The Australian Army Combatives Program heralds a new approach to close-combat within the defence force Down Under. Instituted in 2017, it gives Aussie soldiers greater capability to defend themselves against the terrorist threat.

The power of mindset — and the effect our training has on its development — may only become clear when tested under extreme circumstances.

Knowing how soldiers apply their CQC skills on the battlefield can teach us a lot about self-defence. A report by the US Army suggests that those martial arts that best train balance — such as grappling systems — are the key to surviving in close combat.

To be scientific in our approach to combat, we must first set fear, and dogma, aside. If we can control fear, we’re also more likely to spot the charlatans who seek to exploit it.

The key to self-defence is not some secret, deadly martial arts technique — it’s threat awareness. So if your training is only focused on the punching, kicking and grappling, it had better prepare you for dealing with a surprise attack…

In selecting draftees for the AIS Combat Centre, AIS scientists were looking for answers: was it physical or mental traits that separated those selected from those left behind?

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