Krav Panim El PanimKAPAP is the Hebrew acronym for Face To Face Combat. It is the original combat system of defensive tactics, hand-to-hand combat and self-defense, employed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli National Police, and their special operations and anti-terrorist units.

fight tactics originated in the 1940’s and were used by the Palmach (Jewish Strike Brigades) forces in fighting for the independence of the State of Israel. These Palmach units later formed the core of Israel’s special units in the conventional military (IDF).

The modern day KAPAP combat system is headed by Lt. Col Chaim Pe’er who served in one of Israel’s most elite units, called Matkal, and later on, trained other special units in guerilla warfare and hand to hand combat tactics.

Kapap (Hebrew: קפא”פ, קפ”פ‎), short for Krav Panim el Panim, translated as “face to face combat”, is the original Israeli combat system of defensive tactics, hand to hand combat and self defense employed by the Jewish Underground Movements and the Israel Defense Forces.

History: The Kapap system was developed in the 1930’s, within the Jewish Aliyah camps (ma-ha-not Olim) as a part of preparatory training before their arrival to Palestine. It became as a concept of fighting rather than a fighting system, due to the fighting skills contribution it gave the practitioner. The Palmach adopted the Kapap as an ongoing combat development program for their recruits.

It was primarily considered as a practical skill set that was acquired during the training period of the Palmach fighter.

The main focus was to upgrade the Physical endurance, elevate and strengthen the spirit, developing a defensive and offensive skill set when needed.

It included physical training and endurance, cold weapon practical usage, Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu fight styles knife and sticks.

Modern day/Renewed system: Kapap as a term was officially abandoned by the Military due to ongoing change in its infrastructure and common terminology to fit the modern day.

Since the ’40s and up until the year 2000 the term Kapap was limited in use and usually described the historical term from the early days of the Jewish Underground movements Palmach and Haganah.

At the end of year 2000 a group of people headed by Lt. Col (Res.) Chaim Peer and Major (Res.) Avi Nardia decided to renew the use of the term Kapap/Krav Panim El Panim and established the International Kapap Federation, an NPO organization in Israel. That spring of 2001 sergeant Jim Wagner from USA Orange county Sheriff’s Department visited Israel and Joined Avi Narida that served as the Israeli Police Defensive Tactics Instructor, as well as a reserve Military Krav Maga Instructor.

As a result of that visit Jim Wagner invited Avi Nardia to teach Kapap In the United states to American police and Military units. Major Nardia had done several training trips to the USA and it then that the Kapap term became known outside Israel when Jim Wagner along with Avi Nardia introduced for the first time an Article that was published by Black Belt Magazine.

Avi Nardia moved to the USA in 2003 and started the unique development of the Kapap system with other tactical experts and instructors. Kapap became sought after by law enforcement and federal agencies as well as concerned citizens that found a reality-based self defense adaptable and relatively easy to learn.

In 2005 The Kapap Academy was established in the USA by two instructors of the system, Albert Timen and Avi Nardia, with the sole purpose of promoting the Kapap system outside Israel and to certify other instructors in this unique style.

Lotar: Lotar, an acronym for Lohama Neged Teror (lit. combat against terrorism), is an Israeli set of armed and unarmed self defense techniques. It integrates many modern combat techniques into the baseline techniques of both krav maga and kapap systems.

Main contributors: Gershon Kopler: Judo and Jiu-jitsu Instructor that organized and established the Self-defense concept as a part of the Kapap training in the Palmach and Haganah. He later died in a special mission towards the town of Tripoli in Lebanon, known as the “Kaf Gimel” a symbol of the 23 men that died in that mission.

  • Yehuda Marcus: Palmach’s physical training Judo and Jiu-jitsu chief Instructor, who replaced Gershon Kopler, he later died in a training accident.
  • Moshe Finkel: Palmach’s fitness training officer, integrated the different typologies of the art into the training regime.
  • Maishel Horovitz: Palmach’s official Kapap Instructor, was in charge of the development of the short stick fight tactics at the Palmach and made it famous to the term Kapap.
  • Yitzhak Sade: Palmach’s commander that adopted the Kapap training doctrines and later transformed them into the Haganah movment and other Special units.

The Walking Stick Method of Self-Defense (La canne) was already a part of the Kapap syllabus, it was adopted from the British forces in India and was still taught as an answer to the threat of the locals that were equipped with the “Nabut” (1 meter long stick).

The most emphasized part of training was the use of sticks (short and long). The short stick method became most popular by use, due to the adaptation of the young generation of recruits. It became a substitute to firearms that were considered limited for use. Among the sticks used in the Kapap fighting the short stick was most commonly used and therefore practiced. It was favored due to its concealability in the sleeve until the actual fight began (Mêlée) on the streets.

Training: The Kapap system was based on principles and not techniques and was relatively easy and adaptable to the large groups that were trained.

Kapap Training included:

  • Proper body posture
  • Relative positioning
  • Striking shapes
  • Striking methods
  • Stick/baton defense
  • Stick/Baton Attack

The simplicity of the kapap concepts and fast adaptation made the kapap training system a successful tool of training thousands of fighters in the Palmach and Hagana, the Underground movements that operated as the Militia forces for the policial leadership in the Jewish settlement under the British Mandate.

The KAPAP Federation is based in Israel, with The KAPAP Academy serving as its sole representative in the United States. KAPAP Academywas formed by two former official Israeli Military and Police instructors in Counter Terror combatives (LOTAR).

Avi Nardia (Major, IDF Res.) Served in a Police special unit as an intelligence team member and defensive tactics/CQB instructor. In 24 years of reserve service to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), he earned the rank of Major. As well, he has trained Police agencies and armed forces all over the world; from Police patrol and corrections officers to SWAT, SRT and SERT team members along with Army, Marine and counter terror units to Special Forces.

In Israel, he taught defensive tactics and operational behavior at the Operational Police Academy, which is charged with training the entire police force of the country. He is the only instructor to be an official instructor for the Israeli army – Israeli police and Israeli counter terror units.

Albert Timen is a former Elite Counter Intelligence undercover unit member for the IDF as well as a LOTAR and CQB instructor for various Police S.W.A.T. schools. Albert is one of only a few security operatives in the world to arrest a “live” Suicide Bomber! The bomber still had his explosive belt strapped on and was caught in the act of committing a bombing.In his 18 years of operational experience, Albert has trained Special Units in tactics and cross trained with the best operational units in the world.

Today’s KAPAP Academy serves as a “think tank”, a repository of knowledge and EXPERIENCE with respect to the next level in Reality self defense. Today’s KAPAP is based on understanding and utilizing realistic scenarios that have emerged from real world experience in some of our worst and most threatening environments. Notably, KAPAP minimizes the need for either strength or power on the part of the KAPAP practitioner in taking action to protect themselves or their loved ones.

KAPAP Academy courses are designed for security companies, security departments, law enforcement agencies, military or civilians interested in upgrading their knowledge and capabilities in this field.

Our training system includes a well established curriculum and it is mainly based on live exercises and simulations. We believe that only a wise combination of strategy and tactical learning, with extensive and realistic training, can offer professional and practical solutions in modern high stress situations.