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Thread: Close Combat That Forged An Empire By Chris Pizzo

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    Default Close Combat That Forged An Empire By Chris Pizzo

    Close Combat That Forged An Empire By Chris Pizzo
    By Bob Hubbard - Sun, 03 Jun 2007 16:00:36 GMT


    Close Combat That Forged An Empire
    By Chris Pizzo

    When you look into military history, some armies stand out
    well above the rest. The ancient of warriors of Rome are among those elite few that did everything right.

    They were organized, well equipped, well trained, and had
    the attitude that they deserved to win. Rome did not
    collapse because of its fighting men, but because of
    corruption and the lack of strength of its policy makers.
    The Romans understood the warrior principles of always
    taking ground, and to never to stop fighting. They fought
    as a team and used superior tactics and strategies to
    overcome their enemy's superior numbers and size.

    Rome did not start out the war machine that we know today.
    Rome was a small city-state in Italy with a military for
    self-defense. Like many ancient militaries, Rome's male
    citizens served in the army part-time and wars were only
    fought in the warmer months. Like many untested warriors,
    they were confident that they could they could defend their
    city. But that belief would be shattered when the Celts
    crossed the Alps into the Italy.

    The Celts must have seemed like nightmarish monsters to the
    Romans. While the average Roman male was around five feet
    tall, the Celts averaged well over six feet. In their
    warrior culture, every Celtic warrior tried to outdo his
    kinsmen and kill and maim as many enemy warriors as
    possible. They wore little armor and often fought naked,
    covered in war paint and tattoos, and ran screaming at the
    enemy. They were a force to be reckoned with and had taken
    lands all over ancient Europe.

    The Romans marched to the North to aid their neighbors
    against the Celts in a preemptive defensive maneuver, but
    they were little help. The Celts destroyed the Roman force.
    The Celts used their size and strength to break Roman lines
    and their long swords shattered Roman shields. The
    hand-to-hand combat was fierce but one-sided, as the bigger
    Celts beat on the smaller Romans.

    Those who weren't killed outright drowned in a nearby
    river. Few survived, and if the leadership of Rome had not
    bribed the Celts to leave, they would have burnt Rome to
    the ground. Those who remained knew if their culture was to
    survive, they needed to fight better then any of their

    In the following centuries, the Romans began designing an
    army that would defeat the Celts. First new weapons were
    made to deal with the huge savage warriors. The Hasta, the
    traditional spear, was replaced with the Pilum, a throwing
    javelin to take the enemy down at distance.

    But because the Romans knew close combat won and lost
    battles, they adopted the Gladius (short sword) and Scutum
    shield that would block the long swords of the Celts. Riot
    police around the world still use the same shield design
    and formations today (the best martial arts always last).

    Along with new weapons and armor, most importantly the
    Romans changed their attitude.

    Before, the Celts were basically telling the Romans "screw
    you little men" and took what they wanted. The new Roman
    outlook was "screw you, you big dumb morons. Come try and
    take it".

    Training was designed to toughen soldiers while teaching
    them the discipline and teamwork that Rome's barbarian
    enemies lacked. Centurions, the noncommissioned officers of
    their day, ran recruits through obstacle courses and other
    drills using gear that was heavier then what they used in

    Sport martial arts like boxing and wrestling were
    encouraged to give the troops combat conditioning. Awards
    and promotions were given for valor in battle and as the
    empire expanded, veterans were given land for their
    service. The troops worshipped Mars the Roman god of war.

    If there wasn't a war, troops would be assigned to cities
    and work as police and break up street fights as well as
    take part in firefighting. Even the entertainment was
    brutal. On their free time, soldiers would watch gladiators
    battle to death in the arena.

    Rome's new army struck across all of Italy and began
    consolidating territory.

    Though many years had passed, the Celts still felt
    confident that they could defeat the Romans and had not
    improved their tactics. And when the Romans clashed with
    the Celts in close combat, they obliterated them.

    The armor and weapons helped, but what really made the
    difference was that the Romans didn't fear the Celt any
    longer and fought like lions. So powerful was this
    offensive mindset, that during Caesar's invasion of Gaul,
    his warriors often stood up to the larger Celts man-to-man
    instead of in formation and still decimated their bigger,
    stronger adversaries.

    The smaller men were able to beat their larger opponents
    simply because they knew that they had better training.

    For more information on Chris "Lt. X" Pizzo former soldier, cancer survivor, mercenary, barroom bouncer, educator, and hand-to-hand combat instructor, and his incredible FREE Accelerated Battlefield Combatives close-combat learning system, visit

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    Default Re: Close Combat That Forged An Empire By Chris Pizzo

    I have always been a History Buff and am always reading everything I can.I enjoyed this article. Thank you.

    I am Most Respectfully,

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