What is melee combat?

Melee combat, in the understanding of Pahuyuth, is an unrestricted physical confrontation between two or more individuals at short distances. It can be an unarmed or armed struggle.


According to the general definition, melee combat (also called close combat) is a short-range battle between opponents with the aim of power-related superiority over the opponent(s). It can be an unarmed or armed struggle. At the shortest distance, one’s own body is used with melee tactics such as levers and grips, technical methods such as blank weapons, but also firearms such as the pistol. Intentional or possibly intentional damage to one’s own person as well as that of the counterparty is accepted approvingly. The goal of close combat is the unrestricted assertion of one’s own interests, which is usually achieved at the expense of the physical integrity of the opponent.

History of Melee Combat

Unarmed combat is the original and predominant method of physical confrontation. With the advancement of the biological and civilizational development of mankind, the ability to instrumentalize things, to produce technical tools and to use them for specific purposes increased. Among other things, humans developed greater motor skills, especially with thumbs, hands and arms, in dealing with tools and weapons. In terms of civilization, the ability to form groups and associations increased. The formation of standing armies led to the development of military close combat methods.

Military close combat

Military close combat today is usually subject to the restrictions of martial law, international law and other multilateral agreements (e.g. the Geneva Convention or the Hague Convention). An additional limitation arises from the logistical challenge of training (close) combat-ready soldiers within a limited time and budget framework. From these framework conditions results the usual technical scope of the melee combat techniques of military melee combat. Because the average distance at which military combat operations are carried out has continued to increase in recent decades, hand-to-hand combat continues to lose importance. If, for example, the trench warfare of the First World War was still strongly characterized by hand-to-hand combat, nowadays there is a greater need for training in long-range weapons, electronic warfare (EloKa) or drones due to technical developments.

Police hand-to-hand combat

Police melee combat is usually subject to the restrictions of the prevailing rights and laws of a country. In the spirit of the rule of law, a balance must always be struck between the need to protect public security and the rights of the individual. In the Federal Republic of Germany, for example, the police act on the legal basis of the Criminal Code (StGB), the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) and the individual state laws on public security (police law). The use of physical violence by the police is strictly regulated. Officers are therefore primarily trained in the use of non-lethal force and are accountable for all their actions. As in military hand-to-hand combat, the logistical challenges of training defined by a limited time and budget framework also exist in police close combat, from which the respective technical scope in police melee training is derived.

Civilian hand-to-hand combat

Civilian melee combat can be described as close combat without a sports character. On closer inspection, however, this type of melee combat is also subject to the restrictions of the prevailing rights and laws of the respective country. Violations of the law and regulations are punished under civil and/or criminal law. Since a melee combat according to its definition pursues the goal of a power-related superiority over the opponent or opponents and accepts damage or eventual damage to the opponent approvingly, no lawful self-defense within the meaning of the legislator can be assumed in the so-called civilian melee combat (in particular also the so-called “street fight”).

Melee combat and martial arts

Melee combat is distinguished from martial arts by the absence of a more comprehensive philosophical or cultural superstructure. Although hand-to-hand combat can certainly contain a psychological basis and a certain conceptual core, very few melee combat methods have an approach to holistic training in the physical and mental sense or even an intention oriented towards the cultivation of customs in their teaching methodology. A preoccupation with combat beyond the short-term physical conflict is not provided for in most melee combat methods.

Melee combat and combat sports

The melee combat distinguishes itself from combat sports by the absence of any rules. A sportive character or a codified regulation is not present in melee combat. If, in turn, there is an amicable intention of a sporting competition or test of strength, it is automatically no longer a melee fight, but a combat sport or a recreational activity derived from a melee method.

Melee combat and self-defense

Melee combat distinguishes itself from self-defense by the absence or disregard of rights and laws as well as an intention deviating from civil self-protection. In most countries of the world, self-defense is defined by averting a current unlawful attack on oneself or another (see e.g. StGB §32). The goal of melee combat, in turn, is to fight the declared enemy by all means to achieve an assertion of one’s own interests. Such types of “rule of force” or vigilante justice are prosecuted and punished, at least in Germany. A confusion of melee combat and self-defense can therefore have serious consequences for the uninformed user.

Melee combat and show fighting

Melee combat distinguishes itself from show fighting by the underlying intention. While melee combat pursues the goal of damage or neutralization of the respective opponent, a show fight is always consensual or staged. It follows that demonstrations of melee methodologies must in principle be attributed to show fighting and not to melee combat, especially if they are based on a fixed agreement or choreography.

Pahuyuth and melee combat

The Pahuyuth knowledge comes from a time when there was no rule of law and no laws. It has been used for centuries in wars and conflicts in Southeast Asia. It involves armed and unarmed fighting and is designed to successfully defend against superior enemies of unknown kind, number and origin. Through the further development of the conceptual core, the teaching concept, as well as the formation of an independent culture and philosophy with its own traditions and customs, and not least through the expansion of the martial knowledge with the knowledge of medicine and spirituality, the Pahuyuth developed from a pure melee method to a complete martial art. Fragments of Pahuyuth are still used today in the military close combat of Southeast Asian countries.

Pahuyuth free warriors bang racharn cutout old


is the martial art of the free people.

It was born out of rebellion against violence, oppression and slavery.

It was developed to defend against superior enemies.

It is passed on in order to preserve a life of peace and freedom.

Pahuyuth-Warriors are free warriors, inwardly and outwardly.


Melee combat is an unregulated, usually non-consensual physical confrontation between two or more opponents. Melee combat does not include sporting fairness, mutual agreement or agreed regulations. It is therefore not a sport because the sporting character is missing. Melee combat can become combat sports, provided that mutual agreement, restrictive rules and the intention of the sporting competition are given. Conversely, combat sports techniques can be incorporated into melee training.

Melee training is a type of training that focuses on teaching melee skills. It often includes the use of bodily or non-bodily weapons or their defense. In some cases, it may also include melee-oriented firearms training. Melee training differs from self-defense training by the lack of legal foundations, from martial arts training by the lack of a coherent concept or mental superstructure as well as any maintenance of customs and combat sports training by the non-sporting intention.

In armed hand-to-hand combat, firearms, but also edged weapons such as knives or axes and makeshift weapons such as trench shovels, which are not actually weapons, or other aids such as staff, tonfa or pepper spray, which are basically not deadly, are used. In principle, all physical objects that are suitable for violent damage to the enemy at short distances can be added to the potential melee weapons.

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