Today, we're going to start our series off on the fundamentals of Close Quarter Battle (CQB).
CQB is the physical confrontation between two or more combatants. As the name implies, these fights take place in close proximity - typically at ranges of 100 meters or less (yes, you read that right) - involving the use of firearms; edged and impact weapons; improvised weapons; or even hand-to-hand combat.
While most discussions surrounding the topic of CQB centers on room clearing, which is the systematic method of neutralizing a threat or group of threats room by room to secure a structure, the subject is much broader than that.
Rooms in a structure can open up into long hallways, corridors, even streets or alley ways ranging out to 100 meters or more. The potential for distances to open up from immediate to longer ranges can impact our load-out choices, so it's important not to pigeon hole ourselves into thinking that CQB is just "room clearing."
CQB is as old as antiquity. Ancient epics like the Iliad, are replete with gory accounts of warriors clashing in close quarter combat, stabbing their opponents in the face with their spears or crushing the skulls of their enemies with large rocks. It was brutal and bloody back then and it can be just as brutal and bloody now.And while the art of war has changed in the modern era with the advent of the firearm, the fundamental principles of CQB remain the same. So whether you're a soldier engaged in urban operations, a police officer arriving on the scene of an active shooter, of a private citizen defending yourself during a home invasion, a proper understanding of these principles are essential in helping you prevail in a real world scenario.
In a nutshell, the three principles of Close Quarters Battle are:
- Surprise, and
- Violence of action
These principles are simple enough to list off, but that doesn't mean it's easy to master. Each of these principles merits its own study. Therefore, let's begin with the principle of speed.
If you've come out to train at a live event with us, you've heard us repeat the mantra, security: first, last, and always. That means maintaining awareness and control of your surroundings in a 360-degree radius is essential to your success at each stage of the engagement.
Speed can be its own form of security at times. The faster you move, the harder it is for the threat to acquire you as a target. Speed is the means by which you can set the pace and control the tempo of the engagement. We want to be in control of the action and force the threat to react to what we're doing, not the other way around.
That said, it's important not to confuse the speed with haste. When learning CQB for the first time, it's common for people to enter the room at a virtual sprint. That's because the person doesn't want get caught in the threshold of the doorway or "fatal funnel" where they are most vulnerable.
And while it'a true that moving too slowly through the doorway can be deadly, so can be when moving too fast.
You see, to properly secure the corners and dead spaces of a room, you can only move as fast as your eyes can process surrounding space. If you move faster than your eyes can process, you won't be able to identify (much less discriminate) and engage the threats as they present. In the end, any advantage you gained through speed will be negated, leaving you vulnerable.
So, move with controlled speed, and not in a haphazard manner.
I hope that's given you a little something to think about. In the upcoming installments, we'll pick up on the principles of surprise and violence of action.
In the meantime, what comments or insight would you add to the topic of speed when it comes to CQB? Leave it in the comments below.