Person of Interest: David Rubinberg Jan/Feb 2020

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Kapap Krav Maga Expert at FEKS Martial Arts

Lynchburg Living: David, we hear you had a surprise visitor recently! Tell us about your award.

David Rubinberg: Israeli Defense Forces Major Avi Nardia flew in to present the highest award one can earn in the Israeli Martial Arts—the blue and white belt. It is a lifetime achievement award that represents being a leading expert and senior counsel to all Israeli Martial Arts students worldwide. It came along with the rank of 8th degree black belt. I will also serve as the Head State of VA representative for FIMA (Federation of Israeli Martial Arts)—a gathering of the only top Israeli Martial Artists in the world. You must be invited into this group.

LL: How rare is this?

DR: Blue and white belts are extremely rare and are not presented to people that have not had at least 50 years of Israeli Martial Arts experience behind them. I am currently the only 8th degree black belt in the world in Kapap Krav Maga, which is studied in over 60 countries and has well over half a million students.

LL: Wow! That’s quite an accomplishment and certainly puts Lynchburg on the map. For those that aren’t familiar, what is Kapap Krav Maga?

DR: The Kapap or “face-to-face combat” system was developed in the late 1930s within the Jewish Aliyah camps as part of preparatory training before their arrival in Mandatory Palestine. The main focus was to upgrade physical endurance, elevate and strengthen the spirit, and develop a defensive and offensive skill set. The term Krav Maga or “close combat” started when the state of Israel was given back to the Jewish people in 1948. This was and still is the fighting form of the Israeli Defense Forces.

LL: How long have you been a martial arts instructor?

DR: I was 10 years old when I started my martial arts training in 1958 at Stewart Air Force Base. I continued my studies in Judo and Karate at community college. Then, upon coming to Lynchburg in 1967, I attended Slaughter’s School of Karate.

I began teaching my first class at Lynchburg College in 1967.

So, I have been an instructor for 52 years. My Krav Maga training began in 1957, as part of a family focus.

LL: How has your family played a role in your passion for martial arts?

DR: My grandfather came to this country alone in the early 1900s. He worked and saved enough money to bring my grandmother and father to New York. He then continued to work and save enough to bring members of the family over one at a time. My father is an only child. With the decimation of the remaining family in Europe from the Holocaust, what family we had left in New York, and what family escaped to Israel, our family here was very close. The talk was always centered around the possibility of all of us moving to Israel. Krav Maga training was an important part of that dream. Please understand, members of my family were in the concentration camps of Germany and would cover the stamped numbers on their arms with clothing. The training, the thought of “never again” was and still is very real for us.

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