LINE (combat system)

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LINE Combat System
Also known asLinear Infighting Neural-override Engagement
Country of originUnited States United States
CreatorRon Donvito, USMC (Retired)[citation needed]
Olympic sportNo

LINE is a close-quarters combat system, derived from various martial arts, utilized by the United States Marine Corps between 1989 and 1998, and then from 1998 to 2007 by US Army Special Forces.[citation needed] It was developed by Ron Donvito, USMC (Retired).[citation needed]

Officially, the name stands for "Linear Infighting Neural-override Engagement"; this is, however, a backronym coined during the project's inception.[1]


The system was designed to be executed within specific and stringent combat-oriented conditions:

  • (a.) all techniques must not be vision dominant; techniques may be executed effectively in low-light conditions, or other impaired visibility conditions (i.e., smoke or gas)
  • (b.) extreme mental and physical fatigue
  • (c.) usable by the Marine / soldier while wearing full combat gear
  • (d.) proper execution of the techniques must cause death to the opponent
  • (e.) gender neutrality; must be usable by—and against—either gender

These parameters were viewed as the most likely conditions that a combat Marine or Soldier would face in close-range combat, since most close combat engagements were likely to occur at night or under reduced visibility, while the Marine or Soldier was fatigued and wearing their combat load, and when facing asymmetrical odds, such as a numerically superior force. These requirements meant that many flamboyant techniques, exotic kicks, or movements requiring extraordinary feats of strength or agility were excluded from consideration under the LINE system. Techniques like classic judo "hip throws", for instance, were excluded because of the possibility of entanglement on a practitioner's war-belt.

The system's techniques were designed to be easily learned and retained through repetition. The requirement and demands that the system be drilled, repeated, and constantly revisited led to some criticism since the primary users – military, including special operations, personnel – often had enormous demands upon their time, and as a consequence often lacked the ability to maintain high degrees of proficiency in the techniques.



LINE was adopted by the Marine Corps in 1989 at a Course Content Review Board (CRB) at Quantico, Virginia. All techniques were demonstrated for and deemed medically feasible by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner (given a single attack opponent) and a board of forensic pathologists from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in 1991[citation needed]. LINE was replaced by the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) by Marine Corps Order 1500.54, published in 2002, although it had been actually dropped in 1998, as a "revolutionary step in the development of martial arts skills for Marines and replaces all other close-combat related systems preceding its introduction."[2]

US Army Special Forces[edit]

The LINE System was adopted in 1998 by U.S. Army Special Forces at the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). Primary instruction took place during phase II and was remediated in phases III and V at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. LINE was replaced by the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) in October 2007.

US Air Forces[edit]

In 2007 the Chief of Staff of the Air Force read an article in the Air Force Times about Airmen training in the LINE system and ordered a review of all hand-to-hand combat in the Air Force [3][4] which resulted in the Air Force adopting a program based upon the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP).[5]

Units trained[edit]

During its existence, units trained included (but were not limited to):

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Todd, Tank. "Ron Donvito and the L.I.N.E. System". Fight Times. ISSN 1176-8266. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
  2. ^ MCO 1500.54A
  3. ^ Eric Holmes. "Close combat Why are thousands of airmen learning a brand of fighting ditched by Marines and Army SF?" Air Force Times, cover story. 1 July 2007.]
  4. ^ MAJ James Blanton. "Hand to Hand Combatives in the US Army" Thesis present to the staff of the US Army Command and General Staff College. 2008.
  5. ^ Tan, Michelle; Holmes, Erik (29 January 2008). "Combatives training inspires Air Force". Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2017. We have always produced the smartest airmen ... ready to go out and do the mission ... but now we are producing warriors