Introduction to Close Combat
Purpose of Close Combat:
The purpose of close combat is to execute unarmed and armed techniques, in close proximity to another individual, that comprise both letha and nonlethal ends across a spectrum of violence within a continuum of force.
Many of the concepts contained within can cause permanent damage or death to another person.
when practicing, do not under any circumstances perform these strikes at full force.
when defending yourself, your first goal should be to cause your opponent to reconsider his attack.
Your second goal should be to immobilize or knock out your opponent.
ONLY WHEN YOUR OPPONENT SERIOUSLY THREATENS YOUR LIFE , WILL NOT ABATE HIS ATTACK AND YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE SHOULD YOUR GOAL BE YOUR OPPONENT'S DEATH.
You don't want to be talking to the cops after stupidly employing these ideas. You have been warned.
Close combat consists of:
Ranges of Close Combat:
There are three ranges in which close combat engagements can take place: long range, mid range, and close range. In any engagement, these ranges may blur together or may rapidly transition from one to another and back again until your opponent is defeated, humiliated and crushed or the situation is handled.
- Long range: The distance between combatants allows engagement with a rifle and bayonet, weapons of opportunity or nonlethal baton.
- Mid range: the distance between combatants is such that they can engage each other with knives, punches or kicks.
- Close range: the distance between combatants is such that they can grab a hold of each other and may involve elbow and knee strikes or grappling.
It is important to know and be familiar with the ranges of close combat. Your proximity to your opponent will drive the combat techniques and weapons you can properly employ. It is imperitive that you know your weapons before engaging in combat. In unarmed close combat, the body is your most valuable weapon. To be successful in close combat, you must know and understand the weapons of the body.
Weapons of the body:
Arms: The hands, forearms and elbows are the basic weapons of the arms. Within these, we have:
- The Fist
probably the most sensationalized weapon of the body.
the first thing most people do when tempers flare is clench their fist and start swinging. This instinctive response can be vastly improved on.
Despite its good reputation, the fist is a relatively fragile thing to be hitting people with. due to the number of small bones in the hand, it is easy to break, displace, sprain, strain or otherwise hurt a perfectly good weapon. To minimize the risk of these injuries, be sure to strike with the first two knuckles (index and middle), or the meaty portion of the hand on the side below the pinkie. Additionally, ensure that the wrist is held stiffly in line with the forearm at the moment of impact. a limp punch is an easy way for an attack intended to hurt your opponent to snap your wrist!
- Edge of the hand:
stylized "ninja chop" made popular by Star Trek: The Original Series, and James Bond-like movies. The edge of the hand, also called the "knife hand" is an effective weapon when directed at soft tissue areas or nerves such as the brachial plexus.
The heel of the palm, because of its padding, can be used for striking, parrying or blocking. A heel of the palm directed up into your opponent's jaw can clack his teeth together, rattle his skull, and give him a healthy reason to reconsider following through on his attack.
The fingers, while not thought of as conventional weapons, can be used for gouging, ripping and tearing of soft tissue such as the eyes, the throat or the groin. More on finger strikes at Target Areas of the Body.
The forearm can be used as a defensive tool to deflect or block attacks. It can also be used as a striking weapon to damage or break joints or limbs. It can also be used (as in a head lock or choke) to cut off your opponent's air or blood. Strikes with the forearm do not pose as high a risk of self injury as srikes with the fist and fingers.
The elbow can be used as a striking weapon. Because of the short distance needed to generate power, the elbow is an excellent weapon for strking in the "close" range of close combat.
It is also worth noting that the part of the elbow used for striking is not actually the round bone that you target when you try to touch your right hand to your right elbow. the impact area should be the meaty portion of the forearm 1-2 inches below (for horozontal or low to high vertical strikes) or above (for high-to low vertical strikes) the bone, to further decrease the risk of injury.
Legs: Due to the large muscle groups in the legs, they are more powerful than the other weapons of the body and are less prone to injury when striking. The feet should be protected by boots or shoes and are the preferred choice for striking.
The ball of the foot, the side of the foot, the instep, and the toe can be used to kick an opponent. The toe is only recommended for striking when protected, as when wearing boots. The heel can be used to stomp or "axe kick" an opponent on the ground.
Like the elbow, the knee is an excellent weapon in the grappling range of close combat. Knee strikes are most effective wile fighting close to your opponent where kicks are impractical. The groin and abdomen (solar plexus and xiphoid process) are ideal targets for a knee strike against your opponent. a knee strike can also be a devastating secondary attack to the face when it follows an initial attack which causes the opponent to bend at the waist.
However useful, strikes are only half of the equation. To be truly effective in a confrontation, you must understand which areas on your opponent's body are targets. There are many vulnerable areas of the body, but for the scope of this course, only the major target areas will be discussed.
Target areas of the body:
During close combat, the parts of your opponent's body that are readily accessible will vary with each situation and throughout a confrontation. The goal is to attack those areas that are readily accessible. These areas are divided into a book of five rings|five major groups]: The head, the neck, the torso, the groin and the extremeties.
Head: The vulnerable regions of the head are the eyes, temple, nose, ears and jaw. Massive damage to the skull can kill an opponent.
The eyes are excellent targets because they are soft tissue not protected by bone or muscle. Any attack to this region may cause the opponent to protect the area with his hands. Secondary attacks to other target areas can then be successfully executed while the opponent's hands are occupied (if the oppnent doesn't break off his attack after being poked in the eye). Keep in mind that most people are highly defensive of their eyes, blindness being one of the most common phobias. be prepared for a berserk opponent if you try to gouge out an eye.
The temple is one of the most fragile areas of the skull. Powerful strikes to the temple can cause unconsciousness, permanent damage or death.
On most people (boxers excluded) the nose is very sensitive and easily broken. An attack to this area can cause involuntary watering and closing of the eyes, rendering the opponent vulnerable to secondary attacks.
Attacks to the ear may cause the eardrum to rupture, but as with the nose, this may not stop or even distract the opponent unless the strikes are delivered powerfully.
The jaw region, when struck forcefully, can cause unconsciousness. Strikes to the jaw can cause painful injuries to teeth and surrounding tissues (lips, tongue), but due to the bony nature of the area, the risk of self injury is great unless the strike is delivered with a hard object (your boot, a rock or other weapon of opportunity).
The three areas of the neck you should be worried about are the front, back and sides of the neck.
- Front of the neck:
The front of the neck (or "throat") is a soft tissue area that is not covered by natural protection. Damage to this region can cause the trachea to swell and close the airway, which can lead to death.
- Back of the neck:
The back of the neck (or "oervical region") contains the spinal cord, the nervous system link to the brain. The weight of the head and the lack of large muscle mass in the neck area combine to allow damage to the spinal column when the head is twisted violently. The exposed bone of the vertebrae is sensitive to strikes as well. Attacks to this region can quickly cause pain and immobilization of the opponent.
- Sides of the neck:
the side sof the neck contain the carotid artery, jugular vein, tendons for moving the head and the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a large nerve which runs up either side. a strong knife hand or hammer fist to the brachial plexus can cause massive ammounts of pain and immobilization of the head of your opponent.
The torso is the largest target
area of the body. While it provides a lot of natural protection in the form of bones, the ribs and large slabs of muscle
, there are several areas reasonably easy to target:
the clavicle or collar bone is the semicircular bone on either side of the neck. it can be easily fractured, causing immobilization of the opponent's arm.
- Solar plexus:
The solar plexus is a large collection of nerves and muscle that governs breathing. it is located in the center of the chest. Attacks to the solar plexus can immobilze or knock the wind out of your opponent.
Despite their role as natural protection of the internal organs, ribs can be fractured when struck with enough force. Damage to the ribs can cause immobilization of the opponent and may cause internal trauma.
In most men, the pectoral muscle provides sufficient padding to prevent serious damage to the ribs underneath, which in turn prevent serious damage to internal organs. However, if your assailant is a woman, the breasts are soft, sensitive tissue. an attack here can cause immense pain and may cause your opponent to call off her attack.
- Kidneys: The kidneys are located midway down the back on either side of the spine. Powerful attacks to the kidneys can cause immobilization, blood in the urine, permanent damage and death.
The groin area is another major soft tissue area not covered by natural protection. I don't think I need to go into much detail here. As most men reading know, any damage to this area can cause the individual to provide protection to the area, usually with the hands or by crossing the legs. The scrotum is the main target since even a near miss will cause severe pain, contraction of the lower abdominal muscles, deterioration of the opponent's stance, possible internal trauma, and humiliation when your would-be attacker speaks like a girl for the next three hours.
What most men don't know is that the area is also a sensitive one for women (who apparently get the short end of the stick on this one, see "chest", above). A kick to the groin can be painful, if not incapacitating, to a woman as well.
very rarely will an attack to the opponent's extremities (arms and legs) cause death, but they are important target areas in close combat to cause pain for compliance.
Damage to a joint (the wrist, elbow, shoulder, fingers, hips, knees or ankles) can cause your opponent to effectively lose use of one of his weapons of the body. When targeting joints, try to make them bend farther than they want to, or bend in a direction they are not meant to (hyperextension). As a general rule, elbows and knees can be hyperextended, while wrists and fingers can be bent too far in the direction they normally go.
Shoulders and hips should be targets of last result. Shoulders are extremely difficult to hyperextend, and hips are lots of bone and muscle.
Nerve strikes are also effective, though there are only two which are practical targets: the peroneal and femoral nerves.
- The peroneal nerve:
located on the outside of the thigh between the hip and knee. a good kick or knee strike to this area can cause the opponent to lose the use of his leg, or cause unconsciousness.
- The femoral nerve:
located on the inside of the thigh between the groin and knee. Mis-aimed groin strikes normally hit this nerve. As the peroneal nerve, it can cause "dead leg" syndrome or unconsciousness.
- The Shins
While not exactly nerves, are also an excellent target if you want to cause more pain than permanent damage to your opponent. a quick kick to the shin can have your opponent in pain. Alternately, a kick to the knee and dragging the outer edge of your foot down the shin can cause your opponent to reconsider his attack.
Standard "don't fight if you don't have to
Just because you know how to fight doesn't mean that you have to
Those with knowlege have less to prove
It takes a bigger man to walk away
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