Soldiers, being the protectors of a country, cannot afford to be simply gunmen in leatherneck and camouflage uniforms; they must also be warriors who are able to survive unarmed combat. This is why the special forces/military emphasize the melding of the mental and physical discipline of traditional martial arts with their existing combat fighting techniques. This objective is not only focused on teaching soldiers the self-defense they would need during hostile situations, but also it incorporates the conditioning of the body, mind, and spirit. This is the holistic approach of martial arts that aims to integrate discipline in all combat fighting techniques.
Krav Maga: The Israeli Arts of Fighting
Krav Maga (contact fighting) is a well-formed hybrid system that absorbs the most useful and efficient combat fighting techniques from different forms of martial arts. Developed in Israel, this fighting system is well known for its emphasis on real-world circumstances and its use of brutal yet extremely efficient counter-attacks. It includes uppercut, low-risk kicks, head strikes, and knife/gun defense techniques. Krav Maga trainers also teach defenses against chokes, take-downs, bear hugs, armbars, and other attacks. Its key principle is ending a fight the quickest way while maintaining awareness of possible escape routes, weapons, or other approaching opponents; therefore, attacks are towards the weakest points of the body, such as joints, eyes, groin, and neck. Aggressiveness, decisiveness, and severe injury are the only rules in Krav Maga’s combat fighting techniques.
Kajukenbo: The American Combat Martial Arts
Kajukenbo is a totally new fighting system created and developed on American soil. It is a combination of Judo, Jujutsu, Western Boxing, Kenpo Karate, Tang Soo Do, Kung Fu, and Eskrima. The targets of attack are the vital points of the body. Styles include fast, hard strikes, impact throws for takedowns, and limb and joint destruction attacks. There are defensive and counter-attacks as well, such as weapon disarmament and punches. The key element of Kajukenbo is for soldiers to create their own combat fighting techniques that are within the philosophy of the art rather than mimicking the fighting movements of the trainers.
Sanshou: The Chinese Military Combat System
Sanshou (free fighting) is a Chinese martial art that adapts practices of the traditional Kung Fu and other combat fighting techniques of modern times. Its military variation is known as Junshi Sanda. Designed by the Chinese Elite Forces, Junshi Sanda is primarily aimed to develop a system of unarmed combat that can address real-world hostile and lethal situations the Chinese military may face. The principle behind the art is that all body parts can make an invincible anatomical weapon. There are four basic techniques to meet this principle. These are the following:
- Da (upper-body strike) uses the fists, fingers, elbows, forearms, shoulders, palms, and head.
- Ti (lower-body strike) includes stomping, kicks, and knee attacks.
- Shuai (throws) adapts fighting techniques from wrestling and judo
- Chin-Na (seizing) includes strangulation and joint locks.
Conclusion: Which is the Best?
The rules of war will never change: the soldiers die or the enemies do. In order for them to protect their nation, they must defend and protect themselves first. The best chance of survival begins with extensive training on combat fighting techniques. Firearms are the first tool to keep opposing forces at bay, but when bullets run out, all’s left is one weapon: the body. Though, the question remains, “which art of unarmed fighting is the best?”
Combat fighting techniques in the military/special forces must be maintained with minimum time and effort. The majority of a soldier’s time should be spent polishing his own fighting skills and teaching these skills to others. If a training program is kept too fresh, with new styles added too regularly, soldiers can become confused, less confident, and more vulnerable to attacks.
The best martial art is one that can help in the fulfillment of a specific mission. Although a certain art may be considered excellent, it would miss the point and become useless if it does not specifically address a military unit mission. For example, if the objective of a unit is to rescue a captive, evade and escape techniques are the focuses of training. The martial art to be taught must be able to consider the physical conditions, especially in extreme conditions like hunger and exhaustion as these units are often exposed to.