American Combato System
American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao)™ is a comprehensive, in-depth martial art System. It is an “all combat” system — a system totally dedicated to close combat and self-defense, with and without weapons. It has no sporting or competition aspect. Nor does it adhere to any classical/traditional school of thought.
Before actually providing an outline of the techniques and methods that comprise the System, we thought it might be instructive to present a brief summary of what has gone into the creation and development of American Combato.
The Art derives from and has drawn upon the following arts and disciplines, among others: —
• All of the key “WWII methods” of close combat:
The Fairbairn System, The Applegate System, The O’Neill System, The Biddle System, The USMC Wartime Raider Course in Combat Judo, The USN V-5 Hand-to-Hand Combat System, The Feldenkrais System, and the Post-WWII close combat methods of John Styers, Robert H. Sigward, Charles Nelson, Caesar Bujosa, Jack Dempsey, and Bernard Cosneck
• Combat Ju-Jutsu
• Korean Tae Kwon Do (old school – Chung Do Kwan)
• Indian (Hindu) Varmannie
• Chinese Ch’uan Fa
• Chinese-Hawaiian Kenpo-Karate
• Western Boxing
• Rough-and-Tumble (“Street”, Alley, and Prison Fighting Methods)
• Weight Training and Related Methods of Progressive Resistance Exercise (Including methods of physical hardening and toughening, and miscellaneous conditioning methods and activities)
• Principles of Guerrilla Warfare
• Modern Individual Weaponry:
Handgun, Shotgun, Fighting Knife, Stick (various types), La Gana Tomahawk, Unconventional Improvised Weapons
• Professional Protective Principles and Tactics (Drawn from intelligence tradecraft, and bodyguard methods)
• Mental Conditioning For Violent Combat and Survival
(Many methods and approaches that enable the student to achieve fear control, the combat-ready mindset, situational awareness, interactive tactics, attack mindedness, necessary ruthlessness, desensitization to inflicting injury, immunity to surprise or shock when and if injured, etc. and so forth).
THE foregoing presents a fairly complete synopsis of the sources, methods, systems, and disciplines that have been drawn upon in developing the American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao)™ System. It should also be noted that there are a not inconsiderable number of innovations in the System that are original with its Founder.
Now, with that orientation in sources, we present an outline of the System’s techniques and skills:
Caution: Learning the correct performance of the techniques requires careful instruction from a qualified teacher. The skills in our System are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and must never be carelessly practiced or utilized unless one is in serious, imminent danger.
I – FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS AND FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS:
• How to stand, move, position oneself, maintain proper distance, walk-and-turn, and employ proper interactive tactics when encountering an unknown party(ies)
• Use of Cooper’s Color Code in acquiring the habit of properly adjusting one’s mind to the existing environment and circumstance, and to insure readiness to take immediate preemptive or counterattacking action
• Methods of fear control and use of fear energy so as to master the “fight or flight” response and to eliminate inhibiting blocks to instant action in a crisis
• Evasive steps, and the use of parrying
• The inward and outward circle blocks of ch’uan fa
• Principles of releasing a grip to one or both wrists, to one’s arm, or to a sleeve
• Understanding the hand-to-hand combative principles of maximum force, balance, leverage, momentum, and the employment of kiai
• How to cultivate and maintain the combat-ready mindset and attack mindedness
• The critical importance of deception, distraction, unscrupulous foul methods, good tactics, and the application of all of the effective elements and principles of personal combat when acting in self-defense or otherwise engaging an enemy in military close combat
• The vital points and areas of the human body that can reliably be assaulted in serious combat
• Eye gouging and jabbing, biting, seizing and crushing the testicles, ripping off the enemy’s ears, driving fingers into the nostrils, hooking the mouth, using anything at hand to assist one’s combative efforts — whether or not the adversary is armed
II – BASIC BLOWS:
1) The Chinjab Smash – utilized with and without Dempsey’s “falling step”/utilized with palm smash to kidney using lead hand/utilized with belt grab, arm or wrist grab, alternating hands striking, simultaneous two hand strike, followup with downward heel of hand smash -or- with wide-circling elbow or fist to solar plexus -or- fingertips jab to testicles/utilized with rapid succession of strikes using same hand/utilized with immediate conversion upon impact to “tiger’s claw” hold of face, then raise elbow and smash to deck/utilized following outward circle block, etc. Variation: Hooking heelpalm to jaw hinge, mental foramen nerve, or to temple
2) Straight Heelpalm Strike – lead or rearmost hand to nose, eye, or jaw. Variations: a) Whipping heelpalm to face, neck, sternum/solar plexus. b) Overhead circular heelpalm strike. c) Straight heelpalm thrust to sternum (taught by Fairbairn as the “rock crusher”).
3) Handaxe Chop – lead hand horizontal blows (short snap chop (with/without falling step), and full power chop. Variations: a) Vertical snap and vertical power chop. b) Simultaneous vertical chops with both hands.
4) Knee Attack – rearmost knee hits twice to testicles -or- knee hits testicles, then hits face as opponent doubles over. Variations: a) Single knee blow with “step through”. b) La Savate jumping knee attack.
5) Front Kick – ball of foot delivers a snapping-thrust kick to testicles/knees/shins (or to face, head, ribs, kidneys, spine, if opponent is on ground). Variations: a) Kick with crook of foot to testicles when attacker is too close for standard front kick and too far away for knee attack. b) Utilize pivot kick (O’Neill’s modified “roundhouse” kick no higher than groin level).
6) Side Kick – heel of foot drives to knee/shinbone target using minimum “chambering” action so as to derive full power (of karate) and full speed (of savate) forms of kicking. Edge of foot may be used as contact area (especially effective with heavy footwear). When employed individually the full side kick includes a “guarding arm” action. Variations: a) Fairbairn’s “flick kick” (roughly approximates karate’s side snap kick, but hits low at shinbone. b) Full side kick -or- “flick kick”, concluding with a scrape-stomp using bodyweight behind kick down shinbone, ending by crushing the instep. c) Back stomp kick is actually a derivative of the basic side kick, as leg and foot travel only a slightly different path during delivery, and the back stomp kick is almost exclusively employed in counterattacking an adversary who attacks from behind.
7) Hammerfist-Forearm Smash – Weapon is primarily the little finger side of the clenched fist (either padded portion of hand-edge or point nearest little finger knuckle contacts target) and blow is struck in same manner as handaxe chop (horizontal – two versions; vertical – two versions). Blow may include the little finger side of the forearm bone during delivery. Variations: a) Simultaneous delivery with both hands (ie to temples, to groin and kidney, etc.). b) Double arm slam (O’Neill’s counter to a attack from the side), using pivot or falling step, lead arm striking high; rear arm striking low.
8) Straight Punch – Palm-in (“vertical” fist style) only. Punch drives straight into sternum, using rearmost hand, with or without the falling step. Variations: a) Lead hand may distract. b) Exaggerated rotation of hips as punch hits adversary at one’s side (Nelson’s “swivel punch”). c) Uppercut punch variation — palm up — may be delivered when close in, to solar plexus or to testicles.
9) Throat Lock – arcing thumb and finger pincer grip locks onto enemy’s windpipe in a swift, smooth action. Great pressure is applied and grip pulls out, causing strangulation. Thumb and index finger, thumb and index and middle finger, thumb and index, middle, and fourth finger may be utilized, according o individual dexterity and preference. Variations: a) Half fist thrust to throat. b) Snap-jab with fore knuckle fist (as taught by Charles Nelson) to throat.
10) Ear Box – simultaneously smash both strongly cupped palms over the adversary’s ears (from front or rear). Variations: a) Seize ears upon impact and powerfully execute a “bow and arrow” action, ripping them off the head. b) Execute a single hand ear box, and as head turns upon impact and ear-boxing hand follows through, return with same hand and apply a handaxe chop to opponent’s neck or face. c) Good followup as ear box connects is a double thumb gouge to the eyes (inserting middle fingers into adversary’s ears so as to lock his head in place/or seize ears and knee testicles.
11) Backfist-Forearm Smash – our innovation. Instead of the karate backfist strike (which could easily fracture the delicate hand bone) we strike with the flat back of the forearm bone to the general facial target. The lead hand and arm (fist clenching tightly) is whipped into adversary’s face. Followup varies but must be immediate. Variation: With fist clenched and hand sharply canted, the upward circular backfist strike may be used against the testicles, solar plexus, or jaw.
12) Fingertips Thrust – fingers of hand are extended but not tensed, and thrust in a straight-line snappy delivery into eyes or throat. Care must be taken not to attempt to form a classical karate “spear hand” weapon which is very weak and impractical for most people. This technique is exclusively for application against the eyes (mainly) an the throat (secondarily). Use of lead or rearmost hand is acceptable; usually the lead hand is used and paves the way for followup kicking, etc.
13) Fingertips Jab – this technique utilizes the same hand formation as the ear box blow, but the point of impact is the fingertips, which are pressed together. Fairbairn developed this excellent blow which, like the throat lock, is executed in a swift arcing action up into the eyes, or under into the testicles or the solar plexus.
14) Tiger’s Claw – hand is formed as for a chinjab smash, but the clawed fingers are aimed forward and the hand is driven straight into the adversary’s face in a fast, powerful, piston-like action. Lead or rear hand may be used.
15) Forward Elbow Smash – executed on the lead side using a variant of the Thai boxer’s circular elbow smash, but always clenching the fist. Face/head area is the target. Variations: a) Utilizing a step-through, a more standard karate type forward elbow strike may be executed with the rearmost arm. b) Elbow smashes and jabs to all directions are excellent when close in. c) When in a ready position merely snapping the forward elbow up to the front effects a strong forward jab to an opponent’s face.
16) Snap Kick – contact point is the inside edge of the foot which is snapped smartly forward, using rearmost leg, into opponent’s knee or shinbone. A scrape-stomp down the shin bone ending by crushing the instep is the usual followup. Variation: a) Kick may be delivered without scrape-stomp. b) A hard thrusting version of this kick may be driven into the adversary’s lower leg, likely breaking it.
Final remarks about the sixteen Basic Blows: Those are the sixteen most important and practical blows of unarmed combat. We have culled them from every known method of hand-to-hand fighting, and in some instances refined and modified them so as to achieve even greater destructive efficiency than the blows originally provided (in their already devastating forms).
Attack Combinations and Counterattacks offer more and varied uses for these blows, and introduce new blows of a somewhat lesser but still valuable kind.
Only practice, practice, and still more practice will lead to combative proficiency with these valuable and proven methods of striking an enemy. Once mastered, these blows enable the individual skilled in their use to lash out without warning, under any conditions, anywhere, and strike viciously and decisively into vital target areas of the human body. These are not “pain inducers”. These blows cause injury and in many cases are potentially lethal. This is why they are effective and why they may be relied upon in serious emergencies to save your life.
Optimum speed, balance, power, and accuracy must become never-ending objectives when training and developing. No action in combat can ever be “too fast’, “too powerful”, “too accurate”, or delivered with “too much balance” on the combatant’s part.
You are always striving, always aiming to do better, always seeking just a little more speed, a little more power, and a little more accuracy, while being a little better balanced for optimum efficiency in followup.
III – ATTACK COMBINATIONS:
In point of fact we emphasize followup and relentless attack when we teach anything in our System. Even in the course of drilling students in Basic Blows, we employ numerous sequences and spontaneous combinations and variation moves that are ad libbed. However, we have a core system of formally developed and arranged Attack Combinations that serve, as they are acquired by the student, to achieve the following: —
• The mastery of the formal sequences per se, each one of which can often be applied and employed “as taught” in an actual combative encounter.
• They instill in every student the means by which he eventually grasps — intuitively — the process of combining combat moves, and his automatic, fluid, relentless followup in a battle situation becomes second nature.
• Students become committed to the idea and tactical imperative that they will always need to employ a barrage of combative actions — that “one shot stops” must never be anticipated or trained for.
• Psychologically, attacking relentlessly better enables the individual, once he goes into action, to utilize physical momentum combined with psychological shock, which frequently provides a near-certain victory against an attacker who believes his victim will be an “easy mark”.
• The physical momentum itself that is generated by attacking continuously increases one’s power and facilitates continuing to attack spontaneously, after one’s “combination” has been executed.
Our Attack Combinations, although very specific and formally developed, lead to an intuitive capacity to simply COMBINE actions, and to KEEP ON ATTACKING. Merely advocating to a pupil that he should “take his Basic Blows and use them in followups and combined attacking movements” is not enough. Such is of course what does occur with the expert in our System, but this cannot be an efficient way to develop expertise. There must be a definite curriculum to develop and to guide the acquisition of skills.
Just as boxers are trained by their coaches to develop specific boxing combinations that best suit themselves, and then the boxers are able to spontaneously improvise and reflexively “box”, so our approach — in the realm of close combat and self-defense, rather than boxing – achieves a similar objective.
At the 2nd Class Brown Belt Level our students are trained in one of our innovative approaches to developing their Attack Combinations for employment against multiple adversaries. This is Spontaneous Kata™, and it bolsters and augments their development of multiple attacker counteractions, which are taught in our Counterattacks curriculum. Spontaneous Kata™ provides all of the strong points of classical/traditional “kata” practice and the boxer’s shadowboxing method, with none of the shortcomings of either.
For promotion to Black Belt, 1st Degree a student must create six personal Attack Combinations that suit his unique physiology and developed attributes for combat.
Included in the Attack Combinations that we teach are additional Basic Blows, some throws and takedowns, and miscellaneous additional actions and tactics that round out the student’s capacity to devastate any adversary in any conceivable opportunistic manner, during a combative engagement.
The following list of our thirty primary Attack Combinations is not intended to instruct the reader in how they are done, but rather simply to provide a synopsis and reference “catalog” of what the curriculum entails:
1) Thrust/Wheel-in elbow smash/Chop
2) Thrust/Elbow smash/Chop
3) Thrust/Side kick
4) Distract/Punch/Knee attack
5) Distract?Knee attack/Chinjab smash
6) Distract/Inverted knuckle strike/Forearm blow/Chop
7) Handaxe chop/Handaxe chop/Knee attack
8) Handaxe chop/Wheel-in elbow smash/Elbow smash
9) Handaxe chop/Punch/Knee attack
10) Handaxe chop/Hand yoke/Knee attack
11) Handaxe chop/Knee attack/Ear box
12) Fingertips jab/Fingertips jab/Head butt
13) Fingertips jab/Handaxe chop/Knee attack
14) Fingertips jab/Knee attack/Chinjab smash
15) Side kick/Chinjab smash
16) Side kick/ Double handaxe chop
17) Chinjab smash/Knee attack/Knee attack
18) Chinjab smash/Elbow smash/Handaxe chop
19) “Cat’s” grab/Knee attack/Ear box
20) “Cat’s” grab/Knee attack/Simultaneous handaxe chops
21) Elbow smash/Handaxe chop/Uppercut punch
22) Double chop/Chinjab smash-to-tiger’s-claw-grip/Throw to deck
23) Double chop/Chinjab smash/Chinjab smash/Knee attack
24) Double chop/Chinjab smash/Knee attack/Chinjab smash
25) Double chop/Chinjab smash/Sidestep and handaxe chop
26) Throat lock/Heelpalm smash/Fingertips jab/Head butt
27) Throat lock/Heelpalm smash/Fingertips jab?Elbow smash
28) Front kick/Side kick/Handaxe chop
29) Front kick/Heelpalm strike
30) “The Grinder” – Modified tiger’s claw/Knee attack/Trap head and seize jaw/Snap neck
A student is taught an average of three (3) new Attack Combinations at each belt level. Generally, each student finds that at least one (sometimes two) of the new combinations are very much to his liking and are compatible with his physiology.
We believe, ultimately, that if a student truly masters six to eight of the formal Attack Combinations he will have more than achieved the preemptive offensive attacking capability that is required for optimum effectiveness in hand-to-hand combat. Note:— “Masters” does not mean merely “learns and can practice” or “remembers”. It means instilling the action in one’s nervous system and muscle memory by “burning” it into the motor nerves. This objective of mastery applies to whatever is taught, at all levels.
IV – COUNTERATTACKS:
We prefer the designation “counterattacks” to the one that we formally employed years ago: “self-defense techniques”. The reason pertains to our theory and philosophy af self-defense. We do not believe in a “defensive” approach to defending oneself. Rather, our entire method is built upon the premise that “When you are attacked, you attack your attacker!” (a concept that we first put into words and print in the early 1970’s, and that we originated both as guiding physical and philosophical martial art system doctrine. This was first expressed by us, although it has been “borrowed” (or one might say pirated) by many during the last 20-plus years.
We believe that the rational individual’s MOTIVE for engaging in any kind of battle should properly be “defense”. However, the MEANS that he must employ in order to be reality-oriented and to stand a reasonable chance of success against a determined and dangerous attacking enemy must be “offensive”, or attack-based. Hence our designation for those reactive skills that we train our students in for times when they are unable to preempt, is counterattacks.
Again, the following provides a catalog reference, not a description of how the skills are done. Technical performance must be acquired through qualified professional instruction.
In all we have about 125 counterattacking techniques in the American Combato System. Perhaps 150-175 or so, when you include variations. This pales in comparison to such arts as kenpo-karate, hapkido, aikijutsu, kuk sool won, and some of the ju-jutsu systems. In some instances a martial art might teach nearly 4,000 individual “self-defense techniques”. In excess of 500 up to 1st degree black belt is very, very common and usual.
With all due respect to all other systems and methods, we believe that such an approach is completely impractical, way too unnecessarily complex, and frankly impossible for the majority of students to acquire functionally reliable ability in. What is much more to the point and urgently relevant for those seeking practical close combat and self-defense ability is: THE FEWEST TECHNIQUES NECESSARY IS THE WISEST STANDARD FOR TECHNIQUE INCLUSION IN A COMBAT SYSTEM’S CURRICULUM, AND THE LESS “SPECIFIC” AND “LIMITED” A TECHNIQUE IN ITS APPLICATION AND ADAPTABILITY, THE BETTER.
The late Bruce Tegnér (an excellent self-defense teacher who was way ahead of his time) hit the nail on the head when he spoke of using “types” of defenses against “types” of attacks — since this makes for skills that are simpler, more generally adaptable, more easily learned, and much more readily retained and used automatically under real world conditions.
While we do not agree entirely with Bruce Tegnér’s philosophy of self-defense or with his personal selection of skills (we are frankly much more aggressively destructive in the techniques that we teach and advocate, and we disdain neither firearms nor the implementation of a war-footing when defending against dangerous criminal attackers — things that contrast with the late Mr. Tegnér’s approach) we salute this great teacher and deeply appreciate the inroads that he made in promulgating sensible and realistic self-defense for those who seek it.
We use thirty (30) key Situations which, when covered in training, impart all of our 125 core “techniques” (with variations) and provide the student with an infinite capacity to adapt, improvise, modify, expand, ad lib, and reflexively handle any crisis. For example, after learning the first half dozen counterattacks in American Combato the student has acquired a potentially unlimited means of applying and employing their general movements and principles in perhaps 100 or more “specific, individual attack predicaments”. As each serious student comes to appreciate: there are virtually unlimited possible uses for virtually every single one of the 125 counterattacks!
It must be kept in mind, moreover, that the Counterattacks blend and combine with the Basic Blows and with the Attack Combinations to expand possibilities exponentially. With only 26 letters every single word in the English language may be spelled — and new words may be created, endlessly. Our implementation of “core systems” of Attack Combinations and Counterattacks applies in a comparable way.
The American Combato Counterattacks are all contained and taught in the following situational modules:—
1) The two-hand frontal choke attack (includes variations of frontal choking with one or two hands, both freestanding and against a wall, and forearm choking against a wall, as well as two-hand choking from the side)
2) The two-hand rear choke attack
3) Tackle attempt (develops counterattacking reaction to thwart, as well as what to do if taken down)
4) Pushing, shoving, or rushing situations
5) The side headlock (including the frontal forearm strangulation attack)
6) The full-nelson attack (includes half-nelson counter, and amateurish but powerful arm-pinning)
7) One-hand frontal clothing (“lapel”) grabs (holding, pushing, pulling, pinning to wall or free standing)
8) Club swing (all variations, including strangulation attempts and wall pins using a club against the throat, etc., or choke attempt from behind with stick)
9) Kicking attacks
10) Frontal encumbering body holds (under and over the arms, upright or low-area grab)
11) Rear encumbering body holds (under and over the arms)
12) Shoulder turn-to-hit (including shoulder grab with/without pull, or shove, and “tapping” setup to punch)
13) Hammerlock (including all “comealong”, restraint, and control hold attempts)
14) Broken bottle attack
15) Boxer/fist fighter attack (various methods — all assuming a very dangerous and skilled opponent who uses his fists well)
16) Ground attack (assuming defender is on ground and being attacked by a standing adversary, and what to do if taken to the ground by an adversary. Also includes counterattacks when seated)
17) “Mugger’s” grip (numerous methods, including countering an attempt at garroting when a rope or cord is applied from behind)
18) Downward knife stabbing attacks
19) Upward knife stabbing attacks
20) Backhand knife stabbing/slashing attacks
21) Straight-in knife thrusting attacks (also, how to handle a poised knife attacker who jockeys about before committing to a lethal move)
Note: Knife counterattack training includes teaching
reactive methods when someone pulls a knife
unexpectedly, and how to handle every variation
of a knife threat predicament, where a knife is
held on the defender from the front, side, or rear
in any conceivable position.
22) Two-man attack (variations of how to handle a situation when cornered by two men)
23) Two-man attack (variations of how to handle a situation when seized from behind by one man, and attacked from the front by the second)
24) Unskilled punching attacks (how to deal with straight and “haymaker” type unskilled attacks with the fist)
25) Frontal pistol threats (all types; also includes threats from the side, and threats with a shoulder weapon [rifle, shotgun, etc.] )
26) Rear pistol threats (all positions, and includes threats with a shoulder weapon)
27) Side grab and pull (one or two-handed)
28) Three-man attack (variations of how to handle a situation when dealing with two men at sides, and one man in front, also — when there are two men at sides, only.)
29) Two – four man attack (variations of how to handle a situation when dealing with two or more attackers who confront and move in. Includes counterattacking when surrounded by multiple assailants)
30) Two-hand frontal clothing (“lapel”) grabs (includes holding, pushing, pulling, pinning to wall, etc.)
V – WEAPONS:
American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao)™ teaches and emphasizes modern hand-held weapons of both a manufactured and improvised kind. Students of demonstrated good character, attitude, and self-control are trained in the following, at the appropriate rank levels:
1) The stick (all types, but emphasis upon the walking stick, baton length stick, and the yawara hand stick. Basic stickwork, the Koga method, WWII commando techniques, and a complete series of brutally effective stickwork combinations)
2) The fighting knife (stiletto and “Bowie” configurations, and the folding knife. Offensive and defensive knifework, incorporating the Fairbairn-Applegate method and the Biddle-Styers method, as well as our own innovations and techniques – such as “neck traps”, etc.)
3) The La Gana American Tomahawk
4) The combat handgun (how to utilize all types of revolvers and semiautomatic pistols in real world combat — for personal defense (private citizens) and for official use (police officers, military servicemen, and intelligence or security professionals)
5) The shotgun and the carbine
6) Unconventional and improvised weapons (all conceivable “weapons at hand” and — for special needs of professionals with a “need to know” and official permission — the wire garrotte, the crossbow, the entrenching tool, the spring cosh, lapel dagger, pen-dagger, etc.)
VI – ANCILLARY SUBJECTS:
The following are taught and utilized — sometimes in special cases only, at other times as components integral to each student’s development and training — in the American Combato curriculum.
1) Weight training and other methods of progressive resistance physical training
3) Natural weapon conditioning
4) Physical toughening exercise
5) Relevant reading assignments and recommendations
C o n c l u s i o n
Our System is trademarked and copyrighted, and constitutes an intellectual property that we believe anyone reading the foregoing can appreciate has taken many years and much effort to create. We hope that other legitimate teachers, serious prospective students, and honest researchers will find this synopsis of the AMERICAN COMBATO (JEN•DO•TAO)™ syllabus and curriculum of value in appreciating this modern combat/self-defense System.