Striking is Inefficient?


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
Don Rearic posted a link to an Army combatives manual earlier. It states in Ch. 6:
Strikes are an inefficient method of ending a fight. However, they are a significant part of most fights

In Ch. 1:
Dominant Body Position. Position refers to the location of the fighter's body in relation to his opponent's. A vital principle when fighting is to gain control of the enemy by controlling this relationship. Before any killing or disabling technique can be applied, the soldier must first gain and maintain one of the dominant body positions

In Ch. 3:
Basic ground-fighting techniques build a fundamental understanding of dominant body position, which should be the focus of most combatives training before moving on to the more difficult standing techniques. Ground fighting is also where technique can most easily be used to overcome size and strength.

The first two chapters on technique are on groundfighting, including the mount and guard. I was surprised by how groundfighting-oriented it was and how much it gave the appearance of being influenced by Gracie jiu-jitsu; I don't think earlier versions were so groundfighting-oriented but I could very easily be mistaken.
Gotta love that! I had heard on ITG that the Army was going to emphasize BJJ for hand to hand, but I wasn't sure what that meant.

I've got to print that manual! Kyle would spend WEEKS teaching an armbar from the guard, and the Army has it boiled down to 4 photos with captions. I KNEW he was holding back on us. :rolleyes: Seriously, I hope the actual instruction is more detailed. Knowing 1/2 a technique is dangerous.

As far as strikes being "inefficient", I'm not really qualified to say. I have very few KO's in standup, because I've always trained with a lot of control. Perhaps the point is that a good right to the jaw will usually create a KO, but a tight collar choke will always cause some zzzzzz's. Personally, I have more confidence in my grappling, only because I've done more training against fully resisting opponents on the floor. I know just what it takes to put someone out. On my feet, it's more mysterious.
Originally posted by Icepick

ITG? :confused:

Personally, I have more confidence in my grappling, only because I've done more training against fully resisting opponents on the floor.

I have become very enamored of this philosophy, as I posted here. It makes a lot of sense. It helps explain why boxers so often defeat martial artists, and why Thai kickboxing is so successful against other arts.
:erg: Wow, sounds like some good marketing material, "Army says striking is inefficient" :D

Of course, the point of control is a good one. When standing up, you basically have no control of the other person. That's why it is a big deal, say in boxing, to get your opponent "on-the-ropes". That is analogous to the control achieved by striking from the top when on the ground.

The forum on ITG is no more, but pretty much everyone has moved to

- Kyle
I think that it is ok! Though it is just a standard for training. In a typical combat senerio, the mount position would be used with a weapon (knife, thin wire etc,), or while you are running the enemy down after he has run out of rounds, or he is attacking you using the straight onward rushing attack. We were taught a little different for the onward attack by after making the intial contact, knee to the side ribs as you would uppercut to the throat to crush the trechea and larynx, etc, etc, on the way to the deck. The typical push-pull concept! Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
Of course you can gain a dominent position while on your feet. You don't have to be sitting on someone's chest to be considered dominent. And, once you have acquired the dominent position, a strike's effectivness is greatly increased.

It sounds like they hired a grappler so it is heavy on grappling. Any combat veterens here to provide personal preferences?
From the standpoint of you usually have to strike multiple times and can screw up your knuckles etc., it's less efficient than taking someone down and submitting them, or shooting them etc.
With all due respect to the grappling systems. To say striking is inefficient is the same as saying grappling is inefficient. Of cource, stiking is inefficient if it is taught wrong. If you consider just punching with your fist only, then you have not learned an efficient way to strike. There are many ways to form a weapon from your hands, and many vulnerable targets. For example, throat and eyes can be very effective ways to nutralize your enemy.

I would say a balance of the two is necessary. I would not want to be on top of someone only to be stabbed in the back by his friend. On the other hand, I would not like to find myself on the ground and not know what to do.
Originally posted by Jay Bell

I will agree. The way that grapplers tend to strike is ineffective :D

Stop trying to get me into trouble!:shrug:
Originally posted by Jay Bell

I will agree. The way that grapplers tend to strike is ineffective :D

Grapplers do not need to rely on KO strikes or "death touches." All a strike has to do is set up a takedown or do some damage.
Striking is not ineffective, it is just less effective than grappling, especially for the army. It is harder to knock someone out that to submit him (break bones). To me striking rely more on reflexes and timming, grappling more on technique.

-Bushido :asian:
In a combat confrontation, especially in military combat there would exist a need to use combined grappling and striking skills effectively. In this situation one would definitely have to complement the other. If the guy is coming at you with a knife or baoynet fixed to his/her rifle. This is clearly a case of using both skills effectively. A precise strike to a vital area would give you enough time for the kill. Just as a grapple break and controlled throw to set up the vital strike to kill; either with the enemy's weapon or your own! An inefficient grapple or strike and definitely both, would mean ultimate desaster for the soldier. Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
In the russian army (with sambo), if they are in hand-to-hand situation, they tend to use leg lock to break the leg of an opponent. It's "removing" 3 persons form the battle field: the injured and two carrying guys (it is a law to never let a injured on the field).

I would prefer to grapple if I was in the army, because rolling around on the floor might reduce my chances of getting shot or blown up, compared to fighting standing up.
Yes, and dont forget hands and legs injuries when punching and kicking. After the fights, soldiers have different tasks to accomplish using manual precision.

striking as well as grapps are effective. strikin will break bones and KO someone. grapplin can do bout the same just with less injury. but both should be learned, like if in a hand 2 hand combat, striking will do good on foot and grappling will do good on the floor. so the both are bout the same but in different ways
Striking can be effective, as well as grappling. You got to deal with the situation in front of you, there are no rule about how to react. But in the army, it would be more knife fighting I think.

The US military trains in multiple arts. Muay thai, wing chun, hapkido, boxing, wrestling, and BJJ. However, in just hand-to-hand combat, they aren't ranked number one. You would think so but realistically, they have no time to refine what they just learn and learn a variety of techniques. They can defend themselves, but are ranked lower than North Korea, Russia, China, and England (SAS). Although I'm from a military family and my younger brother being a Ranger years ago, they aren't the elite hand-to-hand combatants, that isn't their strongest point.

Fighting in the military is a bit different. Depending on what weapon you have (MP5 Navy vs. M-16 vs. M4A1 vs. etc), and how much gear you have, where you are, and what exactly your assignment is, and other environmental factors determine whether you're going to emphasize kicking or grappling. In a wet jungle type environment, like the one in Vietnam, you wouldn't want to emphasize kicking. In the sand, you would want grappling because anyone who's tried doing things in the sand like running, using footwork, etc. On high rock, you wouldn't want to grapple, that's just craziness.

However, the chances to use hand-to-hand combat skills are getting rarer and rarer. Ever since the 1980's, it has dropped considerably. People charging you with a bayonnet in open field... Not that common as it once used to be.