When World War II brought British forces once again into global conflict, the need for a reliable supply of oil was deemed paramount. However, the flow was threatened by German troops advancing eastward in North Africa as well as by many local tribes. Reluctant at first, the British turned once again to Jewish fighters and formed the first official Israeli Special Forces unit on May 14, 1941. It was known as Pal’ mach, a Hebrew acronym for Plugot Machatz, which means “strike platoon”.
The training that the Pal’ mach commandos received was called kapap, an acronym for krav Panim l’panim, or “face-to-face combat.” Kapap was not one system, but a mixture of rigorous physical conditioning, firearms and explosives training, radio communications, survival training, and first aid and foreign-language courses. The empty hand combat training was a combination of Western fighting systems such as boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling and standard British military knife and baton training. At the time, there was no single word or term used for the self-defense techniques in the program; kapap was an all-inclusive name. Later on the Kapap was train to the Israeli Defense forces as official system and later on changed names as different and modern name. But Kapap will stay the original Israeli martial art system.
The original numbers of personnel sanctioned for Pal’mach training under British supervision was only suppose to be 1,000 fighters, but the Haganah overstepped their bounds and trained roughly 3,000 men in preparation for a future Jewish army to be used after the war.
The training that the Pal’mach commandos received was called Kapap The word “krav” is also translated commonly as “fight.” Kapap was not one system, but a mixture of rigorous physical conditioning, firearms and explosives training, radio communications, wilderness survival training, combat first aid and foreign language courses (the enemy languages of German and Arabic). The empty hand combat training was a combination of Western fighting systems such as boxing (London Prize Ring Rules), Greco-Roman wrestling, and standard British military knife and baton training. At this time there was no one single vocabulary word or term used for the self-defense techniques in the program, Kapap was an all inclusive term.
The Pal’mach’s three combat brigades went onto assist the British in a variety of victorious campaigns: the invasion of Vichy (the French pro-Nazi government) Lebanon and Syria, espionage missions in Jordan and fighting along side the British SAS (Special Air Service) in the Balkans.
When the war ended, so did the Jewish-British cooperation. The Jews expected the Brits to hold up their end of the bargain for a homeland. When it was apparent that the deal would not go through the Pal’mach used guerilla tactics against the British military and police installations. There were also terrorist attacks carried out by the Jewish ran Stern Gang and Irgun, but they were strongly condemned by the Haganah.
The newly formed United Nations (formed in 1945) knew that it was only a matter of time before an all out war between the Jews and Arabs would break out when the frustrated British vacated, so they tried to intervene by partitioning the region – a Jewish state on the west side of the Jordan River and an Arab state on the east side of the river (today’s Jordan).
When the British lowered the Union Jack and left the region, the Jews declared their Independence on May 14, 1948. Hours later the forces of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Syria and the Palestinians attacked the newborn nation of Israel. The unofficial-turned-legitimate Haganah faced its greatest challenge and was officially renamed the Tzava Haganah Le’Yisrael (transliteration army defense to Israel or known in English as the Israeli Defense Forces or IDF). In the War of Independence the Israelis managed to not only survive, though greatly outnumbered and poorly equipped, but went on to form one of the most respected militaries in the world.
In 1957, the ultra-secret unit named Sayeret Mat’kal (Unit 216) was formed by intelligence officer Avraham Aran who closely modeled it after the British SAS. In the 1970s this unit gained worldwide fame after a series of spectacular counterterrorist operations, the most famous of which was Operation Thunderball July 3-4, 1976 (known in the U.S. as the Raid on Entebbe) where operators flew into the hostile African nation of Uganda and rescued 103 hostages who had been hijacked by German and Palestinian terrorists.
In the IDF the Special Forces units had a monopoly on the martial arts training and Kapap came to be known as Lochama Zehira (micro fighting or micro combat) in the 1970s. The system included a variety of military skills in addition to hand-to-hand combat. However, with Israel being at war with one Arab neighbor or another with unrelenting cross-border terrorist attacks, regular units also needed some sort of hand-to-hand fighting system. What they got was a basic no-nonsense system.
2001 Avi Nardia brings Kapap to the public market. Now Kapap is more a self defense system, but it's been teached not only to the civilian market, but also to the professional market. The main instructors outside Israel are, Avi Nardia, David Arama and William Paardekooper. Within the next few years other Israeli instructors will follow, when they leave the military. Here on Curaçao and in Holland we teach not only self defense for individuals but also to security firms, transport companys (airliners, bus and train companies) and also to different branches from the law enforcement and military. By request we organize seminars or complete courses for these branches.
To name a few:
- SWAT counter terrorism training
- active shooter, first responder
- police rifle, urban tactics
- bus interdiction
- Kapap police defensive tactics
- Anti terror sniper, basic, advanced
- surveillance/counter surveillance
- suicide terrorism tactical response
- force protection, urban operations
- Kapap military combatives
- Israeli Combat Point Shooting
- ICPS 1/ basic defensive handgun
- ICPS 2/ advanced tactical handgun
- PSD High Risk Zone training (HRZ)
- corporate/executive personal security
- tactical operator
- Kapap unarmed self defense