Sunday, April 13, 2014

'A Brief Discourse On The Historical Evolution of Close Quarter Combat'

   Personal experiences growing up in a lot of violence and being very small for my age taught me that my training in the martial arts was not preparing me well for unorthodox, bigger, stronger, and violent multiple attackers.
   So I began examining natures most fierce and lethal animals to see what makes them combat effective. A wolverine is only 3ft long and 35lbs max but is feared by the mighty Grizzly bear and is known to take fresh kills from a pack of timber wolves, each weighing over 200lbs. I discovered the most effective and ferocious creatures, aside from the venomous, almost always go after the throat, eyes, testes, or utilize constriction methods around the neck. Also I noticed that some will attack the legs to bring down adversaries yet always finish with an attack to the throat.
   Nature's most vicious creatures very often utilize a primary attack to their prey's structure that culminates into a secondary attack to the airway or the cardiovascular system. Combining this wisdom with redirection, trapping, unbalancing techniques, structural attacks, evasive footwork and fluid hand movements created for me simpler and more efficient method which later brought me notoriety both among peers and later within my military unit.
   The knuckle brawling, kick boxing, and closed hand punches above torso are not ideal - as many well know - in real world combat situations. A lot of great martial arts I've both researched and trained in have excellent 'defensive' techniques against strikes, yet they drop the ball when they utilize counter-attacks.      
   They quite often counter attack using closed hand punches, sport-boxing styled strikes, or execute effective take downs followed by an attempt to beat out a grounded adversary with bare knuckle fists, MMA style ground & pound. Or they may teach a single finishing punch as if that will always end a determined attacker: I/E, a punch to the nose, jaw, or temple.
   Well, if they had engaged in very many violent street, or prison, altercations experience would have taught them better. Most martial arts in their oldest form knew this but over time they became De-militarized due to civil laws which forced the masters to modify them for civilian self defense so everything lethal became a less than lethal, or more sporting, closed hand punch to targets above the torso.
   Some traditional martial arts (T.M.A.) masters today still do not know this and believe they are practicing the 'original' combat art.
   For instance, the original Wing Tsun's boxing method would not use close fist punches to the face but open hand finger jabs to eyes often followed by heel palm, open ridge hand, knife hand, or forearm and wrist strikes to the trachea and neck nerve plexus as the head retreated back from the eye jabs.
   In it's original application this was a very lethal boxing art for close quarter combat. First created by a female, it had to be efficient and could not rely upon powerful fist strikes to the hard bony facial targets considering the metacarpal bones in a woman's hand are even more delicate than a man's.
   The hands were later closed during sparring for safety among beginning students. The masters often held the key to the actual striking methods for combat until students proved themselves both loyal and honorable after sometimes years of training. In later times masters only taught the actual combat applications to their most loyal protégé. This is why students whom trained with their masters a very short time before going off to start their own schools, particularly in the Asian schools of combat, much like Jun Fan 'Bruce' Lee, often unknowingly had never received the keys to their master's science. And thus generations after who trained under particularly gifted athletes whom had trained a relatively short time within a combat science school learned a bastardized method which continues to propagate itself with each generation. Not to mention with the advent of Hollywood action movies which have greatly done more harm in misrepresenting actual martial science in the minds of viewers than good.
   Once again the idea of Wing Tsun's finishing techniques, for instance, was to either stomp a downed attacker in the floating rib, liver, throat, nape of neck, or to drop both knees into their ribs or solar plexus and deliver a punch or chop into their throat during a time when lethality was legally more acceptable in self-defense across most of Asia.
   With the more feudal times giving way to increased civil laws, in order to survive many masters modified the original methods and intent of their combat science to create a more legally acceptable 'civil' self-defense. While others almost completely forsook the original intentions and methods, thereby modifying their science into a combat 'sport' or an historical art-form to preserve some similitude of their history's more feudal times. Still in some places under colonial rule combative sciences had to go completely underground or were hidden within innocuous dances.   
   The original Western Fisticuffs, bare hand boxing, in the western countries didn't use bare knuckle strikes to facial targets. In it's origins it applied fists to the torso targets and cuffs (open hands) to the facial targets, as well as finger jabs. The primary targets were cuffs to the ear drums, heal-palm strikes to chin, tempro-mandibular joint or bridge of nose, edge of hand 'chops' to the neck nerve plexus and finger jabs to eyes.
   As one's adversary reflexively reacted to such strikes this opened up the torso targets for a knockout, fight ending, shot. Traditionally that is a conditioned fist strike to the Solar Plexus, liver, kidney, spleen, floating ribs, or testicles.
   They also would open hand cuff the steno mastoid with heel palm, radial bone, or ulna bone strikes to facilitate a knockout. Sometimes using open hand or wrist chops to the back of the neck we'd call rabbit punches, which are considered lethal strikes.
   This was a very effective & lethal form of boxing with minimum risk to one's hands. Later for gentlemanly 'sport' fights they modified it to all closed hand strikes, both above and below shoulders. This made it less lethal and more bloody for the spectators, while allowing the fights to continue longer for entertainment. Unfortunately many fighters, particularly in the Americas, retired with terribly injured hands preventing them from engaging in a trade or working in the industrial revolution.
   Okinawan Toudi, in similar fashion, originally used no fist strikes to facial targets either but later was demilitarized by the Japanese for athletics, sport, and civil self-defense. Some of the Okinawan masters today teach two methods for fist striking to the facial targets to somewhat reduce risk of serious injury to the metacarpals in the conditioned hands of the karateka. They teach a four quarter twist punch, palm facing down, to beginners for both torso and facial punches in order to prevent serious injuries in training and sparring. While they teach the seasoned black belt level students the more combat effective and structurally sound three quarter twist punch. The first person to bring this pearl of pugilistic wisdom to my attention was Coach Daniel Sambrano, whom in my humble opinion is one of the world's most knowledgeable masters of bare-knuckle combat striking.
   When we examine many of the closed hand techniques still practiced in Asian arts like Kali and Silat we find that they were meant to be used with a short hard wood weapon, a knuckle duster, or a small Ker ambit blade, and not the bare knuckles as we see in beginner level training and public demonstrations. Some instructors still teach that the closed fist punches meant to be used with a hand weapon can be used in unarmed combat utilizing the same Kali or Silat methods.
   Well, any bone doctor will tell you that the little finger knuckle used as point of impact in a hammer fist strike is the most delicate bone in the human hand.
   The hammer-fist strikes mimicked in some Japanese Jujutsu schools' curriculum were originally used with the hard wood yawara stick.  Many practitioners don't know this today as they practice closed hand punches to facial targets in their templates or sequences. 
   Does years of training in a traditional martial arts school or commercial sport based martial art adequately prepare anyone for the dynamics of real world close quarter combat while giving them a huge advantage over individuals whom have never earned the Asian black belt and have never competed in an organized combat sporting match?
   Many of the most dangerous killers in prison have no training but rely upon the power of intention while utilizing the weapons of speed, surprise, and violence of action (as taught in the armed forces' infantry) to overwhelm their intended victims. They don't rely upon training but rather experience from a history of violence.
   Often criminal gangs will utilize superior numbers as well to insure victory. The U.S. Marines teach the rule of no less than three to one and many civilians utilize this very unsporting concept to enact violence upon others in a similar fashion. So a survivor must consider all of this in any altercation that cant be avoided or escaped. Traditional martial arts and sports based commercialized martial arts do not address this adequately in their training. When we do see them teach some form of combat science against multiple attackers quite often even at the highest levels we see a well choreographed sequence of multiple attackers engaging one at a time rather than all at once as they would do in a real world combat situation. And they attack either in a very traditional martial art manner or in contrast attack in a very unlikely manner.
   Real world attackers often attack in multiples, using very unorthodox strikes, very aggressive and dynamic holds, and are never fixed still during an attack awaiting their victim to counter their hold or engage them all one at a time. That is fantasy bravado being sold as self-defense.
   Sport based striking methods we often see do not always neutralize an aggressor as rapidly as would be necessary in a multiple attacker or edged weapon attack situation. This can be witnessed in the ubiquitous MMA and UFC matches where two very hard hitting men with the aid of taped, wrapped, and gloved hands smash each other in the face, head, and body for what can sometime seem like an eternity before either quits or a referee stops the fight. We sometimes witness the one punch knockout by some of the more gifted fighters like Anderson Silva and Chuck Lidell but this happens less often than the full scale brawl. And throw in multiple attackers in a street situation, no hand protection, and each man has a different tolerance to physical trauma, maybe they are hyped up on drugs, and that is where things get dangerous and sport based fist fighting becomes less optimistic.
   Once attacked it's always a kill or be killed mentality. Every stabbing I have witnessed either 'personally' or on a security camera the victim didn't know he was being stabbed but rather thought that he was being punched, until he saw his own blood or just collapsed. And I almost never saw the knife until after the attacker was finished stabbing his victim.
   During one incident I stood a few feet away while a group of criminal gang members stood security while their gang brother attacked a smaller man with a knife. The attacker wore thick work gloves with a knife tied to his right hand and he attacked like a sport boxer using the left fist as a jab and his right hand (power hand) to stab with. His victim the entire time while trying to cover up kept calling out, "Why are you hitting me Billy." After the attack was over and the gang members dispersed the man left dying on the ground while men walked over his body had never known he was being stabbed to death but had thought he was in a fist fight. Sitting here writing this today I only remember that man by his nickname, 'Guitar-man', because he was a gifted guitarist. He is only one of several I've seen stabbed to death. And like him most thought they were in a common fist fight. "The greatest danger of a blade lies not in the sharpness of it's edge but rather it's concealment."
   That is 'reality', and not the dojo scenario of the static one armed knife attack. In fourteen years experience within the C.C.A. private prison system I have witnessed more stabbings, killings, swarm attacks, and rapes than I care to recall while getting a good education in sophisticated criminal ambush tactics.
   It's an art that these criminal gangs practice in killing and kidnapping. Too make matters worse some unfortunately have military background with combat experience and more than a few I have witnessed having MMA training.
   Criminal gangs are getting more sophisticated yet many instructors teach that thugs and criminals are unskilled cowards. In fact if we study U.S. history we will see that during the age of prohibition many of the gangsters and bank robbers were in fact military trained and often combat veterans who used their training and experience for criminal activities and left the police force completely outmatched and outgunned. This later led the F.B.I. to evolve from strictly a kidnapping investigative branch to a more paramilitary federal law enforcement agency.
   When we look at the history of Shanghai we see that there were criminal gangs of armed and martial arts trained gangsters and thugs infesting the city. Municipal police were outmatched so they had to evolve in methods and combat skills to counter these vicious criminals. This era gave birth to such legends as Eric A. Sykes and William E. Fairbairn whom were later called upon to train Allied Forces during WWII in close quarter combat methods which had proven effective in countless close combat situations against armed and traditional martial arts trained gangsters on the vicious streets of Shanghai China.
   So the point here is to show that historically not all criminals are a bunch of bungling idiots who have no combat skills as I've heard many martial artists often say.
   The dojo clowns who teach that criminals in the street are untrained and unskilled haven't had much contact with criminals these days...I've seen triangle chokes and anaconda chokes used in prison by gang members and thugs. The rear figure-four choke is a favorite! And they use it quite often in the streets to rob and assault the unwary.
   They condition their knuckles, as in Okinawan Hojo Undo training, while lifting heavy weights or doing military style body weight training all day long. They study Grey's anatomy books, practice MMA take downs with submissions, train on the heavy bag, run around the ball field, do thousands of side straddle hops to build cardio, learn numerous ways to fabricate weapons and study to be deceptive tacticians. I've seen knives made from paper that are hard as steel  and will penetrate a torso or neck with ease. On the streets some criminal organizations have instructors whom train other members in close quarter combat, martial arts, weapons, tactics, and even law so that they can utilize legal loop holes to get reduced sentences or plea bargains should they ever be caught.
   Too many martial artists are walking around poorly prepared for a life or death situation while engaging in ego masturbation which leads to an inflated sense of ones own abilities and an underestimated view of one's enemies.
   To those that say that unprovoked violent attacks will rarely ever happen, I've been unfortunate enough in my personal life to have faced such situations more often than I'd like to recall...So for some people, it rarely happens but for others it can become a perpetual cycle.
   It depends upon where you live, economic status, and where you work or find yourself having to travel. Also one's physical appearance, build, racial appearance, and how attractive one appears to others can attract unsolicited predators in the most unlikely time and place.
   A man or woman never knows what the future holds for them, even if they're law abiding citizens, so it's best to train for worst case scenarios and not need it than to train for mild scenarios and then suddenly finding oneself in a nightmare. Because before you can process what is happening to you it's over and you've been traumatized, or you're dead.
  Martial arts and any form of close combat training are meant to be insurance policies in case of violent confrontation or a worse case scenario. And unarmed methods are meant to be developed through training and pressure testing as a last ditch effort in the advent that one is caught unarmed or has lost their weapon. They are not meant to be just an athletic activity, a sport, spiritual path to nirvana, or a flowery dance to impress onlookers.
   If real-world combat experience is the greatest teacher, as opposed to classroom theory, sparring, and regulated 'sporting' matches, then how can so many peddle their flowery, overcomplicated, impractical 'Life Insurance' to naïve students without ever having actually experienced and tested what they claim will stop or neutralize an attacker, disarm an intently armed attacker, or is the best method for defending against multiple attackers in an unarmed situation?
   Not to propagate any one art over another since one can find good things in every art, though sometimes we must cannibalize the art to extract what is practical and useful under the duress of combat and what is efficient against single or multiple attackers, but when we compare what is being today taught in so many commercialized martial arts with what was taught and trained one hundred to five hundred years ago we will see a drastic difference.
   What was once extremely simple and practical, but quite vicious, has evolved into something overcomplicated, often impractical, and less efficient under the duress of adrenaline fueled combat against violent attackers.
   Originally all martial arts were weapon's based and the unarmed hand to hand techniques were meant as a last ditch effort should one's weapons be dropped or one be attacked before drawing one's weapon. Some grappling techniques were trained for subduing prisoners or effecting arrest while other grappling with a handful of striking techniques were meant to cripple or kill an attacker on the battle field.
   If one considers pre-Edo period Japanese Jujitsu the grappling techniques were designed to disarm and take down or immobilize an opponent on the field of battle so one could draw a short sword or dagger to finish them off by piercing between the folds of their battle armor.
   After the Edo period samurai later began performing more as law enforcement officers against unarmored civilians so more strikes using the hand held yawara stick or even the empty hands were incorporated into Jujitsu or Taijutsu methods of application. Closed fist strikes were utilized against the atemi torso targets while open hand strikes were delivered to the Atemi targets above the torso area. A samurai relied upon his hands to master his weapons: Katana, wakazashi, tanto, spear, and archery bow, as the primary tools of his trade and he could not jeopardize the integrity of his hands which he needed for his livelihood, much like a professional soldier today.
   When we look at ancient Greek Spartan Pankratia as the hand to hand combat system of the professional Greek Spartan soldiers history tells us they were actually forbidden from competing in the ancient Olympic games in Pankratia competitions because they were conditioned to fight for real combat and not sport. They approached hand to hand with the intent of snapping a leg with a knee or ankle lock, taking out an eye, seizing and crushing the trachea, rupturing the ear drums, using lethal neck cranks/neck locks, and lethal chokes. They killed or permanently maimed and crippled their opponents because they never trained under sport applications but rather actual (efficient) combat applications, so they were banned from competing in ancient Olympic Pankratia matches.
   They didn't fist brawl or even use conventional competitive wrestling techniques for their hand to hand combat methods because their intent was to kill or cripple an opponent in battle should they need to silence a sentry during a commando raid, were ever caught foolishly unaware, or disarmed in battle.
   They didn't train to punch their opponents to death with fists as that would be too time consuming against a battle hardened enemy soldier and too self destructive to one's hands when their survival relied upon how well one could wield a Spartan spear, sword, and shield.
   More recently let us look at WWI and WWII to examine world wars where hand to hand combat was most prevalent in the trenches, house to house fighting, and the dense jungles. Both American and allied soldiers and marines met fierce hand to hand combat against traditional European and formal Asian martial arts with the intent to kill or be killed. Can one imagine a more fierce proving ground for the martial arts than both World Wars?
   The method which proved to be most effective was not exactly a traditional European or Asian martial art. It was a simple, efficient, and brutal approach developed by martial arts experts and venerated combat veterans of the brutal streets of Shanghai China. The city of Shanghai at that time was the most violent city and murder capital in the world. Criminal gangs ran the city and freely controlled the streets with brute force and terrorism.
   One of the men who served as a street law enforcement officer in Shanghai at the time was a British fellow named William Fairbairn. He studied and earned ranks in western martial arts such as boxing and wrestling as well as various Asian martial arts such as Chinese Kempo, Jujutsu, Judo, and even had trained under a famed Imperial body guard. Despite all of his training and the side arm he carried Fairbairn was almost murdered when he was clubbed and knifed by multiple attackers during one of his patrols. In other instances many of his fellow officers were not so fortunate.
   After such experiences William Fairbairn re-evaluated everything he had trained in contrast to his vast personal experiences with life and death close-quarter-combat while enforcing law and order on the world's most violent streets, outnumbered, against gangsters who were trained in traditional Asian martial arts and armed with weapons. He came up with an approach for close combat which utilized simplicity, the most efficient tools of the human body, targeting the most vulnerable anatomical targets, and using natural body movements which could be executed under the duress of intense life or death hand-to- hand combat. But most of all he stressed the importance of 'vicious intent' and directing that intention toward one's attacker or enemy. I believe it was Bruce Lee the actor and martial artist who said he feared not the judo, kara te, or gung fu man but the untrained man who would not quite until you killed him.
  So Fairbairn's approach to close quarter combat was battle tested and more often than not proven superior against classically trained and armed street fighting veterans of the Shanghai criminal syndicates. He simply called his method of close quarter combat 'Gutterfighting'.
   After the outbreak of war the Allied forces saw a real need for close quarter combat training for soldiers and marines. The enemies had proven to be formidable adversaries when confronted in close quarters due to their classical martial arts training. Allied forces had relied upon miscellaneous military men whom had trained in western or Asian martial arts to share their knowledge with troops within their respective units and that had to suffice at first. But later William Fairbairn and his comrade from the Shanghai police, Eric Sykes, were called to share their vast close combat experience and methods with Allied forces.
   Allied military leaders discovered that official investigations of many documented reports of close quarter combat engagements on the battlefield showed that the personnel whom had trained in Fairbairn's simple, efficient, and vicious method of 'Gutter-fighting' consistently achieved more success and close quarter combat kills than personnel classically trained in European or Asian martial arts. This was no small feat since particularly the Japanese were skilled in judo, jujitsu, and kara te while the Germans trained in European wrestling, boxing, and Japanese jujitsu.
   William Fairbairn taught British, French, and American personnel that only a fool resorts to unarmed Gutter-fighting and one should never be caught without a weapon, be it a rifle, pistol, knife, or club. But that wasn't always possible in the fog of battle, so if one had no choice but to resort to hand to hand combat than the methods he taught them and had used himself would give them a greater chance of prevailing over a trained adversary in combat...Records proved him correct.
   Fairbairn never taught closed hand punches to the face or head for the same reason the old methods of other martial arts originally did not. To damage one's hands in battle could mean death if one could not operate weapons, radio, demolitions, a vehicle, or climb up a rope or an obstacle.
   He taught open hand strikes targeting primarily the chin, jaw, eyes, throat, neck, ears, vulnerable torso targets, attackers limbs, and testicles. He only taught punches to soft torso targets and kicks were never above the waist of standing attacker or were delivered to a downed attacker as finishing kill blows.
   Though he was a renown grappler in western and Asian grappling arts, holding black belts in judo and jujitsu, he advised strongly against going to the ground or remaining there should one end up there in close combat because the enemy is never alone. Although in competitive martial arts against a single opponent, where taking it to the ground has it's advantages, on the battle field, or streets, where weapons and multiple opponents are prevalent it's often suicide to go to the ground.
   German soldiers trained in boxing, wrestling, and jujitsu consistently fell to the hands of Allied forces trained in Gutter-fighting. As did Japanese soldiers trained in classical Asian martial arts such as jujitsu, judo, and kara te. This was the biggest proving ground for unarmed martial arts/ close quarter combat the world had ever known, during the world wars.
   It had been established that a few, simple, efficient, gross-motor techniques are more effective under the duress of real combat. And that fist strikes/punches to the targets above the shoulders are not as prudent or effective in real combat, without hand protection, as open hand strikes, gouges, and chokes. However fist methods are very effective and safe for striking torso targets to break floating ribs, rupture internal organs, or attack nerve plexi to take an opponent out of a fight. Then a killing stomp, chop, choke or  lethal neck crank would be applied to finish the opponent so he's no longer a threat. The universal rule to empty hand striking has always been hard to soft and soft to hard.
   The irony of all of this valuable martial arts/close-quarter-combat experience is that after the world war era came to an end once again the lethal and most effective methods were forbidden to be continued for safety purposes and thereby were no longer taught to future generations of soldiers due to it's lethality and because there were incidents during peace time when such trained military personnel had used such training against civilians during bar room brawls and caused serious injury and even some deaths.
   Thus military close-quarter-combat training became relegated to the purpose of fostering warrior ethos, a willingness to close with the enemy in battle, and develop an assertive personality. It was no longer primarily focused upon survival in the kill or be killed world of combat. Military units also began permitting service members who demonstrated martial arts skill to share their knowledge within their unit.
   Some branches had special infantry units whom trained in sports based grappling arts such as catch- wrestling, judo, and later Brazilian jiu-jutsu. Some of the special operations groups also trained in Filipino martial arts such as kali/escrima because such arts train in both edge weapons and empty hand techniques which were suitable to the dynamics of the battle-field.
   With the advent of sports based martial arts being incorporated into military hand-to-hand/close quarter combat training the personnel were being trained in a method of close quarter combat more suited to the sporting ring of combat rather than the vicious kill or be killed battle field. Officers were advised that the purpose, once again, was not to teach personnel to be lethal in unarmed combat because battles are not won with bare hands but with military weapons. The purpose, however, was to instill assertive confidence and a willingness to close with the enemy which sports based martial arts develops. All of the yelling 'kill, kill, kill' during close combat training was meant to instill psychological factors of developing killer instinct along with the assertive confidence and willingness to close with the enemy in battle. The goal was more about creating a more psychologically prepared killer than an expert in close quarter combat...It was about developing 'intent' and not so much about hand to hand skill. You create a more elite warrior by making them first believe they are more elite and hand to hand combat training instills such confidence. (Be it false confidence or not.)
   With the Special Operations units close quarter combat became more of a serious need after the global war on terror due to the nature of room to room fighting.
   So SOCOM adopted a program that they named S.O.C.P. (special operations combative program) which focused not so much on being an expert in martial arts, because soldiers are weighed down with lots of heavy gear and at least one hand is occupied with a weapon, but rather being highly skilled at defending and counter-attacking an enemy combatant at close quarters, whom may have surprised the soldier as he came around a corner, while allowing the soldier to maintain his primary weapon.            
   SOCP's methodology is to repel the attacker, escape, make space, and get back to one's weapons to neutralize the enemy combatant. The soldier doesn't have the luxury of using both hands and the comfort of light street cloths in a close quarter combat situation. And during an engagement the enemy would often grab the soldier's rifle while attacking with hands, blunt force weapon, or a knife.  
   During an operation a soldier's weapon is his life and so the soldier is often limited to fighting with only one hand, two feet, and a k-pod covered head during a close quarter engagement. In addition to being bogged down in gear and equipment the soldier is often operating under extreme fatigue, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures, wet clothing, and confined spaces during a close quarter battle situation (which is where most close quarter combat incidents occur) so his arsenal of S.O.C.P. techniques must be simple, efficient, utilizing gross motor skills, and very effective while the soldier is fighting from a disadvantaged state.
   How many martial arts styles would be effective while wearing wet clothing which limits flexibility and kicking, encumbered by perhaps 100lbs of extra weight, body armor which limits range of motion in the shoulders, severe fatigue and operating in extreme temperatures under all of this? And to make matters more difficult you can only use one hand while trying to maintain an assault rifle slung around one's neck with the other hand. This is what S.O.C.P. addresses for the special operations soldier.
   Today we see an influx of traditional martial arts experts who have either experienced the realities of combat in the streets either by working law enforcement, working a door at a nightclub in a bad part of town, experience with the violence of the penal institutions, or have been the victim of a gang assault, being drawn into the so-called reality schools, or combative schools, to learn how to deal with modern day, real-world, extreme violence when getting to a dedicated weapon is either not an option or the attack has happened so quickly they can't deploy it.
   The problem now with many combative schools and instructors is that they are teaching imprudent methods and relying upon their aggressive marketing, their military background, traditional martial arts degrees, and often times strength of personality to peddle their seminars. Some utilize great scientific research, criminal science, surveillance/counter-surveillance, and lots of really excellent techniques and information which most schools and instructors are seriously lacking. Yet they drop the ball in teaching self-destructive unarmed strikes and counter-attacks and will often say to critics that in life or death situations don't worry about breaking your hands or trying to use some special technique but rather just strike and keep striking anyway you can.
   Well, if that is all they have to offer in close quarter combat instruction than they're not teaching people anything that every untrained person on earth doesn't already know and often do when under an attack. Every woman in the world who has been a victim of assault and wasn't drugged unconscious did just that, however many were overpowered by their larger, stronger, and impact resistant male attacker(s).
   And students pay fortunes to attend Combative seminars where they're taught that a hammer fist is a very powerful strike that will not break and that punching against the facial bones and skull with whichever knuckles one prefers, be it the first two or the back three, is fine as long as one is striking to do maximum damage to their attacker.
   Just like commercialized martial arts many (not all) of the Combative schools have become just another hot sales gimmick of selling false security, misplaced confidence, and ego masturbation to the innocent for the sake of capitalism with no feeling of responsibility for the lives of their students whom may actually have to rely upon what they've learned in order to defeat and possibly kill a kidnapper, rapist, murderer, home invader, or (God forbid) survive a criminal or racial gang attack without sustaining serious injury or even death.
   Today if one researches the martial arts and the Combative world one will easily see that there is a huge market in trying to reinvent the wheel. Or taking the old and merely repackaging it with clever new words, labels, philosophy, and impressive lineages. I believe it was the famous historical king Solomon who wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun.
   I've heard wise men say, the human body only has two arms and two legs so there is only so many ways one can create techniques for unarmed combat. The real innovation is not in creating something new, something unusual, and something impressive in demonstration. That will attract a lot of people who are willing to pay money to be able to boast that one is on the forefront of something 'new' and 'innovative'. And this is what many have done.
   The real innovation is not in adding to the old because in thousands of years of human innovations in unarmed combat nothing is new. However taking away from the old and simplifying it as much as possible while maintaining practical, efficient, effectiveness in all type of situation for all type of people is perhaps true innovation.
   I have read somewhere that simplicity is the highest form of innovation. The renown martial arts champion and former IDF veteran from Israel, Moni Aizik, is often fond of saying, "Simplicity is genius." That is a deeply profound statement.
  We have vaguely traced the evolution of martial arts and close quarter combat methods throughout their early applications up until the present for the purpose of not to bash any one's method of unarmed combat but to consider how much has been changed, lost, falsely perpetuated as realistic close quarter combat, along with the why and how in order to give the reader some introspection.
   The introspection into the what and how one maybe training in close quarter combat methods (or arts) with the intention of preparing for a worst case life or death scenario against violent sociopath(s) intent upon doing violence against you and/or your love ones should a dedicated weapon not be readily accessible or available to you.
   Perhaps it's not that practitioners should continue to try to create something new nor continue to perpetuate what has been handed down through generations of de-militarized civil and sport based modifications, nor flashy commercialized additions. But rather practitioners should be seeking to revive the old and the original which was successful on the violent battle fields, streets, and war zones of times past. For nothing is new under the sun but much has been lost or corrupted over the ages.
   When we can lay aside the love of money, years of invested time, hard work, and ego, and the fables we've been handed down by powerful personalities whom we grown to admire and even love, only then can we honestly examine all that we have come to believe to be true. Or have been told to be true by men whom seem to hold the keys.
   Experience is the cruelest task master and the most unforgiving teacher. But no man can reprove the wisdom gained through it.
     This author does not place videos online nor teach commercially to the civilian public at large, but rather privately to select students, because one does not wish to be obligated to teach random strangers whose character one knows nothing about and they may use what they learn for evil as opposed to good. This has happened in the past and is why exclusiveness is now the rule of the day.
   Peace and good health be upon you my dear readers.

Hoo-ah 4 Life,
AnDrew Soldier*


  1. I was directed here by a friend, Aaron, he's a U.S. Marine, and i have to say, this is one of the best posts on this topic, that i've read. Thank you Sir, for sharing this.

    1. I'm glad you can appreciate what I've shared sir. And thank you very much for the kind and generous words. May your U.S. Marine friend always be safe and return home to his love ones in well being!
      Peace be with you Ash!

  2. Insightful and made me re evaluate what I've been taught and taught to others