The History of KAPAP

Towards the end of the Ottoman (Turk) rule in Palestine, the Jewish settlers had realized they could trust no one to defend and protect them from the threat of the Arab gangs.

They started developing a simple “self defense” system made up of simple elements. They learned combat methods from British soldiers who were still fighting the Turks. The Jewish settlement, supporting the British at that time, was being strengthened in order to undermine Turkish rule.

British training included boxing, Judo, wrestling and other fighting systems that the British soldiers had learned during the reign of the British Empire. Trainees added fighting with a walking stick, shepherd stick, knife and bayonet. They called this style of fighting Kapap קפא"פ (Hebrew acronym for Krav Panim el Panim, קרב פנים אל פנים face-to-face combat).

Between the years 1920-1948 Kapap evolved and became the combat doctrine of the different underground movements, mainly the Haganah הגנה (the Hebrew word for defense). Kapap developed and became more sophisticated throughout the years. The new immigrants to Palestine brought with them new practices and tactics.

With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Kapap became the combat doctrine for the Israel Defense Forces Israel Police and the various armed forces of Israel at the time. The unique style kept on evolving, adding elements of modern, classic and ancient combat using rifles and guns as well. Kapap became the concept of simple and very effective fighting styles.

The founder

The late Haviv Galisko was born and raised in Jerusalem. He was a member of the “Hagana”, one of the defenders and road openers of the city of Jerusalem. A soldier in the Moriah regiment, he fought and was wounded twice during the “Kattamon” and the “St. Simon” monastery battles. He was one of the first Kapap instructors in the “Hagana”. Haviv learned the secrets of the art of defense from a British sergeant, as well as from his brother Moshe who served as a brigade soldier and fought in Greece, Italy and Libya. Moshe died during the inroad to Jerusalem.

Haviv Galisko was a Kapap trainer for the “Hagana”, later on for the IDF until he was wounded discharged, and went on training Kapap at the YMCA in Jerusalem.

He eventually moved to Be’er Sheva where he continued to teach his firstborn, Moshe-Hai Galisko, who was taking Judo and Karate lessons at the same time.

In 1972, he helped his son Moshe open the first Kapap and Karate Training Club.

Between the years 1979 and 1981, Kapap was being taught in the city of Yamit in the Gazza Strip.

From 1987 till the day he passed away (2005), Haviv helped his son run the center for martial arts in Israel and the world, with everything that has to do with old and modern Kapap trainings according to his world-view

Haviv, the teacher, used to say “fighting methods on the streets have changed”, this is why Kapap has to be adapted to what the field dictates. It has to be adapted to fighting against martial arts that “immigrated” to Israel such as various types of karate, Thai boxing, jujitsu, Sambo wrestling, Arnis, Kali and more. He incessantly kept on pushing towards learning and improving fighting with various firearms and against them.

Haviv Galisko used to tell his son and successor: “always remember who is standing behind you.” He gave this sentence a few interpretations which Kapap people in our organization follow to this day.

" Blessed Be His Memory "

Haviv Galisko of blessed memory

 1930 - 2005

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