Sunday, February 12, 2006

Modern Army Combatives Program

Doesn't this sound a lot like what we're trying to do? The difference is that we've started with Muay Thai/Western boxing, then we're going into the takedowns, then we're going to BJJ-style ground fighting. I want to just work in stick (Arnis) and knife, along with gun disarms.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post. There's a link for a video download of the ground program.

This is the "official web site of the United States Combative Arts Association." According to the site, this program is "now official Army doctrine."

Two basic tenets:

There are a couple of basic tenets of Modern Combatives that are important to understand. The first one is that the winner of the hand-to-hand fight in combat is the one whose buddy shows up first with a gun.

... second tenet is that the defining characteristic of a warrior is the willingness to close with the enemy.


The story of Modern Combatives really begins in 1995. The Commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion LTC Stan McChrystal ordered a reinvigoration of martial arts training within the battalion. Although there have been many excellent and innovative combatives teachers in the Army over the years, none of them had never been successful at spreading effective combatives training to the average soldier. As the leaders of the battalion began training, it didn’t take long for serious problems with the existing program to surface. There was the feeling among the men that the techniques would not work and that it was a waste of valuable training time.

... The first step was to examine successful programs from around the world. What was found is that most of them had one thing in common, one underlying reason that the program was successful. Countries with an indigenous national program, Korean Tae-Kwon Do, Japanese Judo, Muay Thai in Thailand, would have much easier time developing an effective combatives program. One exception to this rule is Russia. They are one of the few who take an essentially untrained population, and yet have good success in training their soldiers.

The Russian system of SOMBO was developed specifically for the Russian Military by, among others, Vasilii Oshchepkov who studied Judo at the Kodokan. SOMBO combines the techniques of Judo and native Russian martial arts as its foundation. Although technically similar to what had been taught to the U.S. Army during the same time period, it was much more successfully spread throughout the soviet army. The feeling was that the success of SOMBO was linked in its competitive component which provides motivation for soldiers to train. If you can be the best in your platoon, company, battalion, or the Army, there is a reason to strive for excellence. However, the very thing that was the strength of the system also has
some distinct problems, not the least of which was that the competitive form has, in the opinion of some, changed the techniques that were emphasized. None the less the Ranger committee tentatively decided that the new system would follow a similar approach.

Realizing that there were not enough SOMBO instructors available the Rangers began looking for a similar system as a base for their program. Head coach J. Robinson, of the University of Minnesota wrestling program, himself a former Vietnam Era Ranger came out to evaluate the emerging program and gave some valuable advise. Finally, after looking at many different systems, the Rangers sent several men to train at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance California.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as taught at the Gracie Academy fit almost every aspect of the Military’s needs perfectly. It was easy to learn, had a competitive form, and was proven effective within the arena of hand-to-hand fighting. It did however have some problems. One aspect of Jiu-Jitsu was principally designed for one on one arena fighting, and the other, sportive Jiu-Jitsu, had great potential to change the art into something not oriented toward fighting at all. It was decided that by refocusing on combat, these weaknesses could be overcome, and with forethought and by learning the lessons that various complementary systems had to teach, they could actually improve on the base systems.

With actual combat experience as a guide, the Rangers designed a system with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as the technical base that was oriented to the needs of the Army. A systematic approach to training emerged, which detailed the techniques that would be taught, and in what order. Rangers would start with the basics of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ground fighting, and progress into the throws and takedowns of Judo and Wrestling, and the strikes of Boxing and Muay Thai. All of this could combine with marksmanship and contact weapons training from Kali and the western martial arts into a totally integrated system of Close Quarters Combat. Henceforth, yielding Rangers who could transition smoothly between ranges of combat, with or without weapons, individually or as a group.

Nice army article on it

Link to download a VERY large (~80MB) video course of the MACP from Hock's free downloads area. Excellent material.

1 comment:

SBertolino said...

Sounds like the Ranger's program is similar to the Marine's MCMAP program which I understand is also based on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu