combatives training

What Combatives Should I Study Along With Shooting Skills?

You may have to defend yourself with means other than a gun, which is why combatives aka martial arts or hand-to-hand combat systems exist. You may not be able to get to a gun; you may have to fight your way into getting your gun out.

That said, there are many out there and not all are actually worth much. Plenty are great as forms of exercise, but not all are worth a whole lot in the real world.

Besides having a concealed carry gun in a holster on a gun belt? Here are a few. All are available to civilians, are known and proven to work in the real world, and will be available in many areas.


mixed martial arts

Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is a modern combat sport where a person uses strikes, grappling and takedowns as well as submissions to knock out or submit an opponent. MMA gyms that teach all of those aspects. Some, however, will specialize in or another aspect, but many out there are generalistic in scope.

It's proven to work, so efficacy is a known quantity. However, it tends to favor the already fit, so you should be aware of that.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

jiu jitsu

Brazilian jiu jitsu, for those unaware, is something like a form of wrestling that includes a wide variety of submission holds. Most techniques take place on the ground, so it's a form of ground fighting. Since most wrestling matches and fights wind up on the ground, might as well focus on it. Submission holds such as arm bars, wrist locks, ankle locks and chokeholds abound.

BJJ, as it's called, is a technique-first art; the largest and strongest don't have an advantage over the technically proficient. That said, it's been proven effective in mixed martial arts competition and also in combat, as BJJ techniques have been heavily incorporated into military combative programs (including both the Army and Marine Corps) as a result.

If you get in a fight, it will probably go to the ground, where it is hard to draw a handgun. This is how you fight from there.

Western Boxing


Boxing, the noble art of punching someone, has a long history in the western world - and elsewhere - dating back thousands of years. Punching someone into submission or indeed unconsciousness will always work. A broken nose or concussion will deter almost any attacker, either putting them down or giving you the necessary time to get away or get to your concealed carry gun.

For the average person, it's a form of non-lethal self-defense, though the right blow can certainly deliver incredible trauma. Boxing gyms are also a great way to keep in shape as they will work you pretty hard.


judo combatives

Judo, for those unaware, is a Japanese style of jacket wrestling created in the late 1800s as a sport for the purposes of national health. Grappling, throws and takedowns and ground submissions are all included, so it goes from standing to the ground. Today, it's a global sport and part of the Olympics.

People get up quite slowly after suddenly landing on the flat of their back.

Though it would seem physical strength must be the most important aspect, leverage comes more from good technique, so all but the frailest of people can gain something from it. Military and police combatives programs, as well as MMA competitors, all practice it or at least judo techniques to great effect. Submission holds are somewhat less accentuated by some schools, though it depends on whether you go to a traditional gym or a competition-oriented school.

Greco-Roman And/Or Freestyle Wrestling

greco-roman wrestling

Western wrestling involves grappling, throws and takedowns, and various techniques to put a person on their back and pin them to the ground. The two major styles are freestyle, which tends to emphasize takedowns from the legs, and Greco-Roman, which emphasizes throws, tossing people through the air and/or slamming them to the ground.

Each is a proven method of putting a person on the ground, and holding them there. Each is an Olympic sport, and each is practiced world-wide.

However, they can be unforgiving in terms of injuries and tend to be more easily practiced by the young. That said, there are plenty of gyms and clubs all across the country.

Muay Thai

muay thai combatives

Muay Thai is a kickboxing sport and martial art from Thailand, though very similar sports/martial arts arose in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, India and Malaysia. It emphasizing kicks with the shin, elbow strikes, punches and working from a clinch.

This, along with other forms of kickboxing, is a mainstay in mixed martial arts as well as modern military combative programs. It's a tried, tested and proven method of putting a hurting on someone, though it is definitely more for the young and firm.


sambo combatives

Sambo is a Russian martial art system, cribbed from multiple sources including boxing, wrestling, judo and others. It was devised for the Russian military, and is an eclectic system including strikes, throws, takedowns, grappling and submissions, so you get pretty much everything at once.

The name is an acronym translating to "self-defense without weapons." The sport versions are fairly diffuse and while differing from the version taught to Russian armed forces, but the sporting variants are still effective forms of combatives. Sporting sambo varies by gym, as some are a little harder-edged than others. Since it has military origins, anything not effective was left out and it has been used effectively by police, their military and a number of MMA champions and high-level competitors.

Krav Maga

krav maga combatives

Krav Maga is the combatives program developed for the Israeli army, as is fairly well-known. It's hyper-realistic, relying on instinctual movements and attacking vulnerable points and with as much aggression as a person can summon. It's eclectic as well, including strikes, grappling, takedowns and throws and submissions, ground fighting and everything else that's usable.

This is what they learn, along with Israeli carry.

The overriding theory is that when attacked, to respond with the utmost of aggression and efficacy, doing whatever one has to do and attacking the threat until the threat stops. It's been proven effective, as it's taught all over Israel to the IDF and police forces.

It's one of the most effective systems of combatives that civilians can participate in, to be sure.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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