The Art of War
January 26, 2009
I have finally gotten around to enrolling in the hand-to-hand combat class known as Modern Army Combatives or just Combatives. In the past I have avoided this class like the plague. The core elements of the class are ground fighting/grappling techniques. If you have ever watched UFC on TV, the class teaches you the same techniques and skills. As a boxer it is completely unnaturual for me to find myself wrestling on the ground.
After day one, I can say I have found a new respect for the class. Today I spent basically 8 hours getting my ass kicked. I have found myself sitting in front of the computer, completely dehydrated, sore from head to toe; I am drinking glass after glass of water and doping up on Bayer.
The morning started with the 14 of us learning Combatives Drill One. This included achieving a dominate position over your party/enemy, whether this is to be on top of your foe or to achieve a position that leaves your counterpart with their back to you. Next we learned to escape your foes dominate position and place yourself back in a dominate position. We drilled this over and over, at a slow speed so everyone could learn each of the steps. I can tell you, it was incredibly repetitive and became very boring. But, with everything in the military and in life in gerneral, you must crawl before you walk and you damn well better walk before you run.
After breaking for a brief lunch, we returned. We continued to learn a few submission moves to include arms bars and chokes. Once we ran through those for the next we moved on to our run stage. First we grappled one versus one to achieve the dominate position, next moving to one versus one to achieve submission. From their we moved on to a drill known as the bull ring. Here, you fought everyone in the class. If you found yourself the “bull” every member of the class would grapple with you one after another with no rest in between. Just as you thought you were done with one person, another would be shooting in to achieve a dominant position and ultimately make you submit.
I must state it was definately a brutal day. I am excited, but at the same time cringe when I realize that this is only day one and their are four more days of progressivly harder drills. I will continue to keep you posted on the outcome of the days. For now I leave you with the history of the Modern Army Combatives Program (MAC-P).
The first thing you must learn which puts MAC-P into perspective is this: The of a hand-to-hand fight is the one whose buddy shows up first with a gun.
In 1995, the commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion ordered that his units start a reinvigorized program of martial arts training. As the men of 2nd Ranger Batt. began training it became obvious that their were many shortcomings with the current training program which had not been updated since World War II.
A committee, headed by Matt Larson, to develop a new training regiment that was more effective. The committee study many successful programs from all over the world, Korean Tae-Kwon Do, Japanese Judo, and Muay Thai from Thailand just to name a few. The committee quickly realized that most of these programs succeeded because of their everyday nature on the indiginous population in those countries. There was only one exception to this, Russian SOMBO. This program was a used to train the Russian Army which consisted of a virtually untrained population. The success of SOMBO was linked to motivation and mans naturual instinct to want to be the best. If you have a reason to learn and be the best, whether it be the best in your Platoon, Company, etc…, you will train better and strive to be better.
Unfortunately, there were not enough available SOMBO instructors. The Rangers began looking for a similar system of training. After evaluating many programs the Rangers sent several men to train at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrence, California.
The course of Brazalian Jiu-Jitsu, taught at the Gracie Academy, was quickly adopted. The Rangers were impressed by the ease it was taught and learned, it’s competitive nature and it was proven effective in the hand-to-hand ring. The fighting style suffered one downfall, it was designed for one versus one fighting. However, with additional trainining adopted from other fighting techniques, the base system of training could easily be adapted and overcome the short comings of the style.
The MAC-P is now taught to all members of the United States Army and has even become a testable Army Warrior Task. The training has been broken into four levels of training which build on each other. This had led to the creation of the Army Combatives School in 2005 and has led to this becoming one of the building blocks of the modern Soldier.