Nepal Army Rangers “Lead the Way” with Aikido-based Unarmed Combat Program

What happens when you cross Nippon Kan Aikido with an elite Special Operations Force? Look no further than the Nepal Army’s Ranger Battalion, whose development of an Unarmed Combat (UAC) program ? based on the instruction of Homma Kancho ? is nothing short of world class. Homma Sensei, AHAN President Doug Kelley Sensei and I recently paid a visit to Kathmandu to watch the Rangers in action, and we were very impressed with what we saw!
Under the dedicated leadership of Rajesh Bista Sensei and Chief Warrant Officer 2 (WO2) Dan Gurung, the Rangers have created a comprehensive UAC training curriculum that is presently being taught throughout their entire Battalion. It rests primarily on the techniques and principals of Aikido, uniquely applied towards a modern combat scenario. The UAC program prepares soldiers to effectively deal with a variety of scenarios they may face while deployed, including unarmed assailants, unruly mobs, detainees, and situations when one does not have access to one’s weapon. Key to the program is the proportional use of force based on the nature and type of threat. And, adhering to a “Train as you Fight” mentality, the Rangers will often practice the UAC curriculum in full combat gear. We were pleased to see a demonstration of UAC in action, with the Rangers showcasing their techniques to disarm knife-wielding attackers, immobilize close-quarter assailants who grab one’s rifle barrel, and quickly transitioning to return fire if one should be fired upon. As Homma Kancho pointed out in his closing remarks, the application of force taught in the UAC program “invokes the Samurai spirit.”
Now that the UAC program is established, the Rangers are looking to standardize the program and spread it throughout the entire Nepal military. Already, the Rangers train and maintain a growing core of UAC instructors, and employ a ‘train-the-trainer’ system to spread the program to remote military installations across Nepal. Just recently, Chief Gurung led an effort to develop an official training manual highlighting the UAC training program and all its techniques in detail. The manual was recently reviewed by the Nepal Army’s Chief of Staff with very positive feedback, and its standardization will ensure consistency and quality as the UAC program expands its reach Army-wide.
In just a few short years, aided with several Aikido seminars by Nippon Kan, the Rangers have not only implemented the UAC program throughout their own Battalion, but have already begun their mission to expand their program throughout the entire Nepal Military. And they are not content on stopping there! The Rangers envision the expansion of their Aikido training to the Nepal civilian populous at large. They see Aikido instruction as a way to constructively interact with their fellow citizens and teach them something that can positively enrich their lives. In turn, the ongoing interaction between the military and local civilians can only help build and maintain trust between each other. To support this endeavor, AHAN has helped with the creation of a training center to be built on the Nepal Ranger base that will provide a place of Aikido instruction for both soldiers and civilians alike. During the trip we attended a ground breaking ceremony for the center’s construction, and all were excited to get this program underway.
Hats off to the Nepal Rangers for a job well done!

November 20th, 2013
Scott Roney
AHAN Nippon Kan Special Advisor