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Military Combat and Jujitsu

The purpose of this article is to briefly explore some of the differences between military combat training and self defense Jujitsu as taught at Budokai South in Aiken, South Carolina.

Each branch of the United States military (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) has some type of hand to hand combat training as part of the soldiers basic training, and periodic qualification requirements. Special Forces and other specialty groups require training that significantly exceeds that of basic training.

The modern era of military hand-to-hand (h2h) combat training began when William E. Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes developed a martial art termed Defendu that was published in works as early as 1926. This was a h2h combat system based on practical experience of Fairbairn and Sykes mixed with Jujitsu and boxing that was developed to train the Shanghai Municipal Police. This was later taught in expanded form to Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and Special Operations Executive (SOE) members during World War II. The original Defendu was oriented towards self-defense and restraint, while the Close Quarters Combat (CQC) system concentrated on rapid disabling of an opponent, with potentially lethal force. The militarized version of Defendu is described in Rex Applegate's book “Kill or Get Killed”.

There are three significant differences between military hand-to-hand combat training and self defense Jujitsu as taught at Budokai South. First, the purpose of military h2h combat is for military conquest where it is prudent to eliminate the enemy. Under these conditions there is no desire or purpose to seize, control, or arrest the enemy.

Second, it is necessary that the techniques taught to a mass group of soldiers have a maximum applicability while having a minimum complexity. To learn a complete martial art such as Jujitsu, it would be necessary for a soldier to train in it full time and exclusively for a few years. Basic training and many other military training programs are not able to devote that quantity of time to each solider for them to learn a complete Jujitsu system with 400-800 techniques. Thus, out of necessity, military training programs focus on the minimum number of skills and techniques that are likely to be useful and effective in a maximum number of situations. Similarly, military training programs are not geared to spend countless hours on each technique with each soldier. The techniques taught need to be simple to perform by the majority of soldiers with a minimum level of instruction and practice. At Budokai South, students are not constrained by the complexity or quantity of techniques due to the availability of time and detailed instruction in training.

The third significant difference is in the area of quality. Due to the limitations of time and resources available for each soldier to be trained, perfection is not an option. A soldier may successfully complete a hand-to-hand combat training qualification level with only a few minutes of instruction on each required technique and then demonstrates the execution of each technique a few times. For example, in military training, the definition of a successful demonstration of a throw may be simply that the attacker fell down. Whereas at Budokai South, each throw is practiced and critiqued until the attacker is thrown in the proper direction with the proper timing, body position, and with minimal effort. The difference between these two quality standards may be the difference between five minutes and five months of practice. This difference is largely the result of the time available for training. The military has strict requirements for training and deployment whereas, in the civilian environment, training and practice may continue until a very high level of proficiency is achieved.

Does this assessment somehow imply that soldiers trained in military hand-to-hand combat are not able to defend themselves in a real life attack? Absolutely not! Does this assessment somehow imply that training at Budokai South is better than the training received by our military armed forces? Absolutely not! This article simply showcases some of the differences in training methods and techniques. There are different training methods and different techniques for different purposes.

Budokai South Defensive Arts Institute
Minami Budo Ryu
Ju Jitsu / Aiki Jujitsu / Judo / Self Defense
Aiken, SC
Phone: (843) 864-3125
Email: newtobudokai@gmail.com

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