US Army Combatives

5-14 Six Foot Pole


Another field-expedient weapon that can mean the difference between life and death for a soldier in an unarmed conflict is a pole about 6 feet long. Examples of poles suitable for use are mop handles, pry bars, track tools, tent poles, and small trees or limbs cut to form a pole. A soldier skilled in the use of a pole as a weapon is a formidable opponent. The size and weight of the pole requires him to move his whole body to use it effectively. Its length gives the soldier an advantage of distance in most unarmed situations. There are two methods usually used in striking with a pole:

  • a. Swinging. Becoming effective in swinging the pole requires skilled body movement and practice. The greatest power is developed by striking with the last 2 inches of the pole.
  • b. Thrusting. The pole is thrust straight along its axis with the user’s body mass firmly behind it.

(1) An attacker tries to thrust forward with a fixed bayonet (Figure 5-65, Step 1).

The defender moves his body off the line of attack; he holds the tip of the pole so that the attacker runs into it from his own momentum. He then aims for the jugular notch and anchors his body firmly in place so that the full force of the attack is felt at the attacker’s throat (Figure 5-65, Step 2) .

(2) The defender then shifts his entire body weight forward over his lead foot and drives the attacker off his feet (Figure 5-65, Step 3).

NOTE: During high stress, small targets, such as the throat, may be difficult to hit. Good, large targets include the solar plexus and hip/thigh joint.

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