U.S. Army Combatives – FM 3-25.150

1-03 Basic Principles

1-3. BASIC PRINCIPLES

Underlying all combatives techniques are principles the hand-to-hand fighter must apply to successfully defeat an opponent. The natural progression of techniques, as presented in this manual, will instill these principles into the soldier.

a. Mental Calm. During a fight a soldier must keep his ability to think. He must not allow fear or anger to control his actions.

b. Situational Awareness. Things are often going on around the fighters that could have a direct impact on the outcome of the fight such as opportunity weapons or other personnel joining the fight.

c. Suppleness. A soldier cannot always count on being bigger and stronger than the enemy. He should, therefore, never try to oppose the enemy in a direct test of strength. Supple misdirection of the enemy’s strength allows superior technique and fight strategy to overcome superior strength.

d. Base. Base refers to the posture that allows a soldier to gain leverage from the ground. Generally, a soldier must keep his center of gravity low and his base wide-much like a pyramid.

e. Dominant Body Position. Position refers to the location of the fighter’s body in relation to his opponent’s. A vital principle when fighting is to gain control of the enemy by controlling this relationship. Before any killing or disabling technique can be applied, the soldier must first gain and maintain one of the dominant body positions (Chapter 3, Section I).

f. Distance. Each technique has a window of effectiveness based upon the amount of space between the two combatants. The fighter must control the distance between himself and the enemy in order to control the fight.

g. Physical Balance. Balance refers to the ability to maintain equilibrium and to remain in a stable upright position.

h. Leverage. A fighter uses the parts of his body to create a natural mechanical advantage over the parts of the enemy’s body. By using leverage, a fighter can have a greater effect on a much larger enemy.


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