The Combat Boot — Part 37 of the Close Combat Files

Caution:The contents of this article are for education purposes only. The principles described are extremely dangerous and are for military close combat training and operations only. Their application applies solely to the military.

Combat kicks are the primary unarmed offensive and counter offensive option. These kicks are not sporting or traditional and in this edition of the close combat files I will explain the strengths and weaknesses of individual kicks for combat applications.

First, bare feet may be for martial arts and water sports but boots are for combat both to cover terrain and for military close combat. The late Mad Mike Calvert of British SAS fame killed a Jiu Jitsu trained Japanese officer in an encounter in a river and he attributed wearing his boots while bathing in that river while his Japanese enemy was bare footed as gaving him a considerable advantage.

Many traditional martial artists train and spar against each other bare footed but they do not fight against boot wearing combatants. Like the terrain related risks of bare foot travel the reality of having the foot stomped by the sole of a combat boot is devastating.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Many soldiers in countries where martial arts training is mainstream have extensive groundings in sport or traditional styles but these practises are far from primary options when carrying a pack and rifle and wearing boots and webbing or body armour.

The only time my combatants kick to the head is when their enemy is on the ground and the highest kick in close quarters combat is to below the knee joint.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The only other leg involved offensive action above the knee joint is the use of the knee to the groin as part of a stationary attack combination.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The only part of the boot that will contact with your enemy during an offensive or counteroffensive unarmed assault is the sole of the boot. The point of contact is the arch of the sole of the boot during an axe kick or leg stamp application. The arch of the boot will close around the shinbone directly below the knee joint reducing the risk of sliding off of the target.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The edge of the foot like in traditional kicks is never employed as this method would see the ankle joint in an out of alignment position and prone to injury. The reality is with out a blade attached to the edge of the sole of your samurai sandals that will cause a severe injury you are putting your own limb at risk.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Combat offensive assault kicking is fully committed stomping going right through and or down from the knee joint to the foot and ending on the ground and never is a sparring or sporting type snap out extension reaction type kick. Full commitment right through the limb to ensure you take out your target or your enemy has to get out of your attack line.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The key to combat kicks is the set up phase that comprises of dirty tricks, feints or distractions. The kicks for land warfare require the combatant to have an affinity with the ground and be in total control of their footing to enable them to employ fast powerful combat kicks. This requires the stability leg to be flat on the ground with the boot pointing vertically backwards and the rear hand being secured firmly on the thigh of the stability leg to form a stable platform to absorb contact shock and reduce the risk of ankle spraining or loss of footing.

Another advantage of the stability leg pointing backwards is that post kicking the boot will slide vertically along the ground with less likely hood of snagging on terrain related obstacles to reform a mobility guard position to employ required finishing techniques or contingencies.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Marine's applications of the leg stamp employ a modified variation of the hand on stability leg for coping with employment on the deck of a rolling ship. This variation sees the hand removed from the stability leg and utilised rearward and downward for maintaining balance and palm contact with the deck for stability in extreme conditions.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Front kicks in combat are not only difficult but also dangerous especially above the groin where they are slowed down considerably by load bearing and boot wearing. I was on a course recently where an exponent through such a kick at an instructor during demonstration and had his leg easily seized and was driven backwards into a tree where he dropped to the ground.

Round house type kicks in combat especially against formidable combatants are high risk and low result and will hardly have any effect when intercepted with a combat boot or met with a weapon. Sweeping is for demonstration or competition and the risks out way the results by considerable.

Combat kicks must incapacitate and decentralise your enemy to the point that they are unable to escape or combat your ground finishing techniques with your boots. You always finish your grounded enemy with your boots and never your hands, simply because if you have to bend down to strike your enemy on the ground with your hands he has the advantage of leg length to kick you from the ground.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

He also has the ability to seize your legs and tackle you.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Combat ground incapacitation or elimination methods with the boot or boots are devastating and terminal. The amount of force delivered to a target when stomped on is concentrated and incredible. Ground finishing kicks must be set up and incorporate dirty tricks feints or deception. Some dirt in the eyes a false offer of assistance or pre employment set ups involving hand and arm movements to take the attention away from the boots.

The key to achieving your ground-finishing objective with your boots is not exposing your delicate and venerable parts of your own lower leg and foot to injury from kicks executed by your grounded enemy. Even with boots on injuries can occur if you get it wrong.

I have seen the end results of high leg raise back of the heel dropping techniques like you would see executed from a much lower height to make a dent in the ground to place a football in preparation to kick a field goal.

The reality is that while this may get the desired result on many occasions there is a risk of damage to the Achilles if the application is not accurate and the rule of true military close combat is to reduce the risk factor to the lowest possible level with out reducing effectiveness.

Many racquet sport players know how devastating Achilles injuries are. If there is a safer and more effective option that is easier then employ it.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The heel stomp is less effort to employ requires less time to employ is executed from a lower height reducing the risk of your enemy having time to recognise and counter it. The application involves a natural set up that acts as a distraction and a means of cocking the stamping leg. The heel stomp can be employed to incapacitate by targeting the ankle or knee joints or to eliminate by targeting major vitals.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The football kick employs the hard toe end of the boot to soft targets such as the crotch or take out targets such as the nape of the neck. The correct application of the football kick requires target centring and a double arm cocking distraction and follow through. The kick itself is low to the ground immediately prior to impact contacting with the centre of the hardened front toecap.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The Bronco kick is deadly and is only intended for enemy elimination period. There is a risk of loss of balance after target contact however if both targets are achieved with the heels of both boots and the ankle joints are locked rigid the result will be fatal for your enemy.

Close Combat

 

The most important aspect of combat kicks as far as self safety goes is that the foot is in the same position of alignment as when flat on the ground when standing or walking at point of impact. The only variation to the rule is in the axe kick application where the knee and hip are turned out enabling the arch of the boot to encircle the shinbone below the knee but still keeping the correct ankle joint alignment.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Combat kicks are the most guaranteed form of unarmed offensive or counter offensive assault as they provide maximum reach and the boot is far more robust than bare hands. Very large strong muscles that can achieve maximum levels of unarmed contact impact power them. Combat kicks incorporate forward sliding momentum like a baseball home base slide combined with a bowling ball knocking over the pins action.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

High levels of safety under entry execution are maintained by being able to ensure your head is out of range of any counter punches.

Combat kicks can also be employed in the CQ clinch where the use of your arms may not be possible because of being held in an arms and body hold. They can be employed in confined spaces or when your hands are bound and tied like in POW situations or sexual abductions. You could be in a phone box or toilet and the CQ clinch stomping leg stamps and axe kicks would be the best offensive option.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

X-ray image showing a normal knee (left) and a dislocated knee (right)

X-ray image showing a normal knee (left) and a dislocated knee (right)

Your enemy may hold you in such a way that you cannot get to his eyes throat or groin but because he is standing on legs and feet he is venerable to being stomped. These stamping kicks primarily target the knee joint with the objective of dislocation followed by ripping down the shin front and smashing with the heel of the boot the small bones of the foot.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

When the knee joint is taken out there is no stand up fight anymore or any chase. Outside taking your enemy out, destroying his leg is the only way to put him down and keep him down.

The devastating result of a kick to the knee, dislocated knee

The devastating result of a kick to the knee, dislocated knee

On the opposite side of the encounter to combat being kicked tactically correct evasion and counter offensive assault options are employed or if taken unawares leaving no time for evasion the kick is countered with a kick.

The incoming kicking or stability leg which ever presents itself first is intercepted with the hard arch of the sole of the boot on the shin stopping the attacker in his tracks.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Effective kicks can also be employed on the ground prior to or during recovering your footing.

These ground recovery kicks are ground applications of the axe kick if you are flat on your back or the leg stamp if you are on your side.

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

Close Combat Files - The Combat Boot

 

The previous combat kicks and ground take out kicks are for military battlefield employment only and are standard inclusions in the Todd Systems military programmes.


Interested in Close Combat Training? Todd Group Depots are located throughout New Zealand and at various overseas locations.

For more information on Todd System of Close Combat see the following books, dvds and cds:

  • Close Combat Books
    The Do's and Don'ts of Close Combat – Tactical C&R – Control and Restraint – No Nonsense Self Defence – Military Close Combat Systems Phase One – Combative Masters Of The 20th Century
  • Close Combat DVDs
    Self Defence of the Elite – 80 Years of Combative Excellence – Primary Option Control & Restraint – Military Unarmed Combat – Phase 1
  • Close Combat CDs
    Technique To Command – Combative Code of Conduct

Article written by Tank Todd

Special Operations CQB Master Chief Instructor. Over 30 years experience. The only instructor qualified descendent of Baldock, Nelson, and Applegate. Former instructors include Harry Baldock (unarmed combat instructor NZ Army WWII), Colonel Rex Applegate OSS WWII and Charles Nelson, US Marine Corps. Tank has passed his Special Forces combative instructor qualification course in Southeast Asia and is certified to instruct the Applegate, Baldock and Nelson systems. His school has been operating for over eighty years and he is currently an Army Special Operations Group CQB Master Chief Instructor. His lineage and qualifications from the evolutionary pioneers are equalled by no other military close combat instructor. His operation includes his New Zealand headquarters, and 30 depots worldwide as well as contracts to train the military elite, security forces, and close protection specialists. Annually he trains thousands of exponents and serious operators that travel down-under to learn from the direct descendant of the experts and pioneers of military close combat. Following in the footsteps of his former seniors, he has developed weapons, and training equipment exclusive to close combat and tactical applications. He has published military manuals and several civilian manuals and produced DVDs on urban self protection, tactical control and restraint, and close combat. He has racked up an impressive 100,000+ hours in close combat.

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