U.S. Army Combatives – FM 3-25.150

2-07 Pit Construction


A common area for teaching hand-to-hand combat is a sawdust pit. Sawdust pits are designed to teach throws and falls safely, but are not very suitable for ground fighting. Figure 2-1 shows a training area for 200 soldiers with a sawdust pit surrounding an instructor and a demonstrator platform.

Figure 2-1. Combatives training pit.

Figure 2-1. Combatives training pit.

a. To construct the pit, dig out and level an area 50 meters wide, and build a retaining wall at least 24 inches high. The wall can be cinderblocks, sandbags, or dirt if other materials are not available. (To prevent injuries when using a cinderblock retaining wall, cover the wall and the top of the wall with sandbags.) Place a layer of plastic sheeting on the ground to prevent the growth of grass and weeds, and place a sand base up to 12 inches deep on top of the plastic. Then, place a layer of sawdust about 6 inches deep on top of the sand.

b. Build a 14-foot square demonstration area (Figure 2-1) in the center of the pit with the same type of retaining wall described in paragraph a. This area should be large enough for two demonstrators and the primary instructor.

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