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Martial Arts/CQC Trg in CAF (split fm Probe of WPG soldier's suicide)


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First, let’s update the bayonet. We continue to issue every soldier a bayonet that does not justify its own weight. Replace it with a sturdy, well-honed utility knife with a high-quality steel blade. Leave the bayonet mounting hardware on the hilt for the rare cases in which it becomes necessary. Teach the soldier how to handle a rifle and bayonet, but let’s bring in a professional in improvised fighting techniques to help develop a useful combat system for it. Parade square parries and thrusts are only appropriate if the enemy has had similar instruction and is willing to fight by mutually understood rules. The Military Manual of Self-Defence (55) offers a series of aggressive alternatives to traditional bayonet fighting movements, its focus more on disabling the opponent than parrying until a clean point can be made. While not necessarily offering a full replacement to classic bayonet training, it does show that more options exist.

On possible approach is to incorporate in Army physical fitness training a structured martial arts program. A discipline can be selected to develop confidence, balance, reflexes, and close combat tactics. This program could include combat techniques; both unarmed and with a variety of weapons, including the bayonet, within a progressive format. This program could lead to every field soldier having recognized skill levels in a close quarter combat system that supports rather than confines reflexive responses in hand-to-hand combat. It should also provide advanced training and continuous skill maintenance throughout a soldier’s career.

We must continue to train our soldier in close quarter combat techniques, but it should be based on a rational analysis of the purpose and components of that training untainted by the romanticism of tradition.