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The five tactical rules to follow in a close combat situation.

Close combat fighting tactics

The following are key tactical concepts that should be followed in a close combat situation. Each rule by itself is not a standalone idea but rather is intended to be combined with the other rules to achieve an effect that is greater than their separate sum.

Achieving a Decision

Achieving a decision is important in close combat. An indecisive fight wastes energy and endangers your life. Whether the intent is to control an opponent through restraint or defend yourself, you must have a clear purpose before engaging in close combat and act decisively once engaged.

Gaining an Advantage

A basic principle of martial arts is to use the opponent’s strength and momentum against him to gain more leverage than one’s own muscles alone can generate, thereby gaining an advantage. In close combat, you must exploit every advantage over an opponent to ensure a successful outcome. This can include employing various weapons and close combat techniques that will present a dilemma to an opponent. Achieving surprise can also greatly increase leverage. You should try to achieve surprise through deception, stealth, and ambiguity.


Use speed to gain the initiative and advantage over the enemy. In close combat, the speed and violence of the attack against an opponent provides you with a distinct advantage. You must know and understand the basics of close combat so you can act instinctively with speed to execute close combat techniques.


Close combat can be characterized by friction, uncertainty, disorder, and rapid change. Each situation is a unique combination of shifting factors that cannot be controlled with precision or certainty. For example, a crowd control mission may call for you to employ various techniques ranging from nonlethal restraint to more forceful applications. Combatants who adapt quickly will have a significant advantage.

Exploiting Success

Typically, an enemy will not normally surrender simply because he was placed at a disadvantage. You cannot be satisfied with gaining an advantage in a close combat situation. You must exploit any advantage aggressively and ruthlessly until an opportunity arises to completely dominate the opponent. You must exploit success by using every advantage that can be gained.

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