Infantry: Pulling No Punches Without Pain


June 24, 2008:  A problem with learning hand-to-hand fighting techniques is that you cannot use the most effective moves in practice because people are liable to get hurt. This has long been a problem with martial arts schools, and over the years, various types of protective gear, using custom fitted foam-rubber padding, has been developed. Finally, in the 1990s, one of the martial arts training organizations went to work designing, building and testing a lightweight  plastic/foam ensemble that allowed full freedom of motion, but provided a high degree of protection. Weighing 7.5 pounds, the "High Guard" equipment eventually became popular with the military. First SOCOM, then the army and marines, adopted it. This gear was used more widely after the invasion of Iraq. That's because troops soon found that they spent a lot of time conducting raids. The rules-of-engagement emphasized keeping civilian casualties to a minimum, and it was soon discovered that martial arts were useful to quickly subdue unarmed, but hostile, Iraqis sometimes encountered. The "High Guard" gear allowed for full contact, very realistic training for troops headed for lots of raiding operations.




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