After the Second World War, Combatives has been developing in two directions. First, there were militaristic combatives, which formed the basis of the hand-to-hand combat guidelines for the armed forces of the world.
The US Army and Marine Corps’ post-war guides of the hand-to-hand combat were based on the experience of the Second World War and the work of Fairbairn, Sykes, Applegate, and other wartime instructors. The first guide of this kind called FM 21-150 was released in 1954, and it is believed that it was based on the system of Dermot “Peta” O’Neill, Fairbairn’s Shanghai collaborator, who was a war-time coach of the renowned American-Canadian “Devil’s Brigade” commanding officers. Most of the techniques and tactics from this guide have moved to the following guidelines from 1971 and 1992, which, in their turn, became a guideline for similar instructions and manuals of the NATO members and other countries of the world. These techniques were tested with time and with many local wars throughout the twentieth century all around the globe.
In 2002, some cardinal changes to the military combatives concept happened. Back then, the new guideline FM 3-25.150 COMBATIVES was published. The main difference between the new version and the previous programs was “the postponement of the fighting skills use solely for destruction and their differentiation to actions according to the situation.” Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques and some techniques of sword fighting and “police” techniques of detention and control became the basis of the new system. The founder of the system was Matt Larsen, the First Class Sergeant who founded the US Army Combat School in Fort Benning. The new system became more “sporty” and it was aimed at the execution by the fighters of the police functions. It lost many functions that used to be the key to the effectiveness of the old school combatives.
The second direction was militaristic combatives techniques adaptation to the needs of peacetime and civil defense. The most famous of such systems is the Israeli krav maga, which was created in the ‘30s and the ‘40s of the 20th century by Imi Lichtenfeld for the needs of the Israeli army. In the beginning of the ‘60s, some of Lichtenfeld’s students acting according to their own initiative began teaching some krav maga elements to civilians. In the 1980s, the true “boom of popularity” to krav maga has begun and many organizations, schools, and groups have appeared around the world. It is worth mentioning that even in the new form adapted for civilians; krav maga attracted the attention of the law enforcement bodies. This is why today, krav maga and its variations are included in training programs of many special services, armies and special units around the globe.
The great contribution to combatives for civilians’ development and spreading belongs to Master Charles Nelson and one of his most famous students, Carl Cestari: it is thanks to them that WW2 combatives have gained their popularity again.
These are some modern systems that continue the traditions of classical combatives, but are adapted to the needs of the time that should be mentioned:
KFM (Keysi Fighting Method) is one of the first modern combatives systems created by Spaniard Justo Dieguez and British Andy Norman, who were Jeet Kune-Do instructors. This system uses “total” elbow defense with both hands and powerful counter attacks within close range with elbows, head, knees, and palms. It became popular because KFM instructors directed fight scenes in some well-known films like “Batman,” “Mission Impossible,” and others. In 2012, co-founders broke up and created two independent systems – Defense Lab (Andy Norman) and Keysi by Justo Dieguez.
SPEAR System by Tony Blauer was created in the ’80s and it was based on reflexes and human biomechanics. It uses simple natural movements and allows learning fast the simplest skills of self-defense. The elements of this system became a part of the US Army Modern Combatives program.
Urban Combatives by Lee Morrison. Lee Morrison was a student of Charles Nelson for a long time. He practiced various martial arts and gained unique experience of street fights in dangerous areas of London, Portsmouth, and Southampton. For many years, he worked as a bouncer in nightclubs. His system is very close to the Combatives of the Second World War times.
ISR Matrix is a system created in the 1990s by Paul Sharp, the US police veteran, and Louis Gutierrez, who has worked for many years in the nightclub security. ISR means to intercept, to stabilize, and to resolve (the problem). It is based on specific skills of the entrance to the hand-to-hand combat and the neutralization of the enemy’s attacks.
ICS (Integrated Combat System) by Peter Sciarra from Australia. Peter is a fighter with more than 20 years of experience; he studied from Hock Hochheim, the most famous Australian expert in hand-to-hand combat Close Quarter Combat. Peter has also worked for many years in the nightclubs’ security and has extensive experience of real fights. This system differentiates with a unique plastic manner of the fight that harmoniously combines striking and wrestling techniques.