For many years, I thought about how I could improve “the game” that Carlos Newton displayed (See Israeli Self-Defense: The Genesis of Kapap Techniques and Their Application Against Attackers -- Part 1!) to make it more applicable to self-defense. A Turning Point for Kapap Techniques After moving to the United States, I worked with some of the best defensive-tactics instructors. On one occasion, I was explaining to an International Kapap Federation instructor named Bob Jobe — a U.S. marshal who also served as a defensive-tactics trainer — what I saw Carlos Newton do — and he suggested that we call it “relative position.” The concept holds that your position relative to your opponent’s can put you at an advantage or a disadvantage. If you’re in front of him, you’re more likely to get punched or kicked. If you’re behind him, you’re less likely to get struck simply because human arms and legs work more effectively forward than backward. How Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Influenced Modern Kapap Techniques That was helpful, but it didn’t complete the picture for me. At the time, I lived in Los Angeles and was training under John Machado. One day during our jiu-jitsu class, my understanding of relative position became a lot clearer. After any move or technique, John Machado demonstrated how he could transition to any position he wanted and take control as if he was playing a game of chess. Like any good kapap student, I decided not to reveal who I was or why I was there so I could simply be the student and absorb new knowledge.


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Shortly thereafter, I spoke with Lt. Col. (Res.) Chaim Peer, founder of the International Kapap Federation, his assistant David Arama and the whole kapap team about what I had learned at Machado’s academy. They agreed that his perspective would boost their understanding of relative position, so they invited Machado to teach at the International Kapap Federation’s main club at Tel Aviv University in Israel. And so the quest continued.
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The Full Scope of "Relative Position" in Kapap Techniques As it’s now used in kapap techniques, relative position refers to much more than what the term implies. It includes the following variables:
  • control of distance
  • control of multiple attackers
  • control of weapons
  • levels of force
  • control of your body and your opponent’s
  • effects of stress
  • situational awareness
  • environmental awareness (lighting, temperature, etc.)
  • effects on the respiratory system
  • sensory stress effects
  • mental endurance
All this has led kapap instructors to adopt an eclectic program composed of exercises and drills designed to strengthen the student’s reflexive ability to defend against a random attack, as well as to bolster his physical and mental combat conditioning. This program for training in kapap techniques incorporates drills that can be performed alone or with a partner and utilizes principles sometimes seen in kata training.
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Proper Training for Effective Self-Defense Moves It’s crucial to understand that when it comes to reality-based fighting, drills can show you the way, but they must not be regarded as techniques or self-defense moves to be used on the street. Drills teach mobility, distance control, body flow and transitioning. For example, a drill might transition from standing to ground fighting to weapons use on the ground to weapons use while standing. If you’re in superior physical shape and you’re causing your opponent to tap out consistently, all you’re doing is developing your ego. However, if you train in such a way that you focus on your control and the game, blocking him but always leaving him an “open door” through which he can escape — and to which you must guide him if he’s unable to find it himself — the training will be more effective. When he goes in the right direction, you should open his escape route, then follow up by creating another trap and repeating the cycle. Intelligent drills that use this model will minimize injuries and facilitate learning. It’s much more productive than attending an intensive five-hour course that’s supposed to prepare you for the ring or the street. About the Author: Avi Nardia has taught defensive tactics and close-quarters battle to the Israeli army, Israeli special forces, Israeli police and students of counterterrorism around the world. In the United States, he specializes in training members of counterterrorism, military and law-enforcement units, as well as civilians. Avi Nardia is the co-author of the book and DVD set Kapap Combat Concepts, available for purchase in our online store. For more information, visit his website at avinardia.com.
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Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
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Looking to buy some weights to gain some strength?

Looking at Dumbbell, Kettlebells or Weighted bar? How about an all in one that won't just save you some good amount of money but also space? Look no further, we bring you the GRIPBELL!

Let's face it, when we do want to work on some strength building, we don't want to go around shopping for 20 different weight equipment things. That would just not want us to even do any sort of strength training. But what if we only needed a few, a few that can do the things we want without having 20 things lay around? That's where the GRIPBELL comes in. Let me clarify with you first, these are not some heavy duty, muscle exploding weights, they are for building the level of strength we as martial artists want without going crazy and insane in bulk sizing!

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Many different types of "blocks" are taught in most martial arts school. We are taught high blocks, low blocks, middle blocks, knife hand blocks, etc. Some schools will also teach how to use the legs to block an attack, as well.

The purpose of this writing is to possibly open some minds to the possibilities of going outside the box and considering alternatives to the basics.

Blocking is taught as a way of protecting oneself from harm. Truly, we don't "block" anything, as a non-martial artist would think of it. What we call "blocking" is more of a redirection of an opponent's attack, or even a counterstrike against the opponent's attacking limb.

To block something would mean to put something, like your arm, leg or other body part directly in front of the attack. That would certainly hurt and possibly cause some damage. The goal should be to move the attack out of the way in order to prevent injury and provide a way to fight back. For example, many schools teach blocks as a limb moving toward the strike such as a circular high block.

The movement required for a block might have other uses, if you keep an open mind. The blocking techniques can also be used as attack techniques. For example, your "low block" may be used as a striking technique against the outer thigh of the attacker. Your high block might be used as a strike to the jaw. The set up for a block can be used as a deflection, as well as the actual block.

Doing a block or a series of blocks will most likely not end an attack. A block needs to be followed by a counterattack. While the block is usually taught as a separate technique in order to learn it correctly, it should also be used in combination with a counter.

The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. Intensive books can and have be written about basic techniques. With this writing, I am hoping to create interest in exploring the additional possibilities for what we have been taught and what we teach others.

About Grand Master Stevens

GM Stevens has been training in taekwondo for 47 years under the tutelage of the late legendary Grand Master Richard Chun. He holds an 8th degree black belt and is certified in the USA and in Korea. Grand Master Stevens is a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Richard Chun TaeKwonDo World Headquarters organization. He has been very active in his community and has been a volunteer with the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps for over 11 years. He is a certified member of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).

Gary Stevens Taekwondo is located at 175 Rock Road in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

For more information: call (201) 670-7263, email: StevensTKD@aol.com or go to www.StevensTaeKwonDo.com

Having partners at or above your skill level is important for improving in your martial arts training. At some point, however, you will probably find yourself with a shortage of skilled partners, especially if you are an instructor.

This can happen for any number of reasons: students can move away, change their work schedules, start a family, etc., and just like that, you find that you're the highest-ranked student, or sole instructor, in your gym or dojo. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you take advantage of it, even working exclusively with lower-ranking classmates or students can improve your skills.

I used to host a twice-a-week training session at my dojo where I invited mostly black belts from other schools (as well as a few of my advanced students) to come and run drills. It was a blast. These were tough two- to three-hour sessions where I got to work with fighters of all different sizes, speeds, and technique preferences. My sparring improved dramatically over the next few months, and I don't think I've ever been in better shape. But unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. And as the old saying goes, "You gotta work with what ya got." So, make it hard on yourself.

I like to set handicaps when fighting my students. Specifically, I focus on forcing myself to work on improving my weak areas. Is you right leg weaker than the left? Then only kick with the right leg when sparring your students. Not much of an inside fighter? Don't kick at all. Training with partners of lesser skill not only helps you improve your weak points but gives them an opportunity to improve as well by working on strategy. It's also great for building their confidence. It can also be a low-cost opportunity to test new techniques and combinations, which benefits you as well.

In grappling, just like sparring, there is little benefit to wrapping lower ranking classmates into pretzels over and over, for them or you. Instead, let your partner put you in a bad situation. Let them get the mount; help them sink in that choke or armbar. If you start standing, such as in judo, allow your partner to get the superior grip before attempting a throw. This way you will get comfortable working out of a weaker position and your less-experienced partner can perfect their technique (and get experience using multiple techniques, if you get out of their first one).

You might think that giving advantages like these to students who may be far beneath your skill level is much of a challenge. Trust me, you'll reconsider that sentiment when you wind up sparring a 6'5" novice with zero control over his strength after deciding to only use your weak leg, or have a 250-pound green belt lying across your diaphragm trying to get an armlock after you let them get the pin. Remember, this is exactly what you signed up for: a challenge.

If you find yourself at the top of the heap without partners who are sufficiently challenging, there is no need to despair. Use it as a low-stress opportunity to improve your weaknesses and develop avenues to help your less experienced classmates and students to grow. You may even be surprised. One day they might present more of a challenge than you ever imagined!
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