Insights for the Modern Army Combatives Program

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts - General' started by CNida, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. CNida

    CNida Green Belt

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    I was just reading through the forum here and noticed a thread about the MACP that the US Army used while I was in the military. I'd like to revive that topic for discussion, but I would like to put a spin on it.

    I am very interested to hear what outsiders have to say about the program in general, maybe hear some opinions or insights to the system in general, and would definitely love to hear how others might improve about the system.

    When I say outsiders, I generally mean those who haven't served but have practiced another form of martial art and might have something to contribute. I would also love to hear what other veterans think about the system as well.

    For those that don't know what MACP is or what it teaches, read on and I will attempt to inform you while sharing my thoughts on the program as well.

    In my opinion, the logic of the system is flawed for many reasons, at least from my experience of it. Firstly, all aspects of Level 1 Combatives took place on the ground. I simply don't buy the argument that most fights take place on the ground. It happens, but it feels much more natural to fight, as a human being, on our feet where we can strike someone or run away if need be. Ground effectiveness is something that takes time, where as anyone can make a "tactical withdrawal" without much training.

    On that note, groundfighting does have its place, and I think that the basics that the MACP teaches are sound, and good to know just in case your fight does end up there. However, it lacks effectiveness in the sense that, if you are in a combat situation, you are ideally going to be wearing combat gear which will severely restrict your movement on the ground.

    The MACP needs to refocus into a standing-focused system. Soldiers need to be taught how to defend themselves on the feet with basic strikes and stand-up grappling and throws.

    I have discussed this with a friend of mine on multiple occasions. If we are strictly speaking in an unarmed sense, as in the soldier doesn't even have his rifle or pistol to use as a bludgeon, I think basic boxing fundamentals are key. A soldier fully suited in his gear cannot effectively kick due to his center of gravity being more easily swayed. Basic boxing techniques, with some dirty fighting tactics. Eye gouges, face rakes, small joint manipulation, groin strikes. Whatever works effectively.

    The ground aspect needs a slight tweak as well. It needs to be focused more into helping a soldier back to his feet. As effective as I believe BJJ can be against a single opponent on the ground, I cant see it being effectively used in a combat situation. A soldier needs to be taught how to stay on his feet, how to regain the standing position no matter where he is on the ground, and submission holds while fighting off the back should be a last resort.


    ____________________________

    "He who knows not and knows not he knows not: He is a fool. Shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not: He is simple. Teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows: He is asleep. Awaken him. He who knows and knows that he knows: He is wise. Follow him."
    - Bruce Lee
     
  2. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I was recently training KM with an ex Australian commando and asked him how our training compared with the hth training he had in the army. He pointed out that due to all the other things they had to learn, demolition, weapons, etc, and the fact that they normally had access to a weapon of some description, unarmed combat was not a high priority. From his perspective KM was good training.
    :asian:
     
  3. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    I think it's way too abbreviated to do any more than address the barest of basics. On the other hand, you've got a rifle, pistol, knife, and maybe a 'hawk or bludgeon, lots of buddies, and a good support and supply chain. How much need of HTH, particularly empty-handed, do you really need?

    Honestly, I think that some fundamentals on how to keep a melee weapon "at bay" long enough for a buddy to shoot the adversary or long enough to deploy your own melee weapon, and then K.I.S.S. training in that melee weapon (bowie & 'hawk, if you ask me ;)) is the way to go. Empty handed HTH is for the inevitable bar fight with one of the other branches. I had an old Silat friend who used to say, "You don't eat with your hands, why would you fight with them?"

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  4. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Military hand to hand combatives are taught for a couple of purposes. One part is to provide the soldier with some effective skills should the fecal matter totally intersect the rotating blades, whether on the battlefield or off, when they have to fight. (Yeah, that might include an "friendly debate" of the relative merits of various branches...) A big part is to practice and develop some aggressive urges and drives.

    But... most are also reflective of popular perceptions and whatever ideas are currently gaining merit in the training brass's world. (Happens in LE Defensive Tactics, too... We're only now beginning to get rid of some very aikido oriented ideas in the state mandated curriculum areas that were there because one of the big-wigs for many years at the state level was a high level aikidoka... and didn't remember how little of that works without lots of training and practice.) Add in the pace of military change, and you're seeing the impact of the Gracies in the late 90s, early 2000s. (And not a little coincidental promotion by the Gracies...) The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is a bit of an exception, in that they seem to have really taken a solid, extensive, and careful look at the combative needs of a current soldier or Marine...

    One more point... that oft-misquoted statistic about most fights going to the ground. It's been discussed at length here before, so I'm not going into it too deeply, but it comes for a study of LAPD use of force, and it's often misunderstood because of that. There're reasons why cops often take someone resisting arrest to the ground; those reasons don't necessarily apply to many other fighting situations.
     
  5. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I have to agree jks911 that the MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) has taken a very solid look at what they need for their profession. I know that the Modern Army Combatives Program has taken a few steps in the right direction but is still a work in progress.
     
  6. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    The trend in both the army's new combatives approach and in MCMAP, is that they are more concerned with building fighting spirit in their soldier than applicable techniques. Both use an MMA type approach so that the soldiers can engage in live sparring and get that "don't quit" attitude that you can't develop from drill based training (this was one reason why the Army Rangers liked GJJ so much). Consider the fact that many kids entering the military (and police academies) have never been in a serious fist fight. Life is alot softer now than in previous generations where fighting spirit was more common.

    The other consideration is that the "new" military is gearing itself more for peacekeeping/policing type missions where they are more apt to be trying to subdue the bad guys instead of just shooting them (not saying this is cut and dried, but is a newer trend). So, what was taught to soldiers in WW2 to take out a windpipe or an eye doesn't have a place in today's philosophy.
     
  7. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Still if I was to pick one system for military training it would be modeled at the Pekiti Tirsia system taught to the Force Recon Marines.

    Here are a couple of examples of a recent video of their training. Heavy on things that work together whether with a firearm, knife or empty handed. Simple to learn as well.



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  8. CNida

    CNida Green Belt

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    I like that. I like it a lot. Seems very practical and very effective.

    Aside from some sub par bayonet training, there was no training in the use of a bladed weapon. There were lots of soldiers carrying their own personal knives but there were no formal training on its use.

    And another thing which was a travesty: there was no weapon retention training. Granted, I was not in a combat arms MOS, but at the time when I went through BCT, basic training was the same no matter where you were or what your MOS was. Other than some minor differences of course.


    ____________________________

    "He who knows not and knows not he knows not: He is a fool. Shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not: He is simple. Teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows: He is asleep. Awaken him. He who knows and knows that he knows: He is wise. Follow him."
    - Bruce Lee
     
  9. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Knife training, bayonet training, weapon retention, the same movement for weapon and empty hands makes it easier for a soldier to remember. The mindset that you do not want to be on the ground and would rather stomp someone on the head with your boots, etc. Not that grappling skills are not important just less important than the aforementioned ones. Just as everything previously mentioned falls behind firearms training in matter of importance. These are just some ideas that I feel are integral when teaching military personnel martial skills.
     
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Here are five videos featuring the Modern Army Combatives Level 1 in a part 5 series









     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  11. CNida

    CNida Green Belt

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    Exactly. I spent exactly 40 hours on the level 1 course. We did not learn any standing grappling techniques until the last day and we spent less than an hour or so. I was taught a total of three standing throw techniques, which were not drilled.

    The level 2 course was a small step up and introduced a little bit more on the feet. We did the tazer drill to simulate the fact that you can never be sure your opponent is armed so always assume they are.

    Only in level 3 did it get better, but I was unable to attend the course due to logistical reasons. Level three included pugil training, some stick and knife fighting, and some firearms usage I believe.

    Level 4 was strictly administrative. All about how to run Division level tournaments and such. At least thats what I was told but I never met many level 4 certified instructors.


    ____________________________

    "He who knows not and knows not he knows not: He is a fool. Shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not: He is simple. Teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows: He is asleep. Awaken him. He who knows and knows that he knows: He is wise. Follow him."
    - Bruce Lee
     

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