KAPAP master offers a cerebral approach to martial arts
By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent | March 09. 2014 9:54PM
KAPAP master Avi Nardia teaches student Christine Baeza how to break free of restraints during a public workshop at Koryukan Martial Arts in Londonderry on Thursday evening. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
Nardia, who was once the command sergeant major of his native Israel's most elite counterterrorism unit, the YAMAM, spent the past week in Londonderry, where he taught a class full of self-defense instructors the latest in modern tactics.
On average, he takes about 80 flights each year, teaching students on Indian reservations in remote areas of Canada as well as those living in places like Thailand, Australia and other parts of the world. He also teaches his craft to a group of handicapped children in his native Israel.
Nardia said he's taught a wide array of students, from housewives and physicians to UFC fighters and Secret Service agents.
"I tell everyone that you don't have to be a war hero to be a hero of life," he said. "My goal is to try and help people handle life."
"What I'm teaching here is how to fight a failing business, a divorce or the loss of a loved one," Nardia said.
Bedford resident Russ Towers said he discovered KAPAP about five years ago, when he signed up for a class with his then 12-year-old son.
Though his son eventually lost interest in martial arts, Towers stayed on.
"Working in the defense industry, my days can get pretty stressful," he said. "Anyone who knew me five years ago probably wouldn't believe it, but I meditate now."
"My lessons focus on love and peace. We don't teach people how to kill," he said. "Life can certainly change your path, but you don't have to let your ego make you be someone you don't want to be."
"The old me might have yelled and screamed," Towers said. "But KAPAP is all about using your brain. Now I might calmly ask the intruder if I could get him a cup of coffee first."
"It definitely helps when you're in the force," Sullivan said. "It's really a type of mind-set and an awareness."
"You have to be prepared," he said. "And when something happens, you need to know how to do things in a way that doesn't hurt people."
"It's an attitude; it's a way to keep yourself focused," Busteeb said. "You learn how to relax and not let people get to you as much."