By Yossi Sheriff
File:ACT sword fighting.jpg
ACT sword fighting

ACT is the acronym of Armed Combat and Tactics

General background

ACT is an eclectic martial system, which focuses on studying the practical use of historical weaponry. The main emphasis in ACT is full strength non sportive fighting with as few rules as possible. This makes the practice fighting and sparring very realistic. ACT practitioners use a wide range of accurate practice weapons that imitate the weight, feel and build of historical weapons. Both edged and staff weapons are taught. Unique weapon simulators are produced by ACT under advisement of collectors and historians). All drills are based on collective experience of system practitioners, derived from combat situations. Essentially ACT is bringing weapons to the world of MMA and MMA competition.

The system combat style is comprised both from studying the traditional martial arts and from the personal interpretation of ACT practitioners of the techniques learned. A modern approach of introspective debriefing is used to establish “what works”. Every technique is combat tested and every technique that worked in combat is analyzed to understand why and how it worked and what the optimal conditions to recreate the success are.

ACT - Armed Combat and Tactics is an open style of fighting, a martial art school and a platform for full contact weapon sparring open to all practitioners of any combat system dealing with weapons. All and any weapons and styles compete under the set of rules which is as close to reality as possible while the main focus is on maintaining the integrity of combat under the principles defined by ACT founder (see the principles).

Modern History

ACT is an ongoing process of trials, mutual airing of perspectives and effective full strength sparring. The ACT system is the creation of Alex Zhelezniak, a Russian émigré that resides in Israel. The groups that started in the 1990's attracted a large student base of adult veterans from many martial arts.

Video of Katana sparring

An ACT video of fighting with a hand and a half sword


Weapons curriculum

File:ACT spear fighting.jpg
ACT spear fighting

Weapons currently learned under the ACT system:

  1. Two-handed sword (both European and Eastern)
  2. Spear/halberd
  3. Saber/short sword
  4. Knife
  5. Short baton
  6. Medium size staff (jo)
  7. Sword and buckler combination.

ACT principles of combat:

  1. There is no set style of winning. The proper style is the style that works for the individual.
  1. All fighting is done with full strength unless it's not needed. The safety of the opponent is the basic rule.
  2. Fighting is done in full speed
  3. Every target is legitimate in ACT, there is no governing rule that decides that one target is legal and other is not. An ACT practitioner can hit the legs, fingers etc.
  4. Only strikes with power behind them are looked at as valid - no tapping or sawing.
  5. All types of strikes are valid as long as they are delivered with intent and power and solid edge alignment. One-handed, two handed, half-swording, thrusts, slashes, cuts - all are seen as valid.
  6. All parts of the weapon are functional - guard and pommel can be used in sparring .As, naturally, both edges of the sword.
  7. Close combat is a must, so grappling, punches and kicks are encouraged.
  8. One solid strike is enough to finish the bout but, yes, series of strikes are also used to win. After a solid strike the practitioners stop unless in the middle of an attack.
  9. The deciding principles of ACT fighting rules are the basic anatomical facts. Meaning that if one strikes to the thigh and the other, simultaneously, cuts to the neck, the second one has the fight.
  10. The summing up principle of ACT is anything goes in combat.

Act hand and a half sword techniques

The techniques can be found in [[::Category:Hand and a half sword techniques|Hand and a half sword techniques]].

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Martial arts that influence ACT

  1. Ken-jutsu
  2. European medieval swordsmanship
  3. Yari/naginata-jitsu
  4. European fencing
  5. Escrima (Filipino MA)
  6. Jogo Do Pau (Portuguese staff fighting art)
  7. Wu-shu (spear,dao – one handed sword, bagua-jian)

ACT practices different combat scenarios

  1. Combat against multiple opponents
  2. Opponents armed with different weapons
  3. Different terrain and setting (limited movement)