The Core Technique for Practical Unarmed Combat


Author: Moshe Feldenkrais
Foreword: Moti Nativ
Media: Book, Paperback, 99 Pages, 104 Photos

Hadaka-Jime: Practical Unarmed Combat is a unique training program that is based on one core technique. Dr. Feldenkrais developed the program as emergency training for soldiers in World War II. Through ten one-hour lessons, soldiers learned to defend themselves against an armed opponent in the most rapid and effective way possible. The program is based on one Judo technique.

Feldenkrais emphasized concepts of the learning process throughout the book.He encouraged the reader to maintain a relaxed attitude, to start with slow and precise movements as he explained the timing, and to master the movements by repetition. The result would be a spontaneous movement which was correct and precise.

He claimed that a fighter must first acquire the ability and then put it to practical use. Thus, the first three lessons teach the core technique, Hadaka-Jime. The remaining lessons implement the technique in a variety of situations — against armed or unarmed attacks from different directions — all of which culminate inthe use of the core technique. This approach deepens the learning so that thefighter can effectively perform the core technique with many alternatives tosurvive the situation.

“A must-have for Feldenkrais Practitioners.”

Dennis Leri

Feldenkrais Trainer and Martial Artist

Table of Contents

  • Foreword to 2009 edition, by Moti Nativ
  • Preface to 1942 edition, by Moshe Feldenkrais
  • Introduction – Concepts of the Practical Unarmed Combat Training
  • Warning – Safety Advice
  • First lesson – The Core Technique, Basic Application
  • Second lesson – The Core Technique, Completions
  • Third lesson – The Core Technique, Silent Attack from the Rear
  • Fourth lesson – Moving Behind the Attacker, Defense Against Knife Stab to the Neck
  • Fifth lesson – Defense Against Knife Stab to Abdomen, and Against Alternate Attacks
  • Sixth lesson – Defense Against Alternate Left and Right Attacks, Understand Timing
  • Seventh lesson – Overcome Attack with Bayonet from the Rear
  • Eighth lesson – Alternative Movements Against Bayonet Attack from the Rear
  • Ninth lesson – Defense Against Bayonet Attack from the Front
  • Tenth lesson – Defense Against Deviated Attack and Variations on Hadaka-Jime
  • Afterword, by Moti Nativ
  • About Moti Nativ
  • Appendix – Additional Photos
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Resources

Read an Excerpt

From the Introduction by Moshe Feldenkrais

When considering means of defense against an armed opponent, it is natural to think of Ju-Jitsu, as indeed it is the only method of dealing with this subject. (It may be interesting to notice, by the way, that the word Ju-Jitsu is used only in Europe and is obsolete in the country in which it originated, as is the method it is used to denote. Both are replaced by a more scientific and much more efficient system called Judo.)

Anyone who has tried to acquire a knowledge of this art has certainly soon become aware of the considerable time that has to be devoted to the acquisition of the skill necessary for successful application of the method. Any Judo expert will tell you that something like five years of two lessons a week are necessary in order to become reasonably conversant with all the ways of this subtle art.

For Judo does not teach so many tricks, but rather inculcates in the mind and body a special sense of balance and action enabling the body to react to an unforeseen attack, smoothly, swiftly and in the most efficient way.

Even if we decided only upon a limited number of tricks, at least a few months would be required, for indeed the whole time is wasted if the men do not feel more confident than before, and they will not feel confident unless a high degree of skill is attained. Without this, the acquired knowledge is of little practical avail, if any. Thus, long and meticulous training cannot be dispensed with, even in such a scheme.

From the point of view of the Home Guard here and elsewhere, we cannot launch ourselves on a long-term training. It has to be made ready for an emergency, which may take place while you are reading these lines. That is why I devised this emergency course. It provides “first-aid” equipment. Good medical treatment will be looked for as soon as possible. If we have the leisure to build up subsequently all-round fighters out of all the men, so much the better. But a “first-aid” is always a good acquisition.

Now let us see what our first-aid box contains and whether we can depend on it in case of emergency.
A hasty glance through the text and illustrations in the book will show you that the field covered is quite large. At any rate, the most probable cases of emergency are met. It will also show you that it is all centered around one fundamental movement.

The advantages of such a condensed system are very substantial, for in a lesson lasting one hour, a single movement can be repeated at least a hundred times; then in the following lessons this movement appears repeatedly in unexpected modes and applications, through which a keen interest is maintained during the entire course. By the time this is completed, one has repeated the fundamental movement more than a thousand times, which is sufficient to attain a high degree of skill in its performance.

There being only one movement which is so familiar that little conscious effort is necessary to bring it instantaneously into action. There is, moreover, no room left for making mistakes as to the choice of an appropriate movement.

The great advantage, however, lies in the fact that in a fortnight or so, the whole body of a service, the Home Guard or others, could be trained and made ready for an emergency which may be imminent.

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais was a remarkable man; teacher, soldier, researcher, judoka, visionary, martial artist, physicist, and pioneer. He was a founder of the European Judo Union, and respected by Gunji Koizumi, Mikinosuke Kawaishi, and Jigoro Kano. I therefore consider it an honour and a privilege to have been asked to write an endorsement to the new edition of his important text.

I met Moti Nativ when he visited the Bowen History of Judo Archive at the University of Bath to continue his research into the life and work of Moshe Feldenkrais. I was immediately struck by his passion and commitment, and his depth of understanding the relationship of mind and body as applied to Budo.

For me, this book speaks on three levels. It is a treatise of an effective course of unarmed combat which has withstood the test of time. It is also an important document of social and cultural history when considered in the context that it was written. Thirdly, it provides a level of insight for the advanced follower of the Feldenkrais Method® into the early thought processes of the founder. Moti Nativ and Genesis II Publishing are to be commended for reminding us about the relevance of this text, and sharing with us the thoughts of a remarkable man.

Dr. Mike Callan

President, The International Association of Judo Researchers, International Judo Federation Sixth Dan

This is a small book with big ideas. Utilizing his deep understanding and mastery of Judo, Moshe Feldenkrais created a course in practical unarmed self defense for the British during WWII. However, it was in how he addressed his task that we see the mind of a genius at work. Feldenkrais merged age-old, Oriental self-defense techniques with the explanatory power of science, combined with his own unique brand of pedagogy to create a novel self-defense strategy that is easy to learn and use. Based on the slow and thorough learning of one technique and its applications, the 10 lessons artfully disarm the fears and apprehensions of those being trained while giving them the expertise necessary to succeed in combat. For the discerning reader a central idea will become evident: that if one first trains the act to be accomplished from its ending it allows for many beginnings. Once an act, here a particular stranglehold, is learned in its simplest form and becomes second nature and can be performed unselfconsciously, then that simple unitary act can be made either more complex or made to fit more complex situations. The approach taken in this book is consonant with the basis of all Feldenkrais’ approach to learning. It will be of unquestioned value to both martial artists and Feldenkrais practitioners. Moti Nativ is to be commended not only for bringing this book out of retirement but also for his introduction and commentaries which convey the observations of a true teacher of the martial arts and a Feldenkrais Practitioner.

Dennis Leri

Feldenkrais Trainer and Martial Artist

This welcome new edition is a valuable resource which clarifies a fundamental source of the Feldenkrais Method: Feldenkrais’ diverse personal experience in unarmed combat and training in Judo. The fitting of one’s action to dynamically changing circumstances, functional awareness of self in the environment, and the development of a sense of security based in understanding and ability can all be found interwoven with a practical system of learning in the lessons here. These abilities, all vital for effective response to threat, will also be familiar to students of the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education. For those more familiar with the technical material presented, the elegance, sophistication, and utility of the system of learning which Feldenkrais developed is demonstrated in a familiar context. The additional material provided by Moti Nativ in this new volume, with his own expertise in these domains, will certainly be of interest to students of both.

Tres Hofmeister

6th Dan Aikido, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner

Hadaka-Jime: Practical Unarmed Combat is just as vital today as it was 67 years ago. The systematic steps and strategies shown from this ‘one core’ movement confirm the principles throughout the book. The practical applications can be used as a foundation of study in any martial art or self-defense course.

A sincere note of gratitude to Moti Nativ! Your passion and deep insight in both the martial arts and the Feldenkrais Method shine through your commentary. Your gift offers a sophistication which allows a broader understanding for people. Thank you for revitalizing this book.

Cathy Lewis

14th Dan – Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, Irvine, California

This impactful book reveals a pioneer who is equal parts warrior and educator, and offers a snapshot of a method in the midst of its making.

If you follow the trajectory of training outlined in this book, you’ll find the very same strategies and techniques that become the basis of Dr. Feldenkrais’ yet-to-be-announced method. By teaching only one martial arts technique, Feldenkrais creates a lesson-like experiment, rich in the interplay of theme and variation. The training reveals the big picture as it clarifies the details and, just as the student begins to put it all together, Moshe changes the action’s orientation to space. And so on!

Thank you, Moti, for making this book available once again. The beautiful, user-friendly design is a fitting tribute to its historical importance.

Larry Goldfarb

Feldenkrais Trainer

Both martial artists and movement students will find Hadaka-Jime: The Core Technique for Practical Unarmed Combat a valuable guide with both practical techniques and profound insights about the learning process. Feldenkrais’ clear instructions, peppered with his wry humor and personal philosophy, make this much more than a combat training manual. The illustrations provide a fascinating window into the development of Moshe Feldenkrais’ methodology as well as clear instructions to accompany the text.

Lavinia Plonka

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner; Author, What are You Afraid of and Walking Your Talk

Video Demonstration

The book features photo sequences demonstrating the technique in a variety of situations. One such sequence, the seventh lesson, Overcome Attack with Bayonet from the Rear, is presented below. Further, Moti Nativ demonstrates the technique in a video.

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