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 Post subject: AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE - Unarmed Combat Course Details
PostPosted: 25 Mar 2016 13:01 
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12 MAR 1942


In accordance with the suggestion contained in ATM No 34 para 4, a considerable amount of tng has been carried out at AIF (ME) Reinft Depot. Demonstrations in unarmed combat have been carried out on the Assault Course and attended by representatives of British and Allied formations.

Attached herewith are notes on unarmed combat tng at AIF (ME) Reinft Depot, together with a suggested syllabus of tng.


The general principles are:-

    Unarmed combat has hitherto been considered as a means of defence in close-quarters fighting, when no weapons are at hand. Its use as a means of attack, however, cannot be overlooked, particularly on such occasions as those when weapons cannot be conveniently used - as, for example, the stalking of a sentry, when no noise must be made. Moreover, it should be noted that every defensive movement is invariably followed, if successful, by an offensive movement, whereby absolute mastery of an opponent should be obtained.

    War is a matter of life and death, even where unarmed combat is concerned; hence there must be no scruple or compunction over the methods employed. Complete ruthlessness is necessary in order to gain the mastery over one's opponent. Such brutal methods of attack as kicking, gouging the eyes, etc., though foreign and detestable to the Britisher, must be used without hesitation against a desperate enemy. At the same time, one must not underestimate the value of a good solid punch, should an opportunity for its use occur.

    Surprise, speed, and smoothness of execution, and, possibly most important of all, the gaining and retention of the initiative, are all essential if success is to be achieved. These cannot be attained without a thorough knowledge of the art, allied to constant practice with a variety of partners and under different conditions; as, for example, in the matter of dress, or when one is tired, or when it is dark.

    No two opponents will attack in precisely the same manner; but the skilled exponent of unarmed combat will, by virtue of his continual practice under all conditions, have a variety of moves at his command.

    Although the initiative of an attack may appear to be with the combatant who is armed, the unarmed man can, and should, by a skilfully timed offensive action, seize the initiative, disarm his opponent, and thus secure the upper hand.

    Great care must be taken during practice to avoid injuries: hence the speed of a movement may have to be partially sacrificed. Nevertheless, all movements should be made as realistic as possible. In an actual combat, do not be misled, by the false cries of an artful opponent into relaxing a lock or a hold until full control has been obtained.

    The steel helmet can be used with great effect as a weapon of offence, as well as serving its usual role as a means of protection. Even when kept on the head it can still be used to deal a vicious blow. Similarly, it can be used in the hand to deliver blows, full use being made of its sharp cutting edge.

    Finally it can be used as a shield, particularly against bayonet or dagger thrusts, or even against a thrown knife. The rubber lining of the steel helmet is intended as a shock absorber which makes its use as a shield all the more suitable.

    Whenever it is used in the hand, the chinstrap should be wound around the wrist, to avoid dropping and possibly losing the helmet. For this reason the steel helmet should never be thrown.

    In the early stages, unarmed combat may be practised in PT kit. Later, however, it may be performed in any type of dress, gradually working up to battle dress and equipment.

Attached hereto are –
    Appendix A - Suggested timetable for 7 days for NCOs Cadre or a list of subjects which should be embodied in a training syllabus.
    Appendix B - Trained Soldier's Physical Training Table ~ Table 1.
    Appendix C - (a) Description of Tng.
            (b) Counters to Frontal Holds, Kicks, Strangle Holds and Bear Hugs.
            (c) Disarming opponent with rifle and bayonet, or revolver or knife.


0900 Fall In
0910 Physical training and games
1010 Spell
1025 Lecture
1100 Demonstrations
1130 Bayonet training
1200 Lunch
1310 Physical training and games
1430 Smoke
1445 Bayonet training
1515 Break off – dismiss
0900 Fall In
0910 Physical training and games
1010 Spell
1025 Wrist locks, breaks, arm bars
1200 Lunch
1310 Physical training and games
1400 Spell
1415 Strangleholds front and rear & Bear-hugs front and rear
1500 Dismiss[/2col]
0900 Fall In
0910 Physical training
0940 Clothes and hair grips
1010 Spell
1025 Bayonet training
1100 Counters against a kicking opponent
1200 Lunch
1330 Physical training
1400 Spell
1415 Disarming man with rifle
1530 Dismiss

0900 Fall In
0910 Physical training
0940 Disarming opponent with knife or revolver
1010 Spell
1025 Use of steel helmet, careless sentries
1100 Recapitulation wrist locks and breaks, arm bar
1200 Dismiss
0900 Fall In
0910 Physical training
0925 Bayonet training
1010 Spell
1025 Recapitulation stranglehold front and rear, bear-hugs front and rear
1200 Lunch
1330 Physical training
1345 Recapitulation counter against a kicking opponent
1445 Spell
1500 Recapitulation disarming opponent armed with knife or revolver
1530 Dismiss
1630 Instruction
0900 Fall In
0910 Physical training
0925 Recapitulation disarming opponent armed with rifle or bayonet
1010 Spell
1025 Recapitulation disarming opponent armed with rifle & bayonet
1200 Lunch
1330 Physical training
1345 Mutual Instn.
1530 Dismiss
1630 Instruction

    Examination and checking.


Running in single file changing to pairs then threes Halt squad Backward running in threes arms on shoulders support or hopping in threes changing leg on order

Astride trunk bending from side to side with one arm reaching downward and one arm under bending 3 bends each side

Astride jumping with arms raising sideways and forwards 1-4

One of the following;
    a) crews and cranes
    b) Do this do that
    c) Back see-saw

(Double circle, both ranks feet forward wrists grasp, inner rank backward hanging) inner rank arm bending

    a) (Astride forward bend) Trunk and head turning from side to side with alternate arms swinging sideways or
    b) (Back lying, knees raised, neck rest, elbows supported) Leg swinging from side to side to touch ground (in pairs)

    a) (Front support) Astride jumping (1-4) followed by one foot placing forward to crouch, left and right (5-8) or
    b) (Back lying, arms upwards) Trunk swinging forward-downward, reaching as far as possible, followed by leg raising

    a) (Astride upward bend trunk forward) relaxed trunk bending downward to touch ground

One of the following:
    a) Squat tug of war
    b) Peison (Prisoner's Base?)
    c) Sitting boat race
    d) Pushing contest in pairs shoulder to shoulder

Cruising action

(Astride low hands on hips or with neck rest trunk rolling)

Astride jumping with hands swinging sideways-upward to clap hands over head 1-8

One of the following;
    a) Sprint relay
    b) In and out files relay
    c) Team dodge ball
    d) Tunnel Ball returning ball through legs

(Back lying, knees bent, or astride, low hands on hips) deep breathing

Position of attention.

1. Lectures on ruthlessness.
    Stress the necessity to kill or maim. Give slogan ‘Destroy the enemy’ Insist on completing every move. It is not enough to disarm enemy once advantage gained. Kill. Emphasise the fact that these methods are not novel.
    Good for patrols
    A man is never helpless
    Quick thinking and action always.
2. Stress point that any hold punch or kick, jab, bite or butt with head which succeeds in its object of crippling or killing is successful.
    The only unsuccessful method is the one which fails in its object
3. Teach vulnerable points of body.
    Windpipe Point of chin
    Sides of throat Eyes
    Testicles Solar plexus
    Knee Shin
    Instep Heel
    Toes Kneecaps
    Front of throat
    Teach that a kick by knee in the testicles or kick on shin, kneecap is most effective.
    Stamp on a man's toes, jab a boot on an opponents heel.
    Grip him by the testicles.
    Gouge his eyes with your thumbs.
    Stick fingers up his nose.
    Place fingers in either side of mouth making sure he does not bite.
    Tear his face.
    Bite him on the face or his ear.
    Harden up the heel of the hand by chopping at a man's throat across the front with the edge of the hand will either drop him or kill.
    Teach how to deliver a punch with speed and accuracy.
    Attention to be paid to speed and accuracy.
    Teach the use of the steel helmet. Butt a man in the face. Chop him with the edge.
    Warn the men against careless kicking.

1. An opponent grasps one or both wrists:
    (1) By a sudden downward and outward movement, always working against his thumbs.
    (2) Follow by an uppercut or seize his head pull it quickly forward and downward and meet it by smashing your knee in his face.
2. Arm locks. An opponent attempts to lead with right.
Immediate action:
    (1) Parry and grasp his wrist with left hand.
    (2) Grasp his hand with both hands palm downward both thumbs pressing into back hand.
    (3) Turn hand up and out, and throw opponent
    (4) Kill.
Alternative No. 2
    (1) Grasp opponents hand with both hands and pull across your chest with left arm under his and across his chest making a lever of your left shoulder and chest
    (2) Press back to right shoulder and break arm.
    (1) Pull opponent quickly towards you by wrist.
    (2) Turn quickly in until your shoulder is under his arm.
    (3) Apply sudden pressure and break the arm. Then kill.
Alternative to 3.
    (1) Pull opponent quickly towards you with left hand grasping his wrist.
    (2) Strike his arm behind the elbow.
    (3) Force him to ground.
    (4) Place your knee on arm apply pressure and break the arm.
Counter to kicks always watch the rear foot of your opponent.
If kicked at:
    (1) Turn slightly away.
    (2) Raise foot to allow his shin to meet the edge of your boot.
    (3) Then attack.
Alternative to 4.
    (1) Side step quickly.
    (2) Seize the kicking leg.
    (3) Thrust foot outward this turns him simultaneously push opponent backward.
    (4) Cross both legs quickly.
    (5) Fall on top of them.
    (6) Reach forward and strangle him by placing right forearm under throat and force head down with left hand.

5. When held in strangle hold from front.
    (1) Place right arm over his left.
    (2) Grasp his right wrist.
    (3) Bring your left arm under his right wrist.
    (4) Grasp his left.
    (5) Force downwards to your right.
    (6) Release left wrist.
    (7) With your left hand bend his right arm up his back.
    (8) Simultaneously pull opponent under your bent knees.
Alternative to 5.
    (1) Grasp opponents right arm with your left hand.
    (2) Swing your right arm with a circular movement quickly aver both his arms.
    (3) Still retaining the grip with your left hand. Quickly grasp the shoulder socket of his right arm.
    (4) Apply pressure force him to the ground face downwards.
    (5) Place arm on your knee.
    (6) Break arm.
6. Strangle from the Rear
    (1) Seize opponents thumbs.
    (2) Turn them outwards and draw his arms over shoulder making sure palms are uppermost.
    (3) Apply pressure.
    (4) Throw opponent overhead - this either throws him over head or breaks both arms.
    (1) Take deep breath.
    (2) Force upwards and backwards.
    (3) Suddenly drop down and grasp opponents ankle quickly.
    (4) Pull foot upwards retaining hold on ankle.
    (5) Throw him on his back.
    (6) Thrust foot outward heel uppermost to turn on to stomach.
    (7) Fold both his legs back said drop on them.
    (8) Reach forward and strangle.
Alternative to 7.
    (1) Grasp thumbs.
    (2) Turn outward.
    (3) Turn quickly and face opponent.
    (4) Turn opponent around.
    (5) With disengaged hand place pressure on shoulder socket and force face downward.
    (6) Place knee in shoulder.
    (7) Pull arm back and break.
    (1) Take deep breath and force upwards.
    (2) Suddenly drop down.
    (3) Grasp your opponents ankle.
    (4) Pull quickly upwards throwing him on his back.
    (5) Retain hold and twist the foot to turn him on his stomach.
    (6) Then as for rear hug.
Alternative to 8.
    (1) Place hand on face sharply force head backward placing fingers in eyes and nose (make sure opponent does not bite you).
    (a) Opponent rushing in with Rifle and Bayonet.
      (2)Kick his feet as he draws level.
      (3)Grasp his rifle (which he may drop as he falls).
      (4)Bayonet him before he recovers.
    (b) Opponent rushing in or pointing at close quarters.
      (1) Parry his rifle to the right with right hand.
      (2) Quickly step in and grasp the rifle at about the band with the left hand and smash upwards thus exposing the butt which is grasped by the right hand.
      (3) A sudden upward and backward twist gain possession of rifle and bayonet him.
    (c) Confronted with Rifle and Bayonet.
      (1) Parry rifle to the right with right hand.
      (2) Quickly grasp it about the band with the right hand and below magazine with left.
      (3) Place left leg behind his legs.
      (4) Force him suddenly backwards - he will lose grasp on rifle and fall heavily.
      (5) Kill.
    (d) Left Parries.
      (1) Parry to left with right hand.
      (2) Step in quickly.
      (3) Grasp rifle at about the band with left hand.
      (4) Force your shoulder against his elbow. This if done quickly and with force will cause opponent to relinquish hold on rifle or break arm at elbow.
      (5) Kill.
    (e) Alternative to (d)
      (1) Parry to the left.
      (2) Grasping rifle at about the band with right hand and further down with the left.
      (3) Swing rifle upwards and backwards.
      (4) Kill.
    In all disarming make parry and first grip on rifle with utmost speed and the same time turning side on to make smaller target.
    (1) Try and district opponents attention either by:
      a. A most submissive and dejected manor.
      b. Other means.
    (2) Swing to the left.
    (3) With straight arm parry the rifle.
    (4) Grasp rifle quickly with left hand at about the band further down with right.
    (5) Jerk quickly upward and backward.
    (6) This twists rifle from possession.
    (7) Then kill.
    (1) Parry with right or left hand
    (2) Then same as for 10.
For rear movement left arm parry is preferable to right which leaves you open to a quick butt strike.
Lessons to be learnt from 10 and 11:
    (1) When challenging keep the man away out of reach.
    (2) When forcing a man along don't get within hand reach.
By observing how knife is held you can forecast how knife will be used.
      (a) If forefinger to the front an upward or forward stab will be made.
      (b) If forefingers to rear a downward stab will be made.
    (1) Parry downwards with left hand striking as close as possible to the wrist.
    (2) Grasp wrist with both hands Thumbs uppermost and force inward and out thus forcing release of knife.
    (3) Retain knife and kill.
    (1) Parry with bent left arm across flight of thrust, necessary to make contact as close as possible to wrist.
    (2) Opponents arm bent slip disengaged under his elbow.
    (3) Grasp wrist.
    (4) With left arm force elbow down and back.
    (5) Recover knife and kill.
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    Should opponents arm straighten.
      (a) Parry and step aside.
      (b) Grasp wrists as before and throw opponent.
Note: When hands are up at command of man with revolver make sure your arms are well apart.
    (1) Parry with left hand and turn body sideways.
    (2) Grasp wrists thumbs uppermost.
    (3) Throw opponent forcing revolver in face.
    (4) Kill.
Right hand parry similar manner except that arm is not swung over.
    (1) Parry with straight arm whilst turning around.
    (2) Grasp wrists and proceed as in 13.

Take Care and Stay Safe,
Ken aka kilogulf59

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