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Sentry Neutralization in Combative Measures:
Concept and Process

A law-enforcement agency wishes to raid a location. They obtain intelligence information on the facility, and note that there are guards at various locales, either providing “eyes” to those in the intended target area, or in the immediate area to help guard the premises. They may be armed or unarmed. For law-enforcement, neutralizing these guards means securing them for arrest. Not so the case when in the context of combative measures for the military. In this setting, sentry neutralization means to violently subdue or kill the sentry/guard targeted.

Neutralizing an enemy guard is not an easy task. While a long-distance rifle shot can accomplish this, the underlying concept of sentry neutralization is to kill the guard without alerting others. Certainly, a rifle shot, in almost any circumstance, will not meet this goal. As is the case with any martial art, there are variations and combinations to any technique which may be used and modified depending on the size of the sentry and the comfort level of the one utilizing the techniques based on what he was taught and favors. There are some key principles which will be listed, common to nearly all sentry neutralization techniques, followed by the types of techniques commonly used.  The listing of the techniques is not intended to make this a “how-to” instructional article, but rather, a presentation of sample methods which clearly illustrate how the theory is put into practice.


Silencing the sentry so he cannot alert others is absolutely vital. He must not be given the chance to cry out, either for help or in pain. When the attack is made, almost always from behind, a hand goes over the sentry’s mouth while delivering the fatal technique. This silence extends to muffling any gurgling sounds after a throat is cut.

When stabbing a sentry, the attack should be launched from approximately three feet away. At this time, one springs toward the sentry to apply the chosen technique. Following the kill, take his weapon, and if possible, hide the body. 

It is best, while stalking the sentry, to stay below his eye level. People have peripheral vision, but they rarely use it lower than their head. This principle is to be applied even when stalking the sentry from behind.

The attacker should always be glancing downward to note any twigs, leaves, or debris of any kind which may alert the sentry to his presence. Killing is to be done as silently as possible.

One should move toward the sentry only when the sentry’s back is toward him. No chances, however minimal they may seem, should be taken which would reveal the stalker’s presence.

Neutralization is a silent art. There should be no talking to others who may be accompanying the stalker. Hand signals are to be relied upon.

If the neutralization is to be accomplished with a two-man team, the stalker’s movements should be in sync with his partner’s. One should neutralize the sentry at the same time the other controls the sentry’s weapon, generally by taking it away at the precise moment he is attacked.


The stalker’s mind should be cleared of all other thoughts which may prove to be a distraction. The focus must be solely on the stealthful kill.

A double-edged knife is the favored weapon, due to the flexibility it provides if direction and angles have to be changed. The knife should be light enough to be handled with ease. More than one knife should be carried, one with a longer blade than the other.

Weapons to use against sentries include knife, garrote, rope, belt-buckle, shoelaces, and/or bare hands.

A stick or branch may be used as a fulcrum in applying select techniques.


From behind the sentry, spring at him, covering his mouth while slitting his throat.
From behind the sentry, stab sentry’s throat and tear down toward heart while covering his mouth.
From behind the sentry, apply rear naked strangle while moving back. The objective is to snap the neck, not choke him out.
From behind the sentry, spring/leap at sentry, chopping (and hopefully breaking) both sides of clavicle at the same time, and immediately follow-up by breaking his neck. Sentry’s weapon should drop when clavicle is attacked.
From behind the sentry, immediately break his neck barehanded, or with flexible weapon. This must be done in a rapid, sudden motion.
From behind the sentry, kick behind sentry’s knee while covering his mouth and snap his neck.
From behind the sentry, stab knife into the back of sentry’s neck while covering his mouth. Follow-through with knife going upward to his brain in a twisting motion. Pull sentry back and down.
From behind the sentry, stab him in kidney, then immediately slash his throat. Pull sentry back and down. 
From behind the sentry, apply naked choke to neck, and turn as if attempting to throw him over your hip in a backward hip throw. The objective is to break/snap his neck. If the initial break fails, maintain choke until he is dead.
If sentry turns and faces stalker before he can attack, do a forward roll into him stabbing him in the groin. Follow-up with an immediate kill technique.
If sentry turns and faces attacker while attacker is stalking, rush him and attack his throat in any manner possible, taking him down and effecting an immediate kill.
In conclusion, we see that regardless of which techniques are employed, they are all consistent with the concepts underlying and serving as a foundation in the art of sentry neutralization.

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