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The Military Institutes Hand to Hand Combat Training

Although formalized instructions in hand to hand combat became a paramount concern to military experts around the world during the Second World War, a person interested in the development of hand to hand combat techniques and training in the 20th century actually needs to step back in time to World War I. Indeed, it was during World War I -- the infamous Great War -- that trench warfare and hand to hand combat became viciously intense and forever changed the face of modern military combat. During World War I there were more than 40,000 kilometers -- more than 24,000 miles -- of trenches along the Western front alone. It was within and around these trenches that some of the most brutal and horrific hand to hand combat in all of history occurred. In the aftermath of the conflict, the leaders of many of the countries involved in the Great War concluded that their own forces simply were not well prepared when it came to hand to hand combat. As a result, many countries moved to implement very specific hand to hand combat training regimens within their basic military training programs.

As World War II emerged on the horizon, countries including the United States and United Kingdom focused a great deal of time and energy in military training on hand to hand combat techniques. In point of fact, at some point during this period in the United States, the motto that was emblazoned on a Marine training facility was: "Let's be damned sure that no boy's ghost will ever say, 'If your training program had only done its job.'" Doing the job -- getting the job done effectively -- included intensive hand to hand combat training. Training in the ways and means of hand to hand combat became crucial. Ultimate military success and defeat of the enemy might well depend on how well soldiers were trained in hand to hand combat during the Second World War.

Interestingly, in the United States (and in other Allied nations), when it came to training servicemen for hand to hand combat, a great deal of time was spent implementing what were essentially martial arts techniques and practices as well as submission fighting skills. These hand to hand combat techniques largely were of Oriental origin; many of these techniques were created or refined in Imperial Japan, the nation that ultimately pulled the pin that brought the United States fully onto the World War II battlefields in both Europe and the Pacific. Since hand to hand combat instruction became an institutionalized part of the basic training regimen, learning hand to hand combat principles and techniques has remained an elementary part of basic training regimens the world over. Indeed, even in the early 21st century, hand to hand combat training programs are well ingrained and major components of basic training regimens across the globe. ZZZZZZ .


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