U.S. Army Combatives – FM 3-25.150

2-02 Safety Precautions


To prevent injuries, the instructor must consider the following safety precautions before conducting combatives training.

a. Supervise all practical work closely and constantly. Never leave a group unsupervised.

b. Familiarize the soldiers with each maneuver by a complete explanation and demonstration before they attempt the moves.

c. Do not allow the soldiers to get ahead of the instruction.

d. Ensure the training partner offers no resistance, but allows the maneuver to be freely executed during the learning stages and while perfecting the techniques.

e. Ensure there is adequate space between soldiers during all practical work- for example, allow at least an 8-foot square for each pair of soldiers.

f. Ensure that soldiers empty their pockets, and remove their jewelry, and identification tags before training.

g. Stress that only simulated strikes to vital points, such as the head, neck, and groin area are to be executed. Soldiers may use light blows to other vulnerable areas; however, they must exercise caution at all times.

h. Ensure that soldiers understand the use of both physical tapping and verbal signals to indicate to the partner when to stop the pressure in grappling and choking techniques.

i. Make sure soldiers warm up and stretch properly before practical work.

j. Teach and practice falls before conducting throws.

k. Ensure that the soldier to be disarmed does not place his finger in the trigger guard during rifle and bayonet disarming.

l. Make sure soldiers keep scabbards on knives and bayonets firmly attached to rifles while learning bayonet disarming methods.

m. Use bayonet scabbards or rubber knives during knife disarming training.

n. If utilizing a sawdust pit, inspect all sandbags on retaining wall before conduct of training to ensure that all bags are serviceable, at least 75 percent full, and that the entire retaining wall is covered with sandbags. Any bag placed where personnel are likely to fall will be filled with the same consistency filler as the sawdust in the pit and will also provide a minimum of 6 inches of sawdust.

o. Maintain a buffer zone of 6 feet from retainer wall and demonstration area during all training, especially training requiring throws and takedowns by students.

p. Rake the training pit to loosen sawdust and remove all sharp objects. Properly inspect the pit so that all safety hazards are removed before instruction or demonstrations are executed.

q. Perform inspections of the depth of sawdust with enough time before training to resurface the pit. Remember that new sawdust will need to be raked and inspected for foreign objects that may cause injuries.

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