In the Israeli martial arts, kapap defines “impact” as a force or shock that strikes a target. While this may seem like a simple statement for a powerful force, it remains an apt definition because it is all-inclusive. Rather than define impact as a kick or punch, Israeli martial arts practitioners using kapap techniques define impact as any force that can be applied by anything. This not only includes kicks and strikes but also defensive impacts, like blocks, or offensive impacts made by weapons, such as guns, sticks and knives.
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Because the definition is so broad, practitioners of kapap techniques in the Israeli martial arts are able to borrow moves from a variety of systems to create their own well-rounded impact defense. In the case of the first Jewish settlers of Palestine, they chose to use sticks as impact weapons because they had very few self-defense options, whereas the modern combatant using kapap techniques has many combat systems and martial arts from which to choose.
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Avi Nardia Demonstrates the Use of Human Pressure Points to Take Down an Opponent
The Full Scope of Impact in Israeli Martial Arts
It’s also important to remember that impact in kapap techniques covers much more than just hitting your opponent. Instead, it requires knowledge, understanding and common sense. As a person aware of your relative position in life, do you know what impacts your body has been conditioned to withstand? Or do you know how strong of an impact you’re capable of launching?
In the end, impact in kapap techniques is never about brute strength. Use your best weapon — your brain — to make the right choice during a close-quarters conflict to escape and live to fight another day.
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Using Human Pressure Points in Kapap Techniques
When some people think about the concept of impact, they imagine a punch sending someone through a wall. However, an impact can be something as simple as a pressure-point attack, which is a powerful force applied to human pressure points — small points on the body.
Pressure-point techniques are also useful surprise moves because human pressure points are located in areas of the body that most people consider to be part of their “personal space.” This means that your opponent might not expect his personal space to be penetrated with a pressure-point technique, even during a real conflict.
While human pressure points might seem easy to learn, their effectiveness depends on the ability, skill, mental awareness and physical fitness of both the defender and attacker. For example, an opponent high on drugs might not know that he is being hit in a sensitive spot. If that happens, then it’s best to consider your relative position and use a restraining technique instead of trying to exploit his human pressure points.
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The Mask: Using Human Pressure Points to Take Down an Opponent With Just One Finger
Though it may seem improbable, you can take down an opponent just with one finger. The masking technique uses one of the human pressure points found under the nose to immobilize an attacker.
In the above video, I apply pressure with my forefinger to a point just above the demonstration opponent’s lip. This prevents the man from walking forward — but if he does, further pressure will force his head backward.
The “mask” technique helps me control the situation. With my opponent off-balance and uncertain because of the exertion against one of his human pressure points, my hand masks the opponent’s face. I can further control the situation by pressing into the man’s eyes before taking him to the ground.
When using kapap techniques such as this, avoid masking an adversary between the lips because he might bite you. From the mask, I can use other kapap techniques such as a rear chokehold, bringing his right arm under the opponent’s chin and placing his right hand alongside his own head. I then apply pressure by squeezing.
Learning Israeli Martial Arts Is a Lifelong Pursuit
There is always more to learn, and the information in the video on this page — and in the book and DVD series titled Kapap Combat Concepts: Martial Arts of the Israeli Special Forces — is just a starting point. One source will never give you a complete understanding of combat. Whether you’re a student or an instructor, it’s always important to find qualified teachers, educational outlets and other resources to add to your base of knowledge.
About the authors:
Israeli martial arts experts Avi Nardia and Albert Timen have taught defensive tactics and close-quarters battle to a variety of institutions worldwide, including the Israeli army, Israeli special forces, Israeli police and SWAT schools. Avi Nardia and Albert Timen are the co-authors of the Israeli martial arts book and DVD set Kapap Combat Concepts: Martial Arts of the Israeli Special Forces, available for purchase in our online store. For more information, visit avinardia.com and kapapacademy.com.