This page serves as a guide to fighting with melee while using techniques designed for those without weapons, specifically as it applies to World 42 roleplaying. Any valuable contributors are welcome to add, especially as new content or ideas come out in-game.

The Basic Concept of Unarmed Fighting

Unarmed combat is, as the title would suggest, fighting that takes place in lieu of weaponry such as blades or bludgeons, using only such bodily implements as the hands, feet, teeth, etc. As with all combat, the aim of an unarmed fighter is to injure or kill his opponent, while avoiding injury to their person. Unarmed combat is fairly unusual in most parts of Gielinor, with even tribal races such as the Goblins and Trolls preferring the use of weapons. Generally speaking, unarmed combat is most commonly used when an opponent is not in possession of a more effective weapon or is disarmed by his opponent. There are, however, schools of thought dedicated to the learning of more advanced unarmed combat techniques. These schools are typically viewed as foreign and unusual by residents of the human kingdoms, with practitioners hailing mostly from far-away lands such as the East, Karamja, or Kharidia. That said, the tooth-and-nail combat of some humanoid races like vampyres or werewolves may also fit loosely into this category.

Offensive Methods for the Unarmed

The offensive capabilities of an unarmed fighter are fairly limited, but not to be underestimated. While methods of attack vary by culture and technique, the common goals of unarmed offense remain unchanged. The concept of offensive martial combat can be divided into two schools: striking and grappling.


An important point in unarmed combat is the fact that the body, by itself, is incredibly resilient and can be used to inflict many types of injury.

General Points

The main objective of striking is to damage one's opponent and make them unable to continue the fight, be it due to injury or death.  Instinct is to strike at the face, but trained martial combatives will know of several more weak spots to strike at.

  • The Throat - Punch, gouge, elbow.
  • The Groin - Kick, knee, constrict.
  • The Eyes - Elbow, gouge.
  • Joints - Constrict, chop, break.
  • Celiac (Solar) Plexus - Gouge, punch, knee.

A very basic, easy formula is to strike in the following order:

  1. Eyes - With stretched fingers. Start with your dominant hand.
  2. Throat - Form a "U" between the thumb and your remaining fingers, cupping the throat. (Use the subdominant hand so you can keep up the speed of following strikes.)
  3. Groin - Use your dominant hand again, folded into a fist.
  4. Solar Plexus - Again, the subdominant hand, also in a fist.
  5. Ear - Cupped hand. This will disorientate the opponent, as well as hurt as you proceed to shove air into his ears.

If you successfully bring in each of these hits, you will have to move forward to deliver the last one to the ear. Very few, if any, opponents will still be standing. As you deliver each hit, draw back the hand you used for the previous one so it is ready to strike again. If you are prevented from utilizing your hands, butting your head to the nose of the opponent and a knee strike to the groin will incite him to release you very quickly.

Using the Hand

The humanoid hand is incredibly dextrous and can be used in several ways to strike at an opponent.

Instinct is often to make a fist and throw it with force, this strike is called a punch and, while effective in inflicting blunt trauma, is often damaging to the hand of the user if not properly protected. Untrained punch throwing will often result in bruised or broken knuckles and an incapacitated hand, especially if the recieving party is armored.

A less common strike involves the use of the hand as a blade. In real life, this strike is often incorrectly referred to as a "Karate chop", while in fact being present in most martial arts. This strike puts much less stress on the hand of the thrower, while maximizing the amount of force present in manual striking.

In more dire combat, the hands may be used to gouge at the eyes or constrict around the neck. If sustained and forceful, attacks of this sort are often lethal.

Using the Feet and Legs

The feet are less commonly used in martial combat by the untrained, but are just as, if not more, effective than the hand as a striking tool.

The most common foot and leg strike involves raising the foot and leg and throwing it into an opponent from the front, side, or bottom. This strike is called a kick. When contact is made at the foot, the ankle or toes of the user may break or sustain blunt trauma. Because of this, most martial schools suggest the use of the shin as the contacting surface when throwing kicks. It is fairly uncommon for a typical unarmed combatant to strike at the head of a standing opponent with a kick, but not unheard of. More commonly, kicks are used to wear down an opponent and cause injury to the legs and torso.

Less common, but just as effective, is the use of the knee. The knee is a very hard surface in humanoid anatomy, and when thrown to the stomach, groin, or face of a grabbed opponent can be very damaging.

Less Common Strikes

Straying from the hands and feet, more options are available.

The elbows, when thrown horizontally, make an effective striking tool for the face and neck. They are a comparably hard surface with the knee, and very damaging when thrown properly.

In very close quarters, the teeth and jaw can be used to bite at opponents. This method of attack is very unusual among humans, and carries additional shock value depending on the environs. While not particularly effective in terms of physical damage, the immense jolt of pain that is caused by a forceful bite is often enough to loosen a chokehold.

Shoulder and hip checking is an effective way to wriggle out of a hold or knock an opponent back, using the weight of one's body and or armor as a blunt weapon.


Just as important as striking ability is the ability to incapacitate and control the opponent.

General Points

The primary objective of grappling is to acquire and maintain physical control of the opponent. This allows for the assailant to maneuver himself and his opponent into a favorable position for submission or further striking.


These are used to take an opponent off of their feet and onto the ground, giving an assailant time to escape or attempt to make a killing blow.

Throws are instinctive, and often used without any sort of training whatsoever. More advanced techniques must be learned, and these are often much more effective than the typical brute force sort of throw. Throws are generally accepted to include such smaller points as trips and pulldowns.

The most common trip involves entering grappling range, immobilizing the arms, placing one's leg behind those of the opponent, and sweeping swiftly back towards oneself while simultaneously thrusting forward. This places two separate, contradictory forces at high and low points on the body, giving the reciever no choice but to fall.

Pulldowns are likewise instinctive, and brutally simple in nature. The common pulldown involves grappling, then, as the title would imply, simply pulling down the opponent. This is dangerous, as a trained or armored opponent will be much less cooperative.

There are also spikes and slams, grappling techniques that include piledrivers, powerbombs and suplexes. Though by far the least common form of unarmed offence due to the great strength required to effectively use them, they boast immense power, and can end a fight with a single blow.


Submissions are nearly exclusive to trained fighters and rarely applicable in actual, mal-intended combat. Primarily, they are used to signify a victory in competitive fighting. Most actual fights are over long before a submission may be inflicted. For this reason, they will not be explained as extensively. If sustained long enough, submissions can tear tendons and muscle or break bone. This pain is often blinding, and only the strongest of opponents would be able to ignore it. A proper blood choke, however, can render even a larger and stronger opponent unconscious in a matter of seconds.


The basic mount involves the assailant, having taken his opponent to the ground, assuming a position that is dominant in relation to the opponent, placing him/her in a better position to throw strikes or constrict. Mounts are fairly easy to enter and difficult to be removed from.

Defending With Martial Techniques

An unarmed fighter has little in the way of defensive combat. Most often, bladed weapons such as daggers or swords cannot be 'blocked' in the traditional sense. Some blunted weapons, such as warhammers or mauls, may be grabbed on the shaft and stopped, but likely only by the highly trained and daring. Because of this, it is more likely that a trained unarmed figher would seek to disarm, rather than counter, his armed opponent. In this way, an unarmed fighter would simultaneously rob his opponent of a weapon and gain one at once. Against an additional unarmed opponent, the fight becomes fairer. Punches can be checked fairly easily by a forearm block and kicks can be countered by grabbing and punching. Kicks against the groin can be avoided (Or at least made severely harder to deliver) by standing with bent knees, the feet aligned on one line.

An additional, equally important aspect in unarmed defense is the use of the environment as a weapon. By dancing around a well-armed enemy and not allowing them to make contact, one can frustrate the opponent and force them into rash thinking. By dodging a charge at the right moment, an enemy could be tricked headfirst into a pole or bar.

Defending Against Martial Techniques

Should one find himself in combat against a martial fighter, he would turn the odds in his favor if he utilizes any weapon to keep his physical "reach" longer than his opponent's. A longsword would be invaluable to the fight, as the entire blade is sharp, contrary to a blunt weapon or a spear that would allow the martial fighter a better chance to disarm an individual and/or break his weapon.

Should he find himself unarmed, it would be in one's best interest to take on a defendable stance in order to focus on dodging and countering as to physically wear down his opponent. Attempt to block only when truly necessary, as the more trauma one takes, the more prone he is to being overwhelmed by his opponent. Dodging and countering the martial fighter will build his frustration and leave him prone to mistakes, those which one can utilize as to kill him, escape, or retrieve his weapon should his opponent have disarmed him.

Common Mistakes

This section addresses traits or actions that players, often new ones, tend to exhibit in their martial fighters, but that aren't actually accurate or realistic scenarios for someone using this attack style.

  • Please contribute


  • In contrast to the strength of the four fingers, the strength of the thumb is the weakest part of a person's grip. When attempting to remove an item from an enemy's grasp or escape a grip, pulling against the thumb is difficult for an enemy to prevent without adding reinforcement like a second hand.
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