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THE MILITARY MESS:
Teaching Soldiers to Die Instead of Killing the Enemy
A frank conversation between two active duty military officers*
 
*(names have been withheld and content edited for political reasons)
Also read: Are Army Combatives effective?

--LETTER FROM OFFICER "A":

"[I have] an observation and question... Having seen the straight to the point methodology of [Guided Chaos] it has become apparent that we are doing a great disservice to our soldiers in the way we prepare them for hand to hand combat. This is especially prevalent in [a branch of the military]'s Combatives system. This system is incredibly inefficient when it comes to killing the enemy as most of a soldier's energy is wasted trying to grapple and get into a mount position instead of focusing on killing blows.

I understand that as leaders we are supposed to lead the way and set the example; however when faced with such an inferior hand to hand combat system I feel that we are setting our soldiers up for failure at the crucial moment when their lives will be on the line...

...[What would be] an effective means of getting the word out about Ki Chuan Do and possibly incorporating training opportunities for the soldiers in my unit as we prepare for a deployment to come in the future. Your input is much appreciated."

--LETTER FROM OFFICER "B":

"Thanks for the kind words. As you can imagine I too have the same frustrations with what is being taught within
[a branch of the military] and being billed as hand to hand Combatives. In both situations these [branches of the military] have been duped by the sport fighting crowd and those proponents within the services into believing that such sportive techniques are suitable for the battle field when in fact they are nothing more than a recipe for disaster.

I actually know one of the developers of the
[a branch of the military] Martial Arts Program who happens to hold a Black Belt in Ju Jitsu and he told me was adamant against teaching the throwing techniques and ground fighting stuff since it requires tremendous physical ability which he happens to have, in order to make it work.

He felt that because some of our missions require us to roll people up and detain them that the basic arm control techniques were essential from a non-lethal perspective but, and I want to make this clear, he believed such skills should be taught "only after we taught
[soldiers in a branch of the military] how to kill the enemy." Well to make a long story short he was a Master Sergeant and got out ranked and so that was that.

I understand that a part of this may be something that is used as an excellent recruitment tool and I'm all about that but if we are going to teach something, then why not teach something that is for real? I mean if you were going to teach someone how to fish you wouldn't give them a big rock, a stick and some string you would actually teach them the right way with the right tools from very the start. Makes sense to me...

Other excuses that I've heard as to why we don't teach folks to kill within the system (generally from senior officers and Sergeants Majors) is the old refrain that if they taught such techniques that there is a fear that
[soldiers in a branch of the military] would be apt to use them out on liberty against civilians, I've even heard some [a branch of the military] officers spew this nonsense as well (as an aside, notice that it is generally Officers that say these kinds of dumb things and not our enlisted men, hmmm... I guess you have a different opinion on this sort of thing when you're the closest dog to the sled).

I call BS on this because we teach ...soldiers to fire rifles and pistols all the time and there is nothing to stop them from going out to your local pawn shop, buying a gun and sniping at people from the bell tower. As easy as that would be you just don't see it happening. So as far as I'm concerned that line of thinking just doesn't pass the straight face test.

From a psychological stand point many people are dancing around the issue. I believe the reason for this is three fold:

1) because they have never seen real down and dirty street fights they really don't know what people are capable of, the speed, the ferocity it's just on a different level and it is something that they are oblivious to,

2) their impression of real fighting (like most people in our culture) has been shaped by sports fighting, movies and TV so they have no frame of reference from which to work based in truth, 

3) finally, there is fear of stepping into the dark world of real up close and personal life and death combat. Many people pontificate on it and write all sorts of books about it but very few actually call a spade a spade on this stuff because to acknowledge it is to acknowledge the fact that some of our preconceptions about life and death combat are just plain wrong and must be changed (i.e., stepping out of their personal comfort zones and accepting what is real even if its ugly). There are other reasons I could point to but you get the point.

Think about it: they are expecting Soldiers... who are wearing on average 71-lbs of gear to go to the ground and grapple with people who are probably trying to kill them and then to do what? To control them? This is insane yet it is what passes in this day and age for military Combatives.

The other argument I hear is that "...well if such techniques are not suitable for combat then why are they taught to Law Enforcement?"  Probably because most laws and policies state that Cops just can't shoot these fools out right and the bad guys know it which is why some of them try to resist. If the Cops had the latitude to shoot these folks for even the slightest provocation it would be an entirely different story.

Just look at your average episode of "COPS": these folks use grappling and locks and holds techniques or at least attempt to all of the time and at the end of the day what do they end up doing with an uncooperative assailant? Dog piling them on the ground with about three or four Cops. Why? Because people are not easy to control when they don't want to be controlled; also because the cops are not allowed to just crush these people outright with their weapons or their hands, they have to resort to this sort of thing.

How compliant do you think someone would be if at first provocation they were struck across the wind pipe or poked in the eye? I can assure you contrary to those who practice "mystical super double secret Kung Fu" there really is no good counter measure to a crushed wind pipe. Sorry...

Why is it that we can see that, yet some folks in the military can't?

Isn't it ironic how these two systems which tout themselves as military Combatives (with the exception of some of the knife and bayonet fighting training) does not have one hand to hand killing move?

Isn't it strange that in either system while there are a lot of submission holds and choke out techniques there is not one technique that teaches you how to snap someone's neck?

"Yet the alleged Al Qaeda training manual recovered in Manchester, England several years ago and used in several terrorist trials teaches exactly the kinds of killing techniques that we used to teach. Apparently the enemy gets it and we don't."

In Guided Chaos, while not always shown in our DVD's and other publications, such techniques "are taught" especially to those who are tasked to go into harm's way (i.e., military, security / PSD and Law Enforcement types).

For those in Law Enforcement or PSD work it becomes a means of last resort if they have to use such techniques to save their lives or others, for military personnel it is what is taught from the very beginning starting with strikes and progressing to snapping necks etc...

The truth is the current status of hand to hand combat in the services is at a woeful state and is totally inadequate for the reality of what we are faced with today. We're just fortunate that as Americans and Europeans in most cases we are physically stronger than the average person from these third world countries that we encounter so in some respects it does allow us to apply some of this nonsense with some measure of success. Also remember that the enemy knows our rules of engagement as well as we do and intuitively knows that if caught, if they surrender, we will not harm them.

Heck in most cases the terrorists actually live better as detainees than before we captured them, (i.e., three square meals a day, a warm rack to sleep in, a prayer rug, clean shower facilities etc...).

But I digress...

The important thing is that one must first recognize what is real versus what is not. I personally have nothing against sport fighting or ultimate fighting but people in the military need to realize that in the real world when such techniques run up against the brutal reality of life and death combat they almost always fail even for the most gifted among us.

Remember that everything has it's own dynamic and fighting is no different and real fighting and sport fighting are not the same thing and anyone who can't see the difference does not know what they are talking about, period!

Hey [Officer A] I know I've rambled on but like yourself I needed to get it off my chest...

Take care."


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