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How to win in hand-to-hand fighting

As taught to the british commandos and the U.S. armed forces



You will have noted that no holds or locks on the ground are demonstrated. The reason for this is:

(a) THIS IS WAR: your object is to kill or dispose of your opponent as quickly as possible and go to the assistance of your comrades.
(b) Once on the ground, you are more vulnerable to attack. (See No. 3B, Bronco Kick.)
(c) It takes months of constant daily practice to master the an of falling, and personal instruction from a qualified instructor is essential.
(d) There is a vast difference between falling on mats in a gymnasium and falling on a road or rocky ground.

Even a roll on to a stone or a small stump of a tree, should it press into the kidneys, would certainly put you out of the fight permanently.
It is, therefore, obvious that you should concentrate on remaining on your feet. No attempt is made to teach you how to fall, but the following guides are given on how to get back on your feet if you do fall or are thrown:

  1. You are on the ground, as in Fig. 78.
  2. Turn your body sharply towards your left-hand side, stomach to the ground, rising by the help of the right forearm and right knee to the position shown in Fig. 79.
  3. Pushing on the ground with both hands, force yourself backwards into the position shown in Fig. 80, and then stand up.

Note. - All the above movements muse be one rapid and continuous roll or twist of the body.
If, when in the position shown in Fig. 80, your opponent is behind you, place your right foot as near as possible to your left hand (Fig. 81), turn sharply on both feet towards your left-hand side, and you will find yourself facing your opponent.


  1. You have fallen on to your back on the ground.
  2. Lie flat on your back and place your right arm at an angle of 90 degrees from the body, the back of your hand on the ground and your head turned towards your left shoulder (Fig. 82).
  3. Raise your legs from the waist and shoot them over your right shoulder (Fig. 83). When in this position, allow your right arm and hand to turn with your body.
  4. Bend your right leg and bring it to the ground as close to your right arm as possible. Keeping your left leg straight reach as far back with it as possible (Fig. 84).
  5. Your left hand will be on the ground approximately opposite your right knee. Press on the ground with both hands and force yourself up on to your right knee. Continue the pressure until you are on your feet (Fig. 85).

Note. - The reason for keeping your feet apart in the movement shown in 4 is that you will immediately be on-balance when you come up on your feet. This is a very important point to note and is very seldom taken care of by the average man. A man off-balance can be pushed down again with a few pounds' pressure of either hand. Moreover, he cannot administer an effective blow or even defend himself properly.


A man without a weapon to defend himself, especially after long exposure, is very likely to give up in despair. It is remarkable what a difference it would make in his morale if he had a small stick or cane in his hand. Now, add to this the knowledge that he could, with ease, kill any opponent with a stick, and you will then see how easy it is to cultivate the offensive spirit which is so essential in present-day warfare.

  1. A small stick of 18 to 24 inches in length and about i inch in thickness will make an ideal weapon. (If one is not available, it can be broken off a tree.)
    Note. - If you are to be successful in the application of this method, it is essential for you to have the element of surprise on your side. This can best be obtained by taking the position shown in Fig. 86.
  2. Retaining your hold of the stick with your right hand, 'swing the other end up and catch it in your left hand about six inches from the end. This should be done without looking down at your hands or stick. Pay particular attention to the position of the hands (Fig. 87).

Note. - The reason for using this unusual hold of the stick should be obvious. It is not at all likely that anyone (not previously aware of this particular method of attack) would have the slightest suspicion that he was in danger of being attacked.


You are close up and facing your opponent, as in Fig. 88.

1. Strike your opponent across the stomach with the left end of the stick by a vicious circular motion towards your right-hand side.

In delivering this blow, there are four essential points that must be carried out simultaneously:

(a) Your loose grip on the stick, both hands (Fig. 87), must be changed to one as strong as possible.
(b) The movement of your left hand is towards your right-hand side.
(c) The movement of your right hand is inwards to the left, but much shorter than that of the left hand, because of your right hand's coming against your right side.
(d) The movement of your left foot is forward towards the right. This permits you to put the weight of your body behind the blow. See Fig. 89.

NOTE. - This blow across your opponent's stomach would not, if he were wearing thick clothing, put him out, but it would surely make him bring his chin forward, which is exactly the position you want him in.

2. Keeping the firmest possible grip of the stick with both hands, jab upwards with the end of the stick (left-hand end) and drive it into his neck and kill him (Fig. 90). The mark you are after is the soft spot about two inches back from the point of the chin.


You have missed your opponent's chin when you attacked as in Fig. 90.

3. Smash him down the face with the end of the stick, as in Fig. 91, putting all the weight of your body behind the blow.
4. If necessary, follow-up with a smash across the left side of your opponent's face with the right-hand end of the stick, as in Fig. 92.

Note. - You have taken a step to your left front with your right foot to permit of the weight of the body being behind the blow.

5. If at any time after the initial attack across the stomach your opponent's head is high in the air, exposing the front part of his neck: Aim to strike the "Adam's apple" with the center of the stick, putting every ounce of strength behind the blow. This should kill him, or at least knock him unconscious (Fig. 93).

Note. - Methods No. 2 (the point, up under the chin) and No. 5 (the center, into the "Adam's apple") are finishing-off or killing blows, but you must first bring your opponent into the position that permits you to deal them effectively. Method No. i (the point across the stomach) will, on account of its unexpectedness, enable you to accomplish this, and your attack should always start with the stomach attack.