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Hand to Hand Combat Survival Guide


In this survival guide we will go over some hand to hand combat techniques that will not only help you to defend yourself, but to kill your attacker with your bare hands.  Sound harsh?  Too bad, we live in the real world where murderous intent is requisite for any post-apocalyptic situation.

Here’s the scenario…

It’s 2020, last night’s firefight left you without ammunition, and your knife is a couple miles away buried in one of the attackers’ skull.  Shit happens.  Now you’re traveling through the mean streets of Apocalypse L.A. with no means of defending yourself, other than your bare hands.  Unfortunately, someone ten times more desperate than you has spotted you.  He’s hungry, and you look like filet mignon to him.  You only have one option, defend yourself and kill him.

Hand to Hand Combat Stance

Facing the attacker, have  your feet at shoulders length apart, with your arms forward, parallel to one another, and bent at the elbows.  Your knees should be slightly bent, with your weight on the balls of your feet.  Always maintain this stance when not striking.

Always keep your balance, this day and age with the latest MMA craze people are more than willing to knock you off your feet, and if they get your back…you’re fucked.  I’m not going to pretend to ‘teach’ you jiu-jitsu, having you read articles and look at a bunch of pictures, but it wouldn’t be that bad of an idea to take some classes seeing how it’s the #1 martial art in America.

Aggressiveness through TEMPO

A common thread in with many of our articles relevant to combat is aggressiveness and tempo.  Simply defending yourself will never win any fight.  Once, the first moves been made your aggressiveness and tempo needs to outweigh your attackers.  If you’re aggressiveness doesn’t outweigh your attacker’s, you’ll be his dinner in a couple hours.

Your Body’s Natural Weapons

Natural weapons are parts of your body that can be used to attack someone such as; the heel of your hands, the knife of your edge hand, fingers folded at the second knuckle, elbow, knees, fists, your feet (boots), and teeth. Ladies be advised fingernails don’t count because this is life and death, and scratching doesn’t really do anything…

No Fair Fights in The Wasteland

The days of two men honorably dueling are long gone, especially when the shit hits the fan.  When you’re fighting for your life you use every advantage available to you.  Nothing is off limits, and whatever you have to do to win this fight, do it..

Strike points that can cause death…

Temple – There is a large artery located at the temple, if struck with enough pressure can cause death, and will undoubtedly incapacitate your attacker.  You can use the knife edge of your hand, your boot, or anything that can deliver enough blunt pressure to inflict damage.

Eyes – The eyes are great strike points! You can blind the enemy, temporarily or permanently. Not only can you punch the attacker with a close first but you can fight dirty and gouge their eyes with your thumbs.  Surprisingly, it really doesn’t take much to get to the ocular cavity.

Nose – By hitting the bridge with your first, or the knife edge of your hand will cause severe pain, breakage, temporary blindness, and possible death.  Hitting the base of the nose where the nostrils are with the palm of your hand in an upward motion can launch the nose bone  right into the brain.

Upper Lip – It contains a lot of nerves at the surface, and if its hit hard enough the attacker will be rendered unconscious.

Chin – If you got a wicked right hook, hopefully the attacker has a glass jaw more fragile than Chuck Liddell’s, and you’ll be able to knock out the attacker.  Otherwise use the palm of your hand to keep from breaking your fingers on his chin.

Adam’s Apple – This is one of the most defended areas because people tend to keep their arms up to block any attacks but if you can find an opening, go for it, it’ll throw your attacker off his game, providing an opportunity to inflict more damage in other critical areas.  If you’re lucky enough to land a strong strike you could even crush his windpipe and game over.

Esophagus – Located right below the Adam’s Apple. If you can be in a position to push your thumbs into this spot will block oxygen flow to his lungs and death will be eminent.

Neck – Giving a strong blow to the base of the neck can break it. I wouldn’t waste time trying to be Jonny Kung Fu trying to break a man’s neck with a single blow. Instead later we’ll discuss strangles and holds.

Non-lethal, but very painful strike points…

Refer to the image for the location of these strike points. A couple of these points people will say ‘if struck hard enough’ can cause death, but I’m not talking to a hardened warrior, this guide is for beginners, because hardened warriors know all this and more.  Very painful strike points include; collar bone, shoulders, arm pit, rib cage, solar plexus, spine, kidneys, groin, tailbone, elbows, fingers, knees, and ankles.  Long story short, there’s plenty of places to strike but the ones listed above are the best and most effective.

Chokes and Strangleholds

As I was saying before, people will try to take you to the ground, and the #1 rule is don’t let them take your back. Chokes and strangleholds are an effective way to control or kill your attacker. Choking implies cutting off the air supply, strangling cuts off the blood supply. Strangling is the more affective and painless way to eliminating an enemy, but we’ll go over both. Note, this is sourced from True Death.


  1. Place the left palm facing upward on the enemy’s left shoulder.
  2. Take the right arm across and in front of the neck with the right hand on the left. Ensure that the inside cutting edge of the wrist is towards the throat.
  3. Claps the hands together.
  4. Pull the cutting edge of the right wrist into the throat in an inwards and upwards manner, using the body as a block.
  5. With the legs wrapped around the enemy’s body, work the right arm in front of the throat clasping the left hand. Pull the wrist tightly into the throat controlling the body with the legs. If he pulls his chin in, draw the head back with the left hand , grabbing the arm – drive the right arm into the throat, then quickly clasp the hands again.

Special Points: Essential to pull the enemy into the body for maximum effect, using the cutting edge of the wrist.

Sliding Scarf

  1. Place the right hand round and in front of the enemy’s throat.
  2. Continue the movement round to the back of the neck, placing the thumb inside the clothing.
  3. Take a firm hold of the clothing with the right hand, with the fingers outside and to the rear.
  4. Bring the left arm round in front and underneath the right arm.
  5. Grab the clothing with the thumb inside and fingers out.
  6. Keeping the enemy’s body pulled tightly back into your own pull across and to the right with the right arm and down and across to the left with the left arm.
  7. With the legs wrapped around the enemy’s body work both arms around the front of the neck.
  8. Manipulate the right hand round the back of the neck grabbing the collar with the thumb inside, fingers out, simultaneously grabbing the cloth under the right arm with the left hand.
  9. Apply pressure by pulling the right arm across and back to the right with the left arm pulling across and down to left. Keep the head well in.

Special Points: Essential that the right hand be placed as far round the neck as possible in order to attain the maximum leverage.

Cross Scissors

  1. Place the right hand inside the opponents clothing to the rear and right side of his neck, with the fingers inside and thumb out.
  2. Take the left hand across and over the right and attack it in a similar manner on the left side.
  3. Squeeze the neck tightly by pulling the hands back across in scissors action driving the elbows out to the side.
  4. With the enemy facing – cross the hands and work to the sides and back of the neck grabbing the clothing, fingers inside and thumb out.
  5. Apply pressure by pulling the elbows out to side. This attack is good when the enemy is laying on their back.

Special Points: Essential that the hands are placed well to the rear of the neck for maximum leverage. Can also be accomplished with palms facing down or alternate one up, one down depending on circumstances.

Forearm Choke

  1. Place the right hand thumb inside, fingers out, on the enemy’s clothing to the right side of his neck.
  2. Grab the front of the clothing with the left hand, fingers inside, thumb out. 3. Drive the outside cutting edge of the right arm into the side of the neck grabbing the clothing, thumb inside, fingers out.
  3. Grab the clothing at the front with the left hand and apply pressure by driving the outside cutting edge of the right arm into the throat.
  4. Effective against the floor or a wall where the opponent cannot learn back away from the direction of the force.

Special Points: Essential to keep the right elbow high and use the cutting edge of the wrist.

Wind Pipe Choke

  1. Holding the opponent with the left hand make a vice with the right hand.
  2. Grab the windpipe, fingers on the right side, thumb on the left.
  3. Squeeze the wind pipe tightly trying to make a fist with the right hand.
  4. Grab the enemy around the neck with the right arm spreading the legs wide to ensure a firm base.
  5. Grab the windpipe with the left hand squeezing the fingers and thumb together to make a fist.
  6. In addition to the windpipe choke – adopting the same position – the thumb of the left hand can be driven into the eye applying pressure inside and out.

Special Points: Essential that the windpipe only is grabbed and not too much of the neck. Fingers should be together for maximum effect on the squeeze.


  1. Place the hands with the fingers pointing to the sides of the enemy’s neck.
  2. Grab the clothing at the sides of the neck with the fingers inside, thumbs out, and make a tight fist with each hand.
  3. Drive the knuckles of each fist into the sides of the neck.
  4. With the legs wrapped around the enemy’s body grab the clothing at the side of the neck with the fingers inside, thumbs out.
  5. Making a tight fist, drive the knuckles into the sides of the neck.

Special points: Essential that knuckles are strongly pressed into the veins and arteries of the neck for maximum effect. For maximum pressure ensure the cutting edge of the knuckles is pressed into the neck.

Arm And Wrist Locks

The are many arm and wrist locks which can be highly effective in controlling an enemy during a situation. However, most locks are enhanced by first shocking the enemy with another technique, such as a punch or kick.

Hair & Hammer Lock

  1. Grab the enemy’s right wrist from the rear with the right hand.
  2. Move forward gripping the right elbow with the left hand.
  3. Bend the arm behind the back hooking the lower arm in your left.
  4. Grip the hair with the right hand
  5. pull the haed hard to the rear.

Special Points: Essential to move forward when hooking enemy’s arm in your left – this will help to bend the arm. Lift the enemy upwards to keep him off balance. This lock can also be used as defense by catching a straight hand strike on the outside of the wrist with the rear hand applying the lock. this method could be followed up with a Japanese strangle hold (see sentry removal)

Chicken Wing Lock

  1. Take hold of the enemy’s right wrist with the right hand.
  2. Slip the left thumb interlock with enemy.
  3. Rotate the back of the left hand around the back of the enemy’s hand.
  4. Retaining the thumb hold, pull the wrist towards the body.
  5. Pull the wrist towards the body with the right hand and slip the left palm under the back of his hand.
  6. Take the enemy’s elbow under the arm and apply upwards pressure.

Wrist Lock And Throw

  1. Grab the enemy’s right arm with both thumbs to the back of the hand, fingers around the base of the palm applying wrist lock.
  2. Twist the hand over to left to begin a large circular movement.
  3. Continue to apply pressure to the wrist by moving the body round to the left, force the enemy to the ground with the wrist lock.

Special Points: After the throw, a follow up technique such as a hand strike could be applied.

Body Throws And Sweeps

Body throws are very effective during close quarter combat when an enemy presents themselves open to the type of technique. Leg sweeps, on the other hand, can be effective from a longer range and are especially useful when moving in on the enemy.

Hip Throw Against Punch

  1. Enemy attacks with a left punch to the body. Move forward to block the punch with a right downward block.
  2. Block the punch as the right leg steps forward and through.
  3. Take the right hand round the back of the enemy smothering and grabbing his right arm with your left.
  4. Bring the left leg into the right and pull with the left hand getting the hip into and under the enemy’s body.
  5. Drive upwards with the legs and hip pulling the enemy over with both arms.
  6. Drop the enemy down in front and raise the right arm to prepare for a counter.
  7. Counter with a downward punch to the face.

Special Points: Ensure that the hip moves well through and into the opponents body with both legs underneath for maximum upward drive. It is essential in throws of this type to pull the enemy hard into the body to assist leverage. The enemy should also be driven strongly into the ground.

Front Body Drop Against Punch

  1. Enemy attacks with a right punch to the head. Block the punch with a left head block.
  2. As you block, grip the clothing pulling the arm down and move forward taking the right hand to the left collar.
  3. Grab the clothing behind the neck with the right hand asthe right leg moves forward.
  4. Continue the movement of the right leg forward and through puliling the enemy hard into the side and twist hard round to the left.
  5. Continue turning to the left pulling with both arms until the enemy falls over the right leg. As enemy drops over the leg release the grip with the right hand so as not to fall to the ground.
  6. Raise the right hand and prepare for a counter.
  7. Counter with a right downward punch to the kidneys.

Special Points: Essential to drive into the enemy pulling back as soon as possible to stop him bending forward out of the throw.

Outside Sweep

  1. Enemy attacks with a left front kick.
  2. Move to the right, blocking the kick with a left low block.
  3. Move forward grabbing the enemy by the arm and shoulder.
  4. Sweep the leg pulling the enemy to the rear with both arms.
  5. Control the enemy on the ground.
  6. Press down onto the side with the left nee and raise the right arm to counter.
  7. Drive the right fist into the face.

Special Points: Essential that the sweeping leg is brought quickly back to regain balance and assist with backward momentum.

Inside Sweep

  1. Enemy attacks with a left punch to the head.
  2. Grab the punching arm with the right hand grabbing the clothing on the shoulder with the left.
  3. Drive the left foot to the inside of the enemy’s left leg.
  4. Sweep the leg pulling forward with the left hand.
  5. Continue to pull taking the enemy over and to the ground. Assist the turn by lifting up and over with the right hand.
  6. Keeping a firm hold with the right hand raise the left arm to counter.
  7. strike down to the face with a left fist.

Special Points: Essential to co-ordinate the pull and the sweep for maximum effect.

Outside Hook

  1. Enemy attacks with a right punch to the head. Evade the punch with a double arm block to the outside of the punch.
  2. Grab the punching arm with both hands hooking the right foot behind the front ankle.
  3. Lift the foot forwards and up pulling to the rear with both hands. As with the ‘outside sweep’ pull the hooking leg quickly back to the rear to regain balance.
  4. Drop onto body with the right knee lifting the right arm to counter.
  5. Drive the right fist down into the groin.

Special Points: Essen tail to hook leg forward and up to break the balance.

Inside Hook

  1. Enemy attacks by grabbing the upper body and attempting a knee strike. Lower the body smothering the attack taking the left arm down under the attacking leg.
  2. Grab the leg with the left arm taking the right arm around the back.
  3. Step forward and through with the right leg hooking around the enemy’s supporting leg.
  4. Hook the leg and drive the enemy to the ground. Pull back before landing to maintain initiative and balance.
  5. Control the head by forcing the right hand into the face.
  6. Stand, lifting the leg, exposing the groin and raise right arm to counter.
  7. Drive the right fist down into the groin.
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