Combatives History

Combatives, how western is it?

Today, arguably, the most often taught and practiced techniques world wide are those that are of Japanese origin. This is perhaps because they were codified and structured to be taught in a systematic way or because they are one of the few systems that have survived intact in an unbroken genealogy (in numerous instances) till today.

As far as the present is concerned and specifically the content of this site, we cannot talk specifically about Combatives as a system without discussing where its roots lie and who are ultimately responsible for its present day form as it is currently taught throughout the western world.

The roots of Combatives as they are practiced today are often presented as “western techniques” developed for use on the battlefield. Although this is one opinion, there are some facts one should not ignore, the most important of which is the fact that the fathers of western Combatives as we know them today had very extensive training in mainly Japanese combative systems and one of them, also had a short period in a Chinese system.

Another fact is that at that point in history, Britain (and later the United States) was already at odds with the Japan; it was hardly likely that the British or later the Americans would accept a Japanese martial art form being taught as such to the troops since an anti Japanese sentiment was prevalent with a strong “us against them” climate which was the order-of-the-day. It would have been what we call today “politically incorrect”.

With respect to these two points it is only logical to assume that the allies would tout their Combatives system as a “western” invention.