Copyright 2006 T. Sheil & A. Sheil  All Rights Reserved

Milihistriot Quarterly

The Journal for Military Miniature Enthusiasts

Military Unarmed Combat Defenses

1930 - 1975

There are a host of hand-to-hand combat techniques which are staples of the genre.  They appear in scores of self-defense manuals spanning decades.  Here is a small sampling of classic techniques which typify Military Combatives.  Most are defenses against specific attacks. 


Defense Against Choke

The attacker uses a two-hand choke.


Defender clasps hands and raises them between attacker's arms, breaking choke. This is a common Jujitsu technique

Defense Against Headlock

Attacker applies headlock


Defender puts right hand behind attacker's knee and left hand pushes his face.  this forces attacker's head back.


Defender stands straight, lifting with his right hand while pushing with his left.  This lifts attacker off the ground.



Defender drops attacker forcefully, following with a counterattack.  This is based on a trick by Fairbairn and appears in some newer manuals.


Takedown from Rear

The soldier grabs enemy shoulder with right while clasping his throat with the left.  Simultaneously, he kicks the back of the knee to topple the opponent.  From a World War II Canadian manual.  Note the World War I uniforms!

Defense Against Bearhug


Breaking a bear hug.  The defender first uses a rear head butt to loosen his attacker's grip.  He follows by lifting his enemy's leg forcefully, making him fall backward.  The leg lift is an old Jujitsu trick.  From a Canadian manual

Choke Hold with Stick

This is an old technique for restraining an adversary. 

Capture with Stick

The soldier uses the enemy's arm as a fulcrum, levering the stick against the back of his neck. It is similar to a Jujitsu technique, except that it uses a stick instead of an arm to apply pressure.

Foot Throw

This trick is common in Judo and Jujitsu. The defender turns a stomch kick into a "sacrifice" throw.  He falls, and rolls back on top of the opponent.

Arm Bar defense

The arm bar is used in many manuals because of its simplicity.  Here it is used as a follow-up to a defense against a hand strike.


The techniques depicted here are dangerous.  Their practice can result in serious bodily harm.  They are displayed here strictly for discussion of military history.  They are not here for the instruction of close combat.  Anyone who uses them does so at their own risk.  We take no responsibility for any harm that may result from showing these methods. 

If you wish to learn unarmed combat, seek a qualified instructor.  Do not attempt to learn on your own.

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