The text book of close combat
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The text book of close combat




Originally Compiled by T. Law

Ripped off and Re-Distributed By Mr. Mooke

General Warfare Tactics. For Public Information and Research Only.

Public Domain Information.


Below is the usual warning crap. Allow me to summarize:

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This page is a collection of illustrated training notes and articles on practical hand to hand combat. Critical comment and contributions are welcome on techniques, tactics, theories and principles. Areas of interest: Offensive Combat, Defensive Combat and finally, Control and Restraint. All copyrighted material on this site is reproduced with each individual authors permission


You must be over the age of 18 to view the Hand To Hand Combatives which are discussed and illustrated on this site. The author of this site has reviewed effective fighting systems for over 35 years and is still revising his operational techniques in the light of personal fighting experience. The techniques presented on this web site are for public information and research purposes only. This web site is presented, subject to the following condition:

• The author will not be held responsible for either the physiological, psychological or material results of the application of any of the techniques either described or illustrated.

The techniques described and illustrated on this web site have evolved from both battle field and street fighting experience. Close combat, and also the training for close combat, is extremely brutalizing. Both sources can cause severe psychological and physiological damage, not only to the receiver but also to the operator. The application of close combat techniques off the battle field can be judged as criminal. This web site is intended for academic study and discussion only. ________________________________________


CHAPTER’s 1 and 2First Steps in Offensive and Defensive Close Combat

General Warfare Tactics. For Public Information and Research Only.

Public Domain Information.



The purpose of this text book is to present the reader with both offensive and defensive examples of close combat.

A very wide spectrum of techniques and tactics will be described in this text book. The original purpose of this approach was to allow the reader to select techniques that suit them personally and also meet their operational requirements.

The techniques described and illustrated in this text book have been used in general warfare by Western states from the early 1900’s onwards. These armies have always used close combat training programmes for two main reasons;

• First, close combat training promotes fighting spirit and ruthless efficiency.

• Second, close combat training programmes are the solid foundations for self confidence on the battle field.


Self Defence. The amount of physical force used in self defence must be the minimum necessary to protect either you or others. This degree of force should allow you to either escape, ward off or neutralize an attack.

Close Combat. To fight and oppose with little regard paid to minimum force requirements. The amount of force used will depend on the operational aims. This may include neutralizing, disabling, capturing and killing the enemy.

First Steps

Whenever possible, text book and video studies must be complemented with „hands on training“ from a competent instructor. First hand accounts from combat veterans will also give more credence to the training programme.

Standing Combat

Join a boxing, karate or kung fu club and gain valuable contact experience. This must include the practice of timing hits, judging distance, feinting, counter attacking and closing in for grappling techniques. Do not spend to long learning the one style. Focusing on the one style will create a mind set for that particular style. For example, focusing on boxing may cause you to miss the chance to either kick or throw your opponent when that opportunity arises.


Join a club that specializes in either judo, jujitsu, sombo or wrestling. Here you will learn the fundamentals of balance, break falling, strangling, choking, limb locking, the mount, the guard and escapes. A good substitute for sound practical hands on instruction in these areas does not exist.

When you are fighting more than one opponent, grappling must be avoided. You will limit your chances of survival if you allow yourself to be tied up by either applying or being caught in body holds or arm lock.

A competent ground fighter can be defeated by any of the following quick and lethal tactics; gripping the ear and chopping it off with the free hand, poking out eyes, chopping the front of the throat or eyes, biting off ears, noses and cheeks.

Technical proficiency in either boxing or wrestling or any sport combat is not a requirement for battle field combat. Half a brick or the edge of an entrenching tool to the nape of the neck will work much faster than many years of karate training.
The application of these tactics requires nothing more than the will to survive.

Safety Rules

Close combat training will, at some stage, incur physical injury. This is a fact of life in all areas of combat training. Prior to any combat training, commanders are obliged to predict the expected loss rate from training accidents. This will ensure that the programme starts with sufficient personnel to offset the training losses.

Safety rules will help to reduce the accident rate in your training programme.

1. Basic training dress must include rubber soled boots, combat jacket and trousers and finally, protective body guards. Always use commercial protective equipment that meets your training requirements.

2. Prior to any training session, a thorough safety check must be made of all dress and equipment. Always check the soles of all footwear and all clothing to ensure that there are no illegal or foreign bodies attached. Also check that all pockets are empty and no one is wearing jewelry or badges.

3. When sparring, restrict all hand and foot attacks to well padded secondary pressure points. This procedure will help to reduce training injuries and teach individuals to focus and control their attacks.

4. Establish prearranged signals for stopping all activity on the training floor. The signals can be either verbal or non verbal. The most common signals in general use are either two taps on the training partner or the floor or the shout „Stop!“

5. Before practising any technique, always ensure that those involved have a clear understanding of their roles.

6. Practise all new techniques slowly until those involved can control that technique. Speed follows on from a mastery of accuracy and control.

7. Never allow new training partners to either train or spar in your group. Give all new partners a probation period that allows them to master the safety rules and basic techniques.

8. Competence in basic first aid is a necessary skill for all those taking part in close combat training. Transport must also be available to take injured personnel to the nearest hospital.

9. No one is allowed to leave the training area without the permission of the instructor.

10. Any additions to these safety rules may be dependent on the operational requirements. Balance

All forms of combat have one common denominator, that is, balance. You must strive to maintain your own equilibrium and try to unbalance your opponent, both mentally as well as physically. This will make all your techniques much stronger and the opponents much weaker. The simple act of stepping out of line from their line of attack will unbalance the opponent. If the opponent has grabbed at your upper body, step back and out to the side to pull them off balance into a defensive mode. If the opponent grabs at your wrist, the act of palm heeling their opposite shoulder will force them to over reach. This can lead you to using a throwing technique.

Ground Fighting

Training programmes should be structured so that equal amounts of time are devoted to both standing and ground combat. There are three main reasons for this.

First, either you or your opponent may be punched, clubbed, swept or thrown to the ground.

Second, in some situations it may be more prudent to go down and attack the opponent’s legs, knees, groin, testicles or bladder.

Third, there is always the chance that both you and your opponent will go to the ground together.

If your experience in ground fighting is limited, then your survival will also be limited. The grounded opponent is not necessarily overpowered or passive. This position can be used to launch many different forms of crippling and lethal attacks that are banned in sport combat.

When you are fighting more than one person, your survival will be limited. Should you end up in the grounded position, your survival is extremely limited. Offensive and defensive use of the group will be discussed in other chapters.

Lethal Techniques

Sport combat systems have excellent safety rules and safe contact techniques. Some of the techniques used in sport combat can form the basis of your close combat repertoire.

Despite these facts, rigid adherence to the safety rules will produce combatants with limited practical abilities. This is because the simplest and most lethal techniques in close combat remain unexplored and unrehearsed.

The only way lethal techniques can be incorporated into your training programme is to either use slow motion drills or direct the lethal strikes to well protected areas. Also, non-lethal pressure point attacks can be directed to various parts of the body. These pressure point attacks can be used for both self defence and for setting up lethal attacks. Strangle and choke holds, as well as limb locks can be applied to the submission stage. This procedure will give you a safe and much more realistic approach to practical close combat.

Fighting Distances

In this text book on close combat, three ranges to be considered.

• Long range offensive and defensive styles are usually favored by the taller opponent. (See chapter 2)

• Close range offensive and defensive styles are usually favored by the shorter opponent or wrestler. (See chapter 2 for a more detailed discussion.)

• Ground fighting is favored by the wrestler. It is also the last option open to the downed opponent. (See chapter 13 for a more detailed discussion.)


In a combat situation, you will
be dressed and carrying equipment essential to the operational task.

Unless you have trained in this equipment, you may not be prepared to deal with this situation.

After you have mastered a set of techniques in basic training dress, you must rehearse in full operational dress. This procedure will allow you to appreciate the limitations and restrictions that operational dress and equipment can impose upon specific techniques.

Consideration should also be given to the operational dress worn by the enemy.

Fear Control

Before any boxing match, boxers will experience the physical effects of their mental turmoil. The fear of physical pain, humiliation, or losing the fight can induce many physical side effects.

For example, bowel movements will increase in frequency. There can also be incidences of vomiting or trembling.

A detailed discussion on the physiological and psychological effects of battle field fear and its effects would require a chapter on its own. This knowledge would not enhance your ability to cope with the disruptive effects that fear can create.

Fear is much easier to deal with when it is accepted as mental and physical distress. This distress is created by thinking about the impending combat and all the perceived dangers. Mental and physical distress then creates a nervous energy that is very difficult to control. Paradoxically, this nervous energy is also an essential aid to individual survival. The total control of fear is neither necessary, nor desirable. The nervous energies created by fear will tense up the whole body and prepare it for either the fight or the escape. When the human body is slightly tense, it can respond much faster than a relaxed body.

Physical tension also prepares the body for the impact of the opponent’s attack. Simultaneously, fear will increase the individual pain threshold. This allows the body to cope with more trauma than normal. Blood flow to the surface of the skin is reduced. Because of this, bleeding from body wounds is also reduced.

The stress of combat will also induce a mental tension. The opponent will be mentally focused on the source of the problem and will be operating with a limited level of consciousness. Their attention will be directed straight towards you. In this state, the opponent will be unable to hear or respond to advice from any source. They will also be unable to see any activity that takes place outside their direct view.

Psychological research has shown that individual fears will peak before and after a battle. During the battle, the majority of the combatants can focus on the operational task. Soldiers who are bonded together with a team spirit, well led, believe their cause is just and properly trained, will find it much easier to focus on the operational task.

Because of these factors, learning to cope with fear must form an integral part of basic combat training. The training programme outlined later in this chapter can be used to produce close combat fighters who can control their fears.

Your training programme must also include ways of coping with the limiting mind set of focused attention. Learn to expand your consciousness during training so that you can see and hear much more than the direct threat.

The Adrenalin Rush and The Shakes

The natural reaction of the body to stress is the fight-or-flight emergency response. As mentioned in the section on fear control, the immediate physiological response is to prepare the body for either fight or flight. This includes an increase of blood flow to the brain and muscles as well as an increase in strength and energy.

If this energy is not dissipated within approximately 10 seconds, through the fight, the energy is lost through a shaking or trembling process. Your aim in any fight is to attack before the energy level peaks. Use that energy boost to defeat the opponent.

If the opponent allows their energy level to peak, without fighting, the shakes will set in and they will be incapable of reacting positively.

Distracting the Opponent

The ideal time to launch an attack is when the enemy is not prepared for it. Always try and hit first. When the enemy is either faster, stronger or prepared for your attack, distractions become necessary.

The following tacticss may be incorporated into your training programme. As your skill develops, you will appreciate the vital fractions of a second and control that these distractions allow you.


Throw the nearest object to hand. Make the opponent flinch, blink or stop. This form of distraction will give you a fraction of a second to make your own move.


Spitting can make the opponent either blink, vomit, draw back or lift their hands to expose the lower targets.

Spit out anything that happens to be in your mouth at the time of the confrontation.


Before carrying out a definite attack, such as a punch, either pretend to or actually use a kick. This tactic will make the opponent act in a predictable manner.

Develop your own personal set of combinations.


Shouting and screaming can be used in order to dispel your nervous energy and disorientate the enemy.

By shouting or screaming, you can make the opponent temporarily freeze. The shouting approach can also make your own attack much stronger.

As with all forms of distraction, the enemy may over react or panic. Because of this factor, the voice must be used in a controlled manner and immediately followed through.

Your breathing can also be used to strengthen your attack and confuse the opponent. This can be done by hissing or grunting as you move or attack.

Consider the boxer’s mode of breath coordinated striking. Just before you strike, you tense up your stomach muscles. Before the strike lands, either grunt, hiss or blow out half your lung capacity.


In many fights, the opponent will be operating with a limited level of consciousness. The opponent will both „telegraph“ and persist in using the same technique. The simple act of either kicking or using a straight arm strangle will induce the opponent to copy you. Both these situations can be used to your advantage.

Combatants are usually motivated by fear or blind hatred. It is not normal for them to think tactically and respond positively to their opponents attack. Attacks are usually focused on the position of the opponent. The simple act of stepping out of this direct line of attack can confuse the attacker.

Try to remain mobile during a confrontation. This will disrupt the opponents timing and concentration. If your opponent is circling around you, disrupt their timing by either stepping in or out with a side step of your own.

If your opponent is right handed, move round them in an anticlockwise direction. This will keep you away from the much stronger right side of their body.

At other times encourage the opponent to move forward. Their momentum will add more impetus to the force of your attack.

Chapter 2 will contain much more detail on this factor.


Talk to the opponent and find out what they want from you. Talking may help to reduce the tension of the situation. It will also leave the opponent more open to attack.

Vary the volume and speed of your speech, this will force the opponent to focus on your voice.


Leave the enemy an obvious opening in your defences. Once their anticipated attack is initiated, you can counterattack.


Pretend to be afraid, injured, dead, competent, brave, stunned or mad. Do anything to disrupt the thinking processes of the opponent. Create a mental block in the opposition and then use the opportunity this creates to either attack or escape.


Every individual varies in the degree of speed they can generate in either offensive or defensive techniques. This fact is based on the normal physiological differences.

Other factors can affect individual speed and reaction times. These include, mental alertness, physical well being and the quality of individual combat training.

In sport combat, reactions can be sharpened up with a warming up session before a contest. An opportunity for this procedure never presents itself close combat. In this situation, optimum reaction times and positive responses will be dependent on the quality of the training programme.

Not all fights will be lost because the opponent is much faster than you. Slow reactions can be compensated for in many ways. For example, attack first whenever possible, after that, use distractions or combination attacks.


Initiative can be defined, in the military sense, as making the first move. This behaviour will force the enemy to conform to your movements.

Taking the initiative away from the enemy places them in a more vulnerable position. Not only have you taken control of the situation physically, you have also taken a more dominant position at the mental level. All distractions are examples of initiative.

Initiative is not just the prerogative of the team leader. It must be fostered in all members of the team. Individual initiative can be fostered through the employment of a structured training programme. Such a programme must be based on the team mission. It can have built-in problem scenarios that simulate the expected operation.

Individual passive or active behaviour in these scenarios should become more innovative rather than indecisive or inappropriate. This training should produce individually motivated, self-reliant soldiers who are always thinking one move ahead.


Improvisation involves the adaptation of basic techniques, principles and readily available objects to achieve the team mission. The principles of improvisation and initiative are closely related. Both demand a high degree of flexibility and originality from the thinking processes.

The mind set required for initiating action and improvising on the on the battle field can be enhanced by using a combat orientated training programme.


Once you are engaged in combat, there is no time to think about specific forms of attack or defence. Your behaviour must be impulsive and more instinctive. This can only be achieved through contact training with an active training partner.

In many sport combat systems, you will receive a grading by displaying standard responses to standard attacks. In close combat, there are too many variables involved to use such a dogmatic mind set. Your response to an attack must break all the rules, the opponents in particular.

After you establish a basic competence in any technique, you must go on to develop variations. This will make your style much more unpredictable, impulsive and instinctive.

Do not waste valuable training time by practising in the sterile mode of bag work. Punch bags are useful for developing combination attacks, timing, distance, impact effect and power.

It is imperative that you go on to sparring sessions. Here
you can apply combat techniques on a living, moving opponent who is retaliating and exploiting all of your weaknesses. Your techniques will never be perfect, in this situation, but your impulse to act positively will be much keener. This form of training will also make your reactions much more instinctive.

Impact Effect

Some forms of sport combat award points for perfect strikes. Because no full contact takes place, the effects of these strikes are very speculative. In combat situations you will be faced with someone who moves and even retaliates. Perfect technique is either impractical or may not have the desired effect.

At times, the enemy may absorb a punishing attack without registering any pain. This may be due to either fear, knowledge of impending death, shock, drugs or fighting spirit. It may take four or five strikes to create the desired effect. One strike text book kills must be abandoned for a more flexible and sustained assault.

Impact effect on your own body must also be explored from two perspectives.

First, you must experience the opponents attack in order to assess your ability to absorb the impact and react positively.

Second, when you either hit or miss an opponent, the effect will be entirely different from the experience gained on the punch bag. For example, a side kick to the opponent’s midsection can throw them at least eight feet away from you. You may also be propelled back several feet. At this stage, the opponent may be temporarily winded without serious injury. They are now at a safe distance from you with time to recover. If you have not experienced this form of incident, you are in a very vulnerable position. The opponent is down but far from being out of the fight. This is particularly true for a ground fighter who will no longer offer you the chance to use your superior kicking.

Practice all techniques on an active partner and learn to follow up on everything you do.

Direct Attacks

For economy of space, the techniques illustrated in this text book are all direct attacks. Single technique direct attacks are not always successful.

Your initial attack can be used as a feint. The feint will allow you to observe how the opponent reacts. Feints can also be used to create an opening. This will be discussed later. Combat Appreciation(S.W.A.T.)

The experience of fear, on the battle field, can disrupt you tactical thinking. In combat appreciation, you must learn to focus your attention on four basic factors.

The practical consideration of these factors will help you to assess both your situation and the appropriate course of action. These four factors are:





1. Strength (Numerical and Physical)

a) YOU: Your strength depends on how fit you are to handle the situation and how reliable your comrades are.

b) THE ENEMY: Is the enemy younger, fitter, faster, fatter, more confident, more experienced, or drug crazed? Are they accompanied by comrades or are they close at hand?

2. Weapons (Legal, Illegal, Improvised and Procured)

a) YOU: Have you time to go for a weapon? Is it safe to go for a weapon? Are there objects lying around that can be used as weapons?

b) THE ENEMY: What weapons do the enemy have? If you can improvise, will they also improvise? Have you adequate defences against their weapons?

3. Aim (Purpose and Attitude)

a) YOU: Your aim, at all times, will be survival at any cost. How you achieve this depends on your appreciation of all the other factors.

b) THE ENEMY: Your opponents aim can include detaining, crippling, raping or killing you. It is up to you to find out fast, by arguing, observing, moving, listening, talking, cooperating, thinking and distracting.

4. Terrain (Surface Conditions and Troop Disposition)

a) YOU: Are you in an area that is familiar to you? Can you use the ground to your advantage? What type of tactics can you use on that terrain to escape or stay alive? Where is the nearest refuge? Can you step, roll or fall without danger? Where is your nearest back up?

b) THE ENEMY: Is this their territory? From which direction will their support come?

Consideration of these four factors will help you to survive.


In a boxing match, when your opponent falls, you immediately go to a neutral corner.

This scenario does not occur in close combat. When your opponent falls, this simply indicates the next phase of the fight. Always continue the fight until your survival is guaranteed.

Never give the opponent the opportunity to recover. Never expect quarter and never give it until your operational aim has been achieved.Nerve Points

The illustrations in chapter 2 show 32 frontal and 17 rear targets on the human body. Not very many people will have the clarity of mind, in the heat of the fight, to remember these precise points.

Just remember that the maximum damage pressure points lie down the centre line of the body from between the eyes to the pubic area. This centre line is usually well defended with body armour or the opponents forearms. The best way to get to the vulnerable areas of the body is to attack
either side of the centre line to open up the opponents defence, then attack the centre.

You can also work your way around the opponent and attack the rear areas.

In the heat of the fight, there is a low probability of striking the vulnerable areas with accurate and powerful strikes. Consider using combination attacks to weaken the opponent and break down their defences.Hand Techniques

The bones of the hand are very delicate and easily damaged. Most people have a natural tendency to clench their fists in violent situations. Because of this fact, some closed fist techniques have been described in this textbook. The fist must only be used when it is protected by heavy duty gloves or knuckle dusters. This will be discussed in much more detail in Chapter 3.

Defensive Stances

Think about this point. If you have the time to adopt a defensive stance, it means that an attack on your person has been either unsuccessful or you have time to perceive an attack on your person and time to adopt a stance.

On many occasions your perception of an attack will be preceded by a feeling of semi-consciousness after a surprise attack or else your body hurtling to the ground after a rear attack.

Stances are secondary to learning how to run from, duck, dodge and parry attacks as they occur. Stances are also secondary to learning how to break your fall and carry out a defence from the ground.

If you have time to perceive an attack, that time would be better spent either escaping or else attacking, rather than presenting a static target and the static mind set that stances can encourage.

Use stances as part of your distracting techniques. For example, adopt a boxers stance and use your feet.

Despite these points, stances for stick, knife and unarmed situations will be discussed further in Chapter 2.

Foot Techniques

In sport combat, many foot attacks are directed at difficult to reach areas. For safety reasons, kicks are never allowed to the most vulnerable areas. These areas include the ankles and sides of the knee cap.

Try and keep your kick and sweeps low where they are at their most powerful. This approach will keep you away from the opponent’s hand and grappling techniques.

The terrain you are fighting on will restrict the type of foot techniques you can use. Try to revise foot techniques on a wide variety of terrain.

Body Movement

Text book illustrations always fail to convey the degree of body movement involved in any technique. The figures used in illustrations can only represent a single phase of a physical action. Do not slavishly follow the illustrations. It is important that you modify the techniques illustrated in order to suit your height, dress and situation.

In close combat, you must move continually. Keep stepping both in and out of the opponent’s line of attack. This will disrupt their timing. Also sway, bob and weave in order to avoid strikes. Body movement is the priority in avoiding attacks. This is because ducking and dodging is much more instinctive than blocking techniques.

Holding the Opponent

Grabbing or holding the opponent will place you at a disadvantage. With your hands employed, your defences are restricted. This is particularly true when you may have to fight with more than one person. Always weaken or distract the opponent before trying to apply a hold. When you go for a hold, try to apply it to the hair, ears, testicles, throat or fingers. Also use pincer grips, arm and leg locks, chokes and strangles.

The application of holds depends on the successful use of distractions and combinations.

Holding a Weapon

Holding a weapon can place you at a disadvantage, if you are focused on looking for an opening to use that particular weapon.

The weapon can also be used as a distraction by you. While the opponent is focused on the weapon, attack by any other means.

Unconventional Techniques

Survival in combat can be attributed to many factors other than numerical and technological superiority. History has shown us that many a battle has been won by a weaker opponent who can disrupt the enemy with an sudden or unconventional attack.

If you pull an opponent’s hair it will cause a great deal of distracting pain. It will also make their eye’s water. With a good grip on someone’s hair it is possible to slam their head into the wall, the ground, your knee or head butt. When you claw at someone’s face or throat, their natural reaction is to either copy the action or at least lift their hands in defence.

This can be used to apply another technique in response to the opponent’s behaviour.

A strong grip can be broken by sinking your teeth into the opponent’s hand, wrist, cheek, throat, nose, eye brows or the lower part of the leg.

If you know the opponent’s style, unbalance them mentally by breaking all their rules of engagement.

Emergency Techniques

In some standing or grounded situations you may become either blinded, stunned, shocked or surprised.

Do have a set of well rehearsed techniques that do not rely on visual contact. They will occupy the opponent and give you time to recover.

• Trap their arms in a bear hug. This will allow you to stamp on their insteps, use head butts, or bite their throat and face.

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