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.