Military Combat Systems
Military Combat Systems
Military Hand-To-Hand combat systems (H2H) are the oldest
formalized martial art training systems.
Individual fighting skills were always crucial for survival and
individual fighting ability was among earliest highly prized
specialization skills that along with survival leadership ability
propelled their possessors to the very top of social ladder.
With establishment of early organized military forces, fighting
skills became prized for social leadership and development of military combat skills was no
more just individual activity. Military leaders have advantage if they know
their forces fighting ability vs. their adversaries. Training in
fighting becomes military discipline with high priority.
The earliest survived depiction of the military combat training is Beni-Hasan murals in Egypt.
Been a part of overall military strategy, H2H systems evolved along
When earliest military forces were merely bands of individual
fighters, they evolved into highly specialized organizations of
nowadays with narrow individual role allocations.
The military strategy evolved from
“we-meet-them-when-we-meet-them” to convoluted strategic
The military tactics evolved from a multitude of individual
one-on-one fights to the massive uniformed infantry clashes to
artillery and fighting machinery clashes to the high-tech hardware
encounters with the infusion of the highly trained specialized units
into an operational theater.
It will be a trivial statement to say that all the modern martial
arts taking roots in the early military combat systems. You will see
references to this on many pages of this site. On this page I want to
address the modern state of the military combat H2H systems (witch at times
also called CQC – Close Quarter Combat systems).
On the other page I will address military combat training applicability to civilian self-defense and for police force.
With introduction in Europe of massive armies and the tight
infantry formation in the 15th-16th
centuries role of the devise
individual fighting skills of the old times diminished and never
The prime skill of the infantry man became not an ability
to knock enemy down with the fist or ax blow, but ability to keep his
place in the tight formation under intense enemy fire when his
comrades left and right failing dead and wounded and their blood
spilling on his face.
Introduction of the bayonet and focus on bayonet training made the empty-hand fighting training an optional in most military forces.
With the improvement in fire arms power and accuracy, tight
infantry formation became more deadly for its user then to their
enemy and light infantry tactics prevailed on the battlefield. This
was the primary mode of operation till the end of Korean War and
early Vietnam War.
Nowadays the primary mode of infantry tactics is special
Shift to light infantry tactics required changes in H2H training
with putting the more emphasis (or, in many cases, just adding to the
training curriculum) on non-bayonet techniques.
Let's look what are prime requirements to a military combat H2H / CQC system:
should be simple: Most soldiers joining military for a very
limited time and should complete their training in a matter of weeks
or, in case of specialized units, months; only highly specialized
elite career volunteer units may have up to two years training
schedules. In any case, most of the training time should be allocated
for development of specialized professional skills and not to a
general H2H training. Also, not every soldier is a martial art
enthusiast and willingness is a required precondition to learn
sophisticated MA skills.
should emphasize the lethal techniques: The primary
goal of a soldier on the battlefield is to kill or maim enemy; using
control techniques is a specialized skill in the military with very
limited use. Changing rules of engagement in the most resent
asymmetric low intensity operational theaters effectively changing
soldiers into peace officers which requires a different training
curriculum altogether (and absence of which created a lot of
difficult and painful situations).
should emphasize use of weapon: Soldier expected to be armed and
should use this advantage.
Somewhat circa 1985, with the start of Perestroika, for the
first time in the Soviet Union has been published in the open press
the official “Field Manual of Physical Training” of the Read Army
and Navy – small pocket sized hardcover book with Red Army insignia
on a pale blue cover.
The H2H combat section defined goals, methods, and required
skills' level for enlisted soldiers and commissioned officers.
The goal statement defined H2H training
as means “required to develop courage”. It's it! No other
Authors of this “Field Manual”, as the true professionals, understood very clear that is no other tangible goals are required (and can be realistically achieved) by
H2H training curriculum in the military setting. Even the most
advance level of training (3rd level) aimed at
paratrooper field recon
team commanding officers (usually in the Second Lieutenant ranking)
ware limited to a couple of techniques for taking off sentries and
knife, bayonet, and club/truncheon defense.
Sure, the other military combat manuals have been
published (I browsed some and I own some) and the training of career
special operation soldiers much more intense, but the fact is that
the top level military planers don't see practical application of
bare-hand fighting skills as of any strategic importance in the
modern combat (witch is in a stark contrast to the prevailing
commonly shared views in the time between the First and the Second
The same sentiment echoed by privet
opinions of Russian career special forces officers with real
on-the-ground combat experience in the wars of the last two decades
on the Southern borders of Russia. Some of those statements and
combat accounts can be found in the internet chat-rooms, blogs, and
discussion sites (predominantly in Russian; I won't put any links to
it as some of the accounts can be disturbing to unprepared readers
and organizations from PETA to Amnesty International – war is a
dirty blood soaked business).
The point is: the modern soldier is
well armed for close quarter combat and personal defense, and if he
needs to resort to bare-hand skills, we have a much bigger problem
Sure, a plenty of military publications
in the civilian press describing and promoting highly enhanced
special forces training programs (attributed to British SAS, American
Green Berets and Navy SEALS, Russian Spetsnaz, etc.), but please note
that target audience of those books – we are, the Civilians.