The King’s Guards and Martial Arts


To honour the Coronation of King Charles III on Saturday 6 May, we thought we’d put a Martial Arts spin on our blog to celebrate this historic day. So, how can we put a Martial Arts spin on it you ask? After much research, there’s very little information on whether any member of the Royal Family specialises in a specific discipline. Then one idea came to mind…  the Buckingham Palace guards who are highly trained soldiers and Martial Arts experts!

What is the King’s Guard?

The King’s Guard, also known as the Royal Guard, is a group of highly trained soldiers responsible for protecting and serving the monarch of a Kingdom. These soldiers are considered the elite of the army and, are often selected on their bravery, loyalty, and skill in combat.

The duties of the King’s Guard vary depending on the needs of the monarch and the Kingdom. They may be responsible for guarding the palace, attending state functions, providing security for the Royal Family and their estates, and serving as bodyguards to the King. In some cases, they may also be involved in espionage and intelligence gathering.

Historically, the King’s Guard has played an important role in many kingdoms worldwide. In medieval Europe, the King’s Guard was often composed of knights and nobles who held great wealth and power. They were in charge of protecting the King and the realm. They were also expected to be chivalrous and honorable at all times.

Today, many modern monarchies still maintain a formal King’s Guard, often consisting of highly trained professionals with experience in the Armed Forces. These Guards are typically highly visible, with distinctive uniforms and ceremonial roles in royal events.

The Buckingham Palace Guards

Buckingham Palace Guards are more than just a visible symbol of British Royalty – they are also highly trained soldiers. One popular question that people ask is whether these guards are trained in Martial Arts. The answer is a resounding yes. 

Not only do Buckingham Palace Guards receive basic military training but, they are also schooled in Martial Arts. This includes special combat techniques such as unarmed combat, sword drilling, unarmed combat against multiple adversaries, and bayonet drills. The guards are put through rigorous physical fitness tests to make sure they are up to the task of protecting the King.

Honouring Tradition And Service

Standing vigil in their iconic red tunics, black bearskin hats, and highly polished black boots, the King’s Guard are unquestionably among the most recognisable figures in the United Kingdom. They are responsible for guarding the official residences of the British monarch, including Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace, and Windsor Castle. Although they are commonly regarded as ceremonial, these soldiers are fully trained British Army combat soldiers who serve on active service. 

A group of elite troops is known as a company. They can be called on to perform a variety of duties such as peacekeeping, disaster relief, and conflict resolution. They carry firearms in addition to their duties though they are never loaded with bullets; unless a threat of serious harm is imminent. It is not uncommon for British soldiers to be regarded as some of the most respected and trained in the country. The King’s Guards have an impressive history, as well as the ability, to perform a wide range of duties.

Nonetheless, there has been an increase in women joining the King’s Guard which, is frequently overlooked. Women have served in the Army since the 1980s, accounting for 10% of regular personnel and 15% of reserves. The King’s Guard, despite being a male-dominated military force, is rapidly becoming more diverse. It now provides full combat training to all women members, allowing them to participate in all aspects of military operations around the world. The inclusion of women in the King’s Guard is a significant step forward in improving gender equality within the British Army. Also, demonstrating the Army’s commitment to inclusiveness.

Are the King’s Guards Trained to Fight?

Since 1660, the King’s Guard are the soldiers responsible for protecting the Royal Family. They are not just guards but, also protectors and defenders of the Crown and its people. As such, they are highly trained in self defence and combat tactics. Their training includes physical conditioning, weapons handling, and tactical drills; providing them with the skills and confidence to protect the Royal Family from any threat. They are also trained in a variety of specialised skills including surveillance, counter-surveillance, close protection, communications, VIP protection, and security driving. Equipped with the latest weapons and technology to ensure the safety of the Royal Family and their estate, it can be said that the King’s Guard are indeed trained to fight.

Royal Guards Training Regimen

In the British Army, guards are required to complete 30 weeks of training which, is two weeks longer than infantry. The drill and ceremonial protocols are carried out during the extra weeks.

Here is a general idea of what the training regimen for Royal Guards may be:

Physical Fitness: The guards must undergo rigorous physical training to maintain their fitness levels. They need to be able to stand for hours at a time, march, and respond quickly to any given situation.

Weapon Proficiency: The guards are trained to handle a variety of weapons such as swords, guns, and spears. They are also trained in hand-to-hand combat.

Formation Training: Guards are trained to maintain proper formation and coordination with their fellow guards. This is essential to present a united front and maintain order in public places.

Etiquette and Protocol: The guards need to be well-versed in polite behaviour and protocol while performing their duties. They are trained in diplomatic protocols and often work in conjunction with diplomats.

Crisis Management: Guards must be trained to handle crisis situations; be it a natural disaster, an attack or hostile action towards a head of state, or any other emergencies that may arise.

Language proficiency: As Royal Guards may serve in a variety of international diplomatic contexts, they should be proficient in the language spoken in the host country to be able to communicate with local authorities.

These training modules may be conducted through a combination of classroom instruction and practical exercises. Additionally, the number of training hours vary based on the countries and organisations that the guard is trained for.

With their Martial Arts training, Buckingham Palace Guards are not only a visible symbol of British Royalty but, also a formidable force when it comes to defending the Royal Family.

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