Thursday, October 04, 2007

Getting Down and Dirty

Via Mokuren Dojo, reference a Modern Army Combatives Program video (I believe it was posted by Pat as being for Rangers, but my understanding is that it's for all soldiers) detailing their philosophy.

So, what is it about grappling that fosters the warrior spirit?

Grappling instills a willingness to get down and dirty and closely involved with things that inspire primal terror (i.e. being immobilized and choked, being dominated and forced to submit, being in peril of broken joints, the possibility of grappling with a guy who might have a knife, having your every action make your situation worse, impending total anaerobic fatigue, etc...)

It is this willingness to engage the enemy even under conditions of terror that defines courage, and grappling instills this ethic better (in my opinion) than stand-up fighting styles because the student of stand-up fighting is allowed to hold out the illusion that it might just be possible to achieve a nice, clean, hands-down victory. It is this stand-offishness, this unwillingness to dirty oneself for the cause that seems antithetical to the warrior spirit.

Well said, Pat.

My issues with what I believe are the U.S. Army program's over-emphasis on grappling are probably known to regular readers (see many posts in the TDA Combatives category), but I can't disagree with the point that is made by Matt Larsen, the interview subject in the video, that, "the willingness to close with the enemy" is built through training like this. That willingness is what can keep you alive, and win wars. It builds courage.

My past criticism has only been with my perception of an over-emphasis on grappling, and the sport aspect of, the training program. Again, a perception from afar. I have had the privilege of teaching, training with, and learning from a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) Black Belt Instructor (Daniel), but have never done likewise with the Army's equivalent. I hope to, at some point, and may revise my opinions then. I do have a post nearly finished that will detail more of my opinion on the subject of grappling and submissions with respect to civilian self-defense, so look out for that.

Please read the whole Mokuren post, and especially the excellent comments discussion.

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