Martial Arts, Combatives and other silly shit

It seems every decade the new martial arts trend sets in.  Right now it’s MMA (mixed martial arts) and Brazilian Jujitsu.  Now I claim no expertise in any of these.  Nope the only belt I wear is black though.  But it tends to be leather and used to hold my pants up or carry my knife.

The Army has embraced the Brazilian form.  With the Modern Army Combatives (MAC) the army has taken sides.  Well for a while anyway.  The logic is the Army needed something effective in building the “Warrior Ethos” while not hurting soldiers.  In the past many attempts to incorporate Hand to Hand combat of some sort has been tried.  The results often were many sprains and broken bones the put soldiers out of training for weeks at a time.  This in turn made commanders very leery of having any type of hand to hand training.  The “Modern Army Combatives” seems to have brought back hand to hand yet reduced the injuries.   The question is, is it really effective for combat?

I almost hate to write on this subject since I’m pleased to see the Army including a form of hand to hand regardless of the style.

So my personal opinion is that MAC is limited.   While many good usable skills are taught,  for the no “shit I’m gonna die” fighting I would not rely too heavily on the “lets go to the ground” mentality.

Often MMA skills get incorporated into the program as many of the instructors tend to migrate to this in their off time or the hired instructors are MMA fighters’ full time.  This is great and these guys are good.  But good at what they do which is fight in a sport with rules.  Granted MMA today is about as close as you can get in a sport and be real but it still has rules that take away from what a combat soldier would use.  (Note some MMA and Combatives fighters are good street fighters also.  This is not about individuals and how they use the skills they develop)

If your first line of attack isn’t designed to cripple, maim, blind or kill your opponent it’s just a sport.

So not long ago our team had some time with an MAC instructor or detaining a person of questionable loyalties.  The technique used was to take the individual to the ground where you’d maneuver him to his stomach and zip-tie him.  Would it work in real life?  Well with 40 + lbs of body armor and everything from your rifle to grenades hanging off us we doubted it.  So with our own instructor ( another team guy who possesses many skills in this area) we did another session that was more Neanderthal like and seemed to work much better.  Simple large muscle group techniques with assertiveness and the person in question had little choice in what he was going to do.

I’ve worked with a couple of people over the years that got it.  Their styles had nothing to do with tradition or hyping a sport but eliminating the threat as soon as possible and moving on.  Sadly not many real MA instructors qualify in this.

But hey the Army is getting closer.


10 thoughts on “Martial Arts, Combatives and other silly shit

  1. One other thing JB…When I was in the Army it was difficult to teach 80 percent of the trainees hand to hand combat because of the lack of coordination mostly and because they really didn’t like the Guy teaching it to them…Course you might be talking about an already trained soldier in which wants to take the class and I agree that any type of training is better than nothing…


  2. 11th, I’m not sure hand to hand of any kind is for basic. But once at their unit it can be useful. For us, it has some merit but probably not the best solution.

  3. I agree….Our Uncle Bill took Karate in Nam and he was Effective. Specially the night Kenny and myself Jumped him in the dark. He knocked out Kenny Cold and took me out in the Groin. By the way it was a frontal Assault with one coming straight at him and I came from the air…Thought that would be safer…..He hit Kenny and dropped him at the same time seeing me and took me out with his feet…..It was dark and we thought we had the advantage….Anyway…Kenny woke up from his Nap and I had a slight Limp for a while…

  4. While the Gracie stuff is great for conditioning, I don’t see many practical applications for hand-to-hand combat, having trained in it for years. To me, that’s either kill or be killed, and while GJJ is fantastic for what it is, it doesn’t teach the lay student to kill effeciently. It seems what the Army will eventually move towards is something more along the lines of Israeli Krav Maga, which teaches critical strikes and kicks, combined with moves for disarming attackers armed with knives, rifles or pistols. Krav Maga is rapidly gaining in police circles and the military won’t be far behind. Good post!

  5. I guess, like you said, it’s good that they are at least teaching something. But you’re right about the “rules”.

    I’m thinking that about 99.999% of encounters are settled by gunfire, but if it comes down to hand-to-hand only one of you is coming back home for Christmas (or Ramadan or whatever). That being the case, there are no rules. You kick him in the balls, you go for his eyes and gouge them out, you grab his genitilia, or if he’s got you down you spit in his face and take advantage of that split second in which he recoils to gain the upper hand.

    There are no second place winners.

  6. I’m a firm believer in tickle them to death and Rodney Dangerfield jokes. It has disarmed many hostile females I have encounted over years of hand to hand combat.

  7. Pingback: Synergy in the fighting arts « Sake White

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