The Kapap system was developed in the late 1930s, within the Jewish Aliyah camps (ma-ha-not Olim) as part of preparatory training before their arrival in Palestine. It became 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 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 jujutsu, and knife and stick fighting.
The Walking Stick Method of Self-Defence (La canne) was already 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 Arab locals who 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. 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 on the streets.
Gershon Kopler: Judo and jujutsu Instructorwho organized and established the self-defense concept as part of the Kapap training in the Palmach and Haganah.
Yehuda Marcus: Palmach’s physical training judo and jujitsu chief Instructor who replaced Gershon Kopler after his death.
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.
Menashe Harel: Contributed to the development of the short stick fighting system and was the only instructor for the use of the sling.
Meir Rabinovitz: Knife fighting.
Itzhak Stibel: Boxing.
The Kapap system was based on principles and not techniques.
Kapap Training included:
- Proper body posture
- Relative positioning
- Striking shapes
- Striking methods
- Stick/baton defense
- Stick/Baton Attack
- 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.Colonel ( Res ) Chaim Peer and Major ( Res ) Avi Nardia decided NOT to use the generic words Krav Maga as hand to hand and to renew the use of the term Kapap/Krav Panim El Panim and established the International Kapap Federation, an NPO organization in Israel. Avi Nardia moved to the USA in 2001 and started the unique development of the Kapap Combatives system.
The KAPAP Federation is based in Israel, with Avi Nardia KAPAP Combatives serving as its sole representative in the United States and outside of Israel.