Brian Kagen pick: “World War II combatives,” from

“Distinctions between World War II combatives and modern combatives include: 1) The former tends to be proactive by attacking the attacker, whereas the latter is generally reactive with specific defenses to specific attacks. 2) The former is based upon explosive high percentage gross motor strikes to vital targets, whereas the latter is based upon fine motor skill grappling. 3) The former seeks primarily to disable the enemy as quickly as possible at all costs, whereas the latter seeks primarily to build “warrior ethos” and the courage to close with the enemy.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. Some of this was to counter those boy’s from the Nakano school…AJ and Google it.

  2. And Osensei get’s fired…

    “The institution concerned was the Nakano School, a training school for military espionage analogous to our MI5. Trainees were on a one year course covering undercover work, guerrilla warfare and so on. Unarmed combat was also included and the original teacher for this was Morihei Uyeshiba (of Aikido). Uyeshiba himself was good but when the students tried to apply the techniques they couldn’t make them work under real conditions. In a way, Aikido had too much “technique” for the limited one year of training. The military leaders decided to look at karate as an alternative, and they observed the different styles, such as Goju, Wado, and Shotokan.”

  3. …the whole issue of killing people in battle had a little remarked evolution in distance and density over the last couple centuries. ca 1776 the refined art of infantry use was “the thin red line” of firepower, screened by skirmishers and flanked by cavalry. the kill zone was under 100 yards because of the inaccuracy of the musket. Napoleon forced this technique to the limit with his mass attacks and refinement in the use of artillery. Waterloo was probably the culmination as well as the last battle of the era, but Borodino was also instructive. the important part of that era of fighting, from the individual point of view, was that it very frequently ended up-close-and-personal.

    tactics didn’t evolve as quickly as technology in the next century. in both the Civil War and WWI massive casualties were sustained in frontal assaults. but the increases in range and volume of firepower thinned the line. two or three ranks shoulder to shoulder became a defending infantryman every yard or three.

    eventually (Vietnam, Iraq) “the line” became so thin that almost bubble like it popped. under attack, units act more like a fluid than a linear solid, either engulfing or becoming droplets. suddenly that which by WWII was usually dealt with at a distance with riflery or artillery, got much closer. that trend continues today. the main difference is that little is solved “with point and edge”, but there’s a lot of short range shooting. (one of the corollaries of a thin line and large firepower is the need for individuals to carry lots of ammunition, one of the few good reasons for the M16) but getting close involves personalizing killing. in WWII the Army used bullseye targets and shooters flinched from shooting people. now targets are man-silhouette or pop-up dummies to condition out our normal aversion to murder. could digress on video games and quotidian violence here, but…

    for hand-to-hand, the pugil stick is pretty good training for the modern infantryman. if your weapon stops shooting, and there’s no time to fix it, using it as a two-ended club is a pretty good idea. letting go of it for any reason, like, say, kotegaeshi, is not recommended.

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