easier and simpler techniques can be implemented to accommodate these training needs. However, if there is time to train, better and more specific techniques are also taught. Another important consideration for teaching KAPAP is liability. When teaching military personnel, you teach soldiers to stay in the killing zone and continue the assault on the enemy. For a civilian, just the opposite applies. If after disarming a knife an individual decides to stay in the fight and attempts to kill the attacker there is a good chance that individual will be spending time in jail. Also, when teaching police officers, there are other things to consider since just about every law enforcement agency has a defensive tactics program that must not only be politically correct, but must also meet any legal and medical requirements before being implemented. So, although KAPAP is specific in its application it is still flexible enough to be used in any arena to meet liability concerns.

Today, CQB is a modern martial art while traditional martial arts are considered older styles. It is when these two are combined, the old with the new, that they can then be effective. In essence, modern martial arts can’t live without the traditional martial arts nor can the traditional martial arts live without the modern martial arts. The bottom line is, when some one is going to kick you your life is not at risk, only your ego. However, when someone pulls a knife or points a gun at you, you need to know how, when and if you should act. If someone says, “Give me your money” the best defence is to give him your money. If the encounter becomes more life threatening then you must also defend yourself. The question is – do you have the tools to know what to do and how to do it? The Israeli martial art of KAPAP is the self-defence system that can provide you with these tools when your life, not your ego, is on the line.

Introduction to Close Quarters Battle (CQB)

CQB can be described as combat taking place within buildings, cars, hallways, stairwells, rooms, enclosures, and other constricted spaces. Although CQB training first started with military and law enforcement personnel, it is now being taught to security unit personnel and civilians. CQB is important to security forces because the techniques associated with CQB serve as the foundation for recapture tactics. As a result, security units and their personnel must have the ability to respond to a “worst case scenario” by recapturing the asset that it is protecting.

CQB can involve – individually or collectively, hand-to-hand combat, weapons, and more. As a result, we need to be proficient with every move. For instance, with hand-to-hand combat we cannot assume that the enemy will freeze up when we engage him. We need to think that he will counter our moves so we need to consider this and be ready for it in the fight – whether it is with a firearm or with a knife. That is why in Kapap we include these elements as a part of the hand-to-hand combat program.

Violent Confrontation

This term is used to describe a meeting of two or more combatants (even if one or more is passive) where there is the potential for or actual use of extreme destructive force. This type of confrontation usually occurs at close range in a short amount of time.

The SOP 9 Study

This study was conducted in New York and examined every shot fired in the line of duty by law enforcement officials during the course of one year. Out of a total of 2,047 shots fired that year only 217 actually hit their intended targets and only 10 percent of these shots hit vital organs. During interviews with the officers involved in these shootings the majority of them commented that they never even acquired their front sights when they engaged their target. Additionally, these officers also experienced some or all of the following:The confrontations took place at the range of ten feet or less with duration of less than four seconds. During this time, fewer than five rounds were fired.

* The typical response was from the holster.

* A sudden feeling of shock and surprise overwhelmed the officers.

The end result of this study showed that the police officers were NOT trained properly enough to handle these of life and death situations. Now, can you imagine what it would be like for a civilian who has even less training than these officers? That is why, for civilians, realistic training is needed and should be conducted by experienced firearms instructors.


Psychological Aspects: Under severe stress, the normal mental processes become extremely difficult and the mind resorts to its most basic processes.

The following are examples of psychological effects you may experience during a combat situation or any other high stress situation:

1. Tunnel vision: Under extreme stress your attention will primarily be focused on the greatest threat and, as a result, you will have a temporary loss of peripheral vision.

2. Auditory Exclusion: As with tunnel vision, you will focus on the greatest threat and will have the inability to hear for a period of time. For instance, you will probably not hear anyone shouting at you.

3. Electro Dermal Stimulation: A reaction of the skin that makes the hair stand up on the arms and the back of neck.

4. Time/Space Compression: There will be a slow down in the perceived passage of time and a shift in perceived spatial relationship in times of high stress. This is caused by the inability to judge speed and distance and accurately balance the two. Also, you may experience a slowing down of time. In other words, everybody will seem to move in slow motion.

5. Mental Track: In most high stress situations, to include life and death situations, a person’s ability to keep track of the details of the situation taking place around him becomes nearly impossible. In most police shootings, a police officer being debriefed after an engagement does not usually remember how many rounds that he fired. This can happen even in training. Therefore, as a shooter, you must learn to beware of the number of rounds you fired so the weapon does not run completely dry in the middle of a firefight. This concept of awareness not only applies to a shooting situation, but also applies to hand-to-hand combat and edged weapons.

Physiological Aspects:

Regardless of how much training an individual has certain studies, along with the SOP 9 study; show that during a combat situation, one or more physical changes take place in an individual’s body. That is why proper training is necessary to help minimize certain aspects.

The following are examples of physiological effects you may experience during a combat situation or any other high stress situation:

1. Pulse and Breathing: In any excitable situation, pulse and breathing will always be affected. Your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes rapid and shallow.

2. Adrenaline: This is nothing more than a hormone that stimulates involuntary nerve action. The amount of stress you are placed under will depend on the amount of adrenaline released into the system. When adrenaline is released into the body, it stimulates the muscles. This causes them to tighten. Depending on the individual and the situation, this is more than adequate to affect an individual’s shooting position or fighting position.

3. Coordination and Reflexes: Under any type of stress hand and eye coordination degrade severely, especially the coordination of the hand and fingers.

The Chemical Cocktail

The reactions just discussed are the result of the body’s survival response to a potentially lethal situation. When suddenly placed in a life-threatening situation, the body will dump the below listed chemicals into the bloodstream and mix with sodium. This “chemical cocktail” creates an imbalance characterized by general muscle tightening and loss of fine motor skills. This chemical cocktail includes:

1. Epinephrine: An adrenal hormone that stimulates automatic nerve action (fight).

2. Nor – Epinephrine: A hormone that is formed naturally in the body’s nerve endings during times of fear (flight).

3. Cortazol: A crystalline hormone released to the body’s nerve endings during times of fear (fight).

The body’s reaction: The body’s response to this imbalance by releasing potassium to counteract the effects of the sodium. However, this process takes time and slows our ability to react. As a result, we must always seek to minimize the impact that this chemical cocktail has on us in order to improve our reaction times. We can do this by training to maintain the proper “mindset”.

Mindset is a term used to describe an individual’s state of mental readiness to act or react to a stimulus in our environment that ensures survival. This proper combat mindset is neither learned nor can it be taught, it must be developed from within. The tools you need for proper combat mindset can only be exposed in a schoolhouse environment to help you to develop yourself.

The Breakdown of the Mind:

Conscious Mind: The conscious mind is the thinking part of the mind. It takes seconds to make decisions when using this part of the brain. In any type of combat situation the conscious mind’s decision making process is too slow to keep you alive. The conscious mind is a hindrance causing you to have to react to every situation instead of acting.

Sub-Conscious Mind: Reacts to situations. This part of the mind works in quarter seconds, which is much faster than the conscious mind. It has to be trained in order for it to work properly.

When training, the skills being learned need not only to be simple, but sound and effective. The sub-conscious mind is only developed through proper repetition (muscle memory) in training.

You must strive for perfection each and every repetition.

If you train poorly, or if the training is too complicated or too detailed, when the sub-conscious mind takes over it will not be able to respond properly to the situation. What occurs is the conscious mind identifies the situation, realizes it cannot handle it, and then turns it over to the sub-conscious mind to react. That is why we say that in any type of combat situation a person must rely on his training in order to survive.

The Optimum Combat Mindset:

Optimum combat mindset is the state of mind where you have prepared yourself mentally (both consciously and sub consciously), physically, emotionally, tactically, and technically to endure the rigors of combat for prolonged periods of time and under extremely adverse conditions, and still remain effective.

Developing a Combat Mindset:

Like the body the mind needs to be conditioned to respond or function properly in combat. When faced with a combat situation you want your mind to be free of distractions so that all of your focus is on the mission at hand – such as getting out of a situation and if it’s at the killing zone, killing the enemy and surviving the encounter). You need to be mentally prepared for death and injury and you need to go into the fight prepared for the worst. For instance, if you find yourself in a knife fight you should expect to get cut or if you go into a shooting you should expect to get shot.