HOW EFFECTIVE IS ARMY COMBATIVES
HOW EFFECTIVE IS ARMY COMBATIVES
U.S. Army Infantry NCO:
U.S. Army Infantry NCO:
Rex Applegate, whose system of close combat does, according to the views of many (including this writer) surpass all of the other close combat and hand-to- hand methods, is the result of NO grappling/groundfighting background at all! He learned the British commando methods, the Fairbairn system, and had been a brawler. He also disdained groundfighting as sport, and knew that such was nonsense when preparing for serious hand-to-hand battle. Without the background in grappling/groundwork to “overcome” when considering how to handle actual hand-to-hand engagements, Applegate absorbed the cream of what Fairbairn taught, and threw in some of his own rough-and-tumble fighting savvy to produce a most formidable method for no-nonsense combat.
But it’s a serious myth and misconception. First of all, all fights do not “inevitably end up on the ground” as the proponents of groundgrappling-as-hand-to-hand-combat insist. What is frequently true is that many contests between grapplers and hitters end up on the ground, because sporting contests favor grappling and groundwork finishing actions. It is possible to use a much greater quantity of techniques that the grappling arts teach, in a sporting context, than it is possible to use percussionary techniques outside predicaments of lethal battle. Remember: Despite the claim that UFC and similar events have “no rules”, the truth is that not only are there numerous rules, but those rules forbid precisely those striking and related techniques that close combat and self-defense demand be reflexively employed in actual battle. The reader can verify this easily by simply checking and finding out for himself what the rules of these so- called “no rules” events compel their entrants to abide by. Just to mention a few examples:
• No eye gouging
There is more, but that should be sufficient to prove to any honest person that contests — in which there are (and must be) rules — bear no relation to combat, where rules simply do not apply.
2. BLOWS ARE SUPERIOR TO GRAPPLING ACTIONS IN REAL COMBAT.
First of all, blows are simpler than holds and throws. They therefore may be applied more speedily. Whenever endeavoring to apply any form of hold or throw, one leaves oneself open to attack. This is not true when applying good combat blows. In fact, when one correctly employs the blows of unarmed combat, the process of applying them offers a built-in degree of tactical “defense” for the applicant.
The argument that expert karate practitioners are often defeated when confronting grapplers in the challenge events is irrelevant. First, because the karate expert is generally “expert” in sporting-competitive moves. He uses punches (much like a boxer), and he uses the utterly useless and completely impractical high and fancy kicks of contest karate or kick boxing. Second, because those blows which are appropriate to and effective in hand-to-hand combat are forbidden in the “all out contests”. No finger attacks to the eyes. No biting. No kicking the testicles or stomping the knees. No blows to the carotid artery or throat area. Etcetera. No chinjabs. No gouges. Very limited elbow usage. And so on. Grapplers tend to prevail in contests because contests barely limit the grapplers at all in regard to what in their repertoires they may utilize against their opponents. On the other hand, the “hitters” are completely hamstrung.
Second, blows are superior in combat because — upon impact — they at least distract the recipient. Holding or seizing, on the other hand, alerts the individual and often triggers a vicious retaliatory response (forbidden in the contests). When a person is struck hard with virtually any of the proven blows of unarmed combat his conscious focus is, for at least a second or two, often longer, disoriented. The blows of unarmed combat are whipped into an adversary without warning — not from a “fighting” stance, or after an agreed upon preparatory “setting oneself to fight”, by squaring off. When unarmed combat blows land well to the right targets, there is usually little problem thereafter with dispatching the enemy at one’s leisure.
Forgetting for a moment entirely about the groundgrapplers, we wish to point out that even much of the more practical ju-jutsu doctrine that is widely taught islittle more than suicidal insofar as weapon countering is concerned. All too often so-called “disarming” is taught with the absurd assumption that one will not encounter immediate and fierce resistance from the armed adversary’s other hand, or/and from his feet and legs, from his elbows, and from possible head butting! It is instead assumed that the defender need only evade or block the attacker’s initial action, and then apply some form of wrist or armlock, perhaps coupled with a throw. No thought is given to the attacker being a MURDERER — a person who is after the defender’s life! He will not stand still and wait while the defender deftly maneuvers him into a pain compliance hold, or some elaborate throw. First, grappling with an armed enemy is a mistake. Second, going to the ground with him while grappling for a submission hold amounts to sheer lunacy. Anyone who believes that this sort of thing can realistically be done in an actual situation of armed attack, has rocks in his head
U.S. Army Infantry NCO:
They also make a very good point in the use of weapons. Their presence must be expected in a real life, and we need to account for them when we train.
I will tell you that I disagree 100% when you say that training and grappling on the mats has no relevance to fighting armed assailants. I doubt anyone trains to fight armed guys with real guns, real bullets and knives. We use rubber guns, shock knives and well…. mats. We don't want to hurt the guys. No need to show how "tough" we are by getting slammed on the concrete all afternoon.
Having said this..... Teaching soldiers to ground fight first has the following advantages: ( I will talk a lot about army combatives, but I feel that since it came under fire in this discussion, the air needs to be cleared. Thank you and I am open for questions) It is understood, even by BJJ and army combatives practitioners, that ground fighting alone is sometimes not enough. This is why we also include a lot of stand up work in our program. Sadly, since most people only make it to level 1 or maybe 2 (specifically most officers who learn level 1 in OCS and then never train anymore or go to the higher level courses), this remains an obscure fact. Even within the army, the popular myth is that we only encourage going to the ground. Techniques are easier to apply and do not require as much training as stand-up fighting. Remember we don't have a lot of time to train in H2H, we have many other warrior tasks to work on (i.e. marksmanship and first aid). And thats' only at the individual soldier level.
On top of that, we have unit training, mission specific stuff, etc. This is why traditional forms of martial arts do not work for us. They require a lot more training than we are able to accomplish. But it's not because we think nothing but grappling works :) As a matter of fact, the core fighting strategy of MACP teaches the soldier to utilize 3 options: create space, maintain space and, if all else fails, close with the enemy and finish the fight. The first option is always the best one since we can go back to projectile range and simply shoot the bastard.
Option two involves use of secondary weapon, whether it's a hand gun or a
Another thing that people fail to realize is that even though in training we roll, control and apply submissions.... in every dominant position there is the potential for a strike... whether to finish the fight or simply to be used as a disrupting technique to finish the enemy some other way. Just because we don't smash each other's faces when we are on the mount, doesn't meant we couldn't do it if we needed to. We don't train to tap people out in the cage... we train to close with and defeat the enemy in close combat.
In conclusion... I do agree with the article in many ways and the stuff that you guys show on the video is good but perhaps a little biased to show the ineffectiveness of grappling. Only a very inexperienced fighter would try to shoot in to an opponent armed with a knife like you show in the video. This reaction is not realistic and biased to portray grappling as a
I really have a problem with people talking trash about Modern Army Combatives based on what Colonel so and so and whatever other guy said. I have seen high ranking officers who hated the program and that believed it was useless become the biggest supporters and really push it in their units after they have experienced it. I urge those interested and that are in or close to someone in the army to do the same.
If you are still not convinced, no problem. But just because it works for
First off, I am only speaking here of hand to hand life and death fighting. Although I was not in the military, many of my relatives served and have seen serious action both in WWII and Vietnam and they did deal with some horrible situations and some still bear the permanent wounds to prove it. My experience is from the streets as an active police officer during a time of great turmoil in our country where members of groups, mostly political, and of a terrorist nature were involved.
Now we have gangs which have no respect for law and have often proven to be extremely violent to my police officer students and the police in general. Here is where more hand to hand situations occur than in the battlefields of today. Police officers don't have the advantage of carrying machine guns and various other far more powerful weapons. Thankfully they don't need them but this is the point: A law enforcement officer has far more potential to be involved hand to hand with both armed and unarmed criminals who would take their life in a second given the chance...Yes I know that my students who are active or have been active military members (including Army Rangers, Seals, Marines, Air Force Spec Ops etc.) have had occasion to use Close Combatives but the number of cases is less than what average big city cops are exposed to on a daily basis.
Don't get me wrong--these men and some women have seen real action and have done great and brave service for our country and have been courageous under fire and have killed the enemy on many occasions. The main point here is that they did not get involved with grappling BJJ style when the chips were down. They mostly found that the basic hand to hand of WWII vintage worked well and that grappling would probably get them killed in many cases.
I am not trying to tout "My way of fighting" over others...Reality is a harsh teacher...Imagine fighting hand to hand with an enemy combatant while wearing all the battle gear that most soldiers wear today...Wearing a flak vest, plus approximately 75 pounds of gear including rifle, and any other weapons and ammo makes grappling untenable as a method of self defense in the battlefield. For the police, even the gun belt and radio and other gear make grappling difficult against serious attackers.
It has been demonstrated by female police officers that the BJJ-trained instructors of a large western State could not be controlled or tapped out when they applied uncooperative kicking and other techniques. These same female officers were able to get to their sidearms under forceful attack by these same, far larger male instructors and pull the trigger on their attackers in the vast majority of cases. It only took 4 hours of Guided Chaos ground fighting training for them to prevail. The instructors were not going easy because they had a big stake in winning to show BJJ to be effective but they failed. This alone should make a case for at least adding more realistic fighting to the military training instead of the sportive methodology of MMA and BJJ alone.
Yes I know, some striking techniques are taught but all of the military men I have worked with who have received the military training have shown that most of it was too weak and watered down to be effective. It takes very little time to train folks to fight using WWII style tactics and today's improvements make it even more effective.
The argument that grappling is easier to teach is false. Also if the enemy is larger, armed and has friends, the MMA/BJJ models don't work. I read your message concerning further training that the Army teaches but have not found anyone who can demonstrate these advanced techniques who have served. Perhaps only a select few get this "extra good training"... Also I would like to see a BJJ technique that actually works against a knife wielding serious attacker. I would gladly show this to as many folks as I could but after over a decade of BJJ/MMA there seems to be no such workable technique. I would love to see this and be able to tout this as coming from our military training, simply for the fact that I am proud of our country and it's military members and would love to be able to point to something workable for keeping our service and police members safer.
Ari Kandel GC 4th degree
Crux of the matter:
We know what the modern Army and Marine combatives courses are about. Some of our students and instructors have been involved in each, hands on. We have worked with masters of the techniques and tactics you teach. Some have become our students.
You have no idea what we do (beyond a few demonstration videos), nor what our collective experience is. How many desperate, outnumbered, underarmed biting-range engagements have your instructors been in that resulted in KIAs and severe casualties? That's the kind of experience we consider relevant, and have tons of access to. It has happened to cops and their associates’ way more often than it's happened to American soldiers since WWII--in which, incidentally, basic WWII-style non-grappling combative methods (created, notably, by master grapplers who understood the difference) became the most proven effective in history.
If the 20th century is too ancient for you, we've had students and instructors taking lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, amassing many experiences and reports of close combat, and actually receiving many requests from newly blooded soldiers for REAL combat training, as many were discovering that what the Army or Marines taught them was not combat applicable!
If you think your grappling training is anywhere close to full life or death intensity and realism, well, good luck with that, and may you never face adversaries in close quarters hellbent on taking your life, without the aid of your best weapons and buddies.
We're not out to bash anyone, nor to promote ourselves at the expense of anyone else. You're mistaking truth for marketing spin. Our goal is to help save good lives.
You are welcome to train with us whenever the opportunity may present itself. We anticipate that you, like many of your contemporaries, will have an eye-opening and paradigm-shifting experience. All the talking/writing is worth the paper it's written on compared to hands on experience.
Whatever your preferred training methods, we're most certainly on the same side of the fights that matter most. Keep up your sacred work, keeping Americans safe and free."