Thursday, June 01, 2006

Muay Thai Retribution, Filipino-style

This is a fascinating news article from the Philippines about Muay Thai training in the Philippines Army called, "Army kickboxers go after village thugs", and how they have used it exact justice on criminals. It's a little different type of justice than what we're used to in the U.S., though doubtless effective.

NOT LONG AGO, in a remote barrio in Mindanao, four of the military’s toughest “jungle fighters” were handpicked for a special mission -- to “neutralize” a small band of rogue men terrorizing the community. In about a week, all seven targets mysteriously fell, one after the other. Each had a severe neck, rib or spinal injury. All survived but none of them dared pick on the local folk again.
The mission never hit the headlines -- which was what the soldiers wanted. But it was a resounding success for the team that had quietly trained in an increasingly popular, albeit brutal, sport -- muay thai.
It's replacing other arts for CQB/hand-to-hand.

This traditional fighting art form from Thailand, also known as Thai kickboxing, has been steadily replacing karate and judo, the erstwhile close-combat method of choice, in the Philippine military’s elite forces.
Muay thai is referred to as “the science of eight limbs,” as the hands, feet, elbows and knees are all used extensively to inflict maximum damage to an opponent.
A master practitioner of muay thai has the ability to execute strikes using eight “points of contact,” as opposed to “two points” (fists) in boxing and “four points”
(fists, feet) used in the other forms of martial arts.
They've recruited a tough Muay Thai instructor named Zhie Vallega, who proved the effectiveness of his style.

The military leadership had gotten wind of the lanky boyish-looking instructor who could topple much bigger opponents with a combination of knee and elbow strikes done the muay thai way.

“This, to me, is the best and easiest way to do hand-to-hand combat,” said Vallega, 28, in an interview with the Inquirer. Not necessarily undermining the value of other disciplines, he said the technique was custom-fit for field battle. It was originally a “battlefield skill” learned by every Thai soldier centuries ago, he explained.

Despite his small stature, their instructor has won their respect.

In fact, most of the trainees were much bigger than their 5-foot-2, 100-pound teacher and could seemingly take him down with a single blow.
Vallega knew, too, that his resumé won’t erase any doubts. He has been a master of muay thai since 1996, including its predecessor, muay boran or ancient boxing.
In one session at the 2nd ID’s base in Camp Capinpin, Vallega asked for a volunteer. A well-built Army man stood up. He was about five inches taller than Vallega. He asked the soldier to attack him with impunity -- any which way he could. The volunteer threw a punch and missed. Before he could launch another attack he was on the floor with Vallega executing strikes using some of the vital points of contact.
From that day on, the soldiers were convinced that this was one martial art they couldn’t afford to miss.
Some of the criticism of the US Army's program has been its reliance on ground-fighting. Specifically, critics complain that the ground is the last place you'd want to be on a battlefield versus unknown numbers and armament. Muay Thai would seem to fit the bill for the bill for a battlefield, but definitely not for military or civilian police.

This is additional reinforcement of my contention that martial sports are more effective in application because they're more effective in training. In other words, if you can use what you learn in training AND competition, you will be more likely and effective using the same technique in a combatives or self-defense application. See previous posts here and here.

Read the rest.

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