US Army's brand new manual on combatives

Tim's Discussion Board: Martial Arts - Miscellaneous: US Army's brand new manual on combatives
   By Jeff on Monday, November 04, 2002 - 08:38 am: Edit Post

There is a very good thread in the MMA.TV underground forums History forum right now, where the author of the US Army's brand new manual on combatives is answering questions. There is also a link to the entire text of the manual, and it is a very good book. My favorite quote: "The fundamental truth of hand to hand fighting is the winner will be the one whose buddies show up first with a weapon."

   By Tim on Tuesday, November 05, 2002 - 01:42 pm: Edit Post

I'm safe then.

   By Tim on Tuesday, November 05, 2002 - 02:39 pm: Edit Post

I just read the thread on the Underground forum. It is very interesting. The US Army's new hand to hand combatives system is based on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. According to the author, after testing many different forms of H2H combat (Asian and Western), they decided BJJ (although modified for field combat) was the most effective base art. He also talks about the importance of ground fighting in real life combat and the use of the guard.

All of my friends who post here that believe ground fighting is an unnecessary skill might be interested in reading the thread.

   By Meynard on Tuesday, November 05, 2002 - 05:32 pm: Edit Post

Yeah, but there's another article somewhere that says the Army also adopted Tae Kwon Do as part of their hand to hand combatives system.

   By Chris Seaby on Tuesday, November 05, 2002 - 09:58 pm: Edit Post

What about military xing yi? It seems that a major requirement of an art suitable for the military would be that a reasonable level of skill can be developed within a 'basics' training timeframe. BJJ would appear to meet those requirements.

Whether the army adopting it as their base system, automatically qualifies it as the most effective system going, must be open to conjecture. That said i can see how it may be an advantage to build a system from the ground up so to speak.

I've sunk alot of investments into being able to stand on my own two feet and to consider rolling-it-over at this stage, i'm going to need a big tax incentive.

   By Jeff on Tuesday, November 05, 2002 - 10:20 pm: Edit Post

One thing that comes out very clearly in that thread is exactly what "effective as a base art" means when talking about training hand to hand combat in a military setting - The application of the training is NOT directly related to the application of the techniques, it is more important that the training allow the men to enthusiastically develop the attributes that will make them effective as soldiers (not as sport fighters). The manual has an appendix on the role of competition as a training tool within the higher mission of making good soldiers that points out two types of confusion between martial arts and sportfighting. 1. Competition IS necessary for martial arts training as a way to put technical training into some kind of operational context. 2. But, all competition becomes necessarily focused on the rules of the competition, thus losing the wider focus on creative adaptation and maximization of effectiveness in general outside the artifical conditions set up for sport.

People that diss Tae Kwon Do as a form of military training don't seem to recognize that it does work well as a mode of competition-based PT in all the various armies of the world that use it for that purpose, that THAT is what it was designed for, and that as far as utility on the battlefield goes it is only marginally more of a remote possibility that an infantryman is going to end up with an opponent in his guard than it is that he is going to jump up in the air and kick him off a horse.

For people into TCMA, also, I would recommend you try to get ahold of a translation of the preface to Qi Jiguang's book (the one from the 16th century that is supposedly the precursor to Tai Chi). The book is, in fact, a manual for how to train civilian militias that were being mobilized and trained against assaults by bandits in northern China, and in the preface the author says that the techniques of unarmed fighting discussed in the book are NOT USEFUL FOR DIRECT (military) COMBAT, but that they are an effective way to condition military attributes for fighters who, in the actual event, will be fighting with weapons in large groups.

Its seems to all be the same logic.

   By Tim on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 - 03:03 pm: Edit Post

Actually, Qi Jiguang recommends practicing empty hand combatives and wrestling primarily in peace time, mainly as a method of keeping soldiers fit and sharp mentally, so they do not lose their aggressive attitudes. In wartime, weapons drill becomes all important.

   By Mike Taylor on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 - 04:44 pm: Edit Post

Writing a book (or field manual) on a martial art is a difficult task. That said, there are mistakes (contradiction & illustration not matching respective text) within the FM discussed above; so don't take everything in it as absolute truth (should you read it).

Western Boxing mixed with Judo/Ju-Jitsu has alternately with Chinese Boxing or Tae-Kwon-Do/Karate been the prescribed hand-to-hand training for our US armed forces personnel for at least a century now -- but not all are taught what's in the current field manual.

Special forces units all get DIFFERENT exposure to martial arts, even within a specific service (i.e.: US Navy Seal Team 1's martial arts training today is different from US Navy Seal Team 6's training today -- assuming they're both even training in hand-to-hand today). Different missions, different methods.

Note: I've seen a few field manuals in my day & I've noticed a pattern of borrowing & editing from past manuals. Sometimes good stuff is edited out (becoming lessons lost over time) while mediocre stuff is reprinted over & over. And oftentimes some of the good combat stuff is found in other-than-field-manual publications (like in military magazines & books -- go figure, eh?).

This is the first FM I've seen with extensive ground coverage (a weak point of previous FMs on combatives). This is a good thing -- provided a soldier can move quickly to avoid other, usually armed opponents who may join in. I recall a Marine who took out a Japanese soldier with an entrenching tool (specifically an engineer's shovel) after having been bayonetted thru his left forearm & about an inch into his chest. Right after the decapitation of the Japanese soldier several other bloodthirsty Marines showed up with knives & fixed bayonnets (had there been a struggle still going on, the Japanese soldier would have been in big trouble -- still). But one can't always count on a buddies help even when comrades are around -- for in a struggle at night you may go un-noticed by your buddies as well as by other enemy soldiers (you're on your own); a recon Marine I know had this senario happen to him (he was below a large South-American soldier & he couldn't reach his boot knife while he & his fellow Marines were trying to make their way out of the area at night); he used special grappling knowledge that he had -- not from any FM then existing -- to dislocate the enemy's jaw & make his escape. Even here the key was not to take too long.

   By Chris Seaby on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 - 08:32 pm: Edit Post

Jeff, in relation to the first paragraph i think motivation is severely underestimated as an influence in fighting on both the macro and micro scales. In my view motivation is the major determinant of the fighting style, philosophy or strategy which in turn is the major determinant of technique.

An understanding of the limits this emposes (physically, mentally and emotionally) on defender and attacker and working within those parameters in the particular environment, is more important to me than trying to find or invent the perfect system for all times and occasions.

With this in mind i'm well aware that if a fight goes to the ground that i'm going to be in trouble, and that in itself is a major motivator to make my standing skills as good as possible. i'm firmly committed to the principles of Xing Yi and i feel that to achieve the maximum possible success from Xing Yi, i can't have the thought in the back of my mind "oh if this doesn't work i can always beat him on the groumd". I believe such an attitude would literally undermine my ability to do Xing Yi.

I believe Xing Yi is an art that requires total committment and focus to achieve its end. Its a winner take all sort of art, if you like to have each way bets its probably not for you, if you want to win big, gotta be prepared to lose big. If that makes me a big loser so be it.

   By Bob #2 on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 - 08:53 pm: Edit Post

"i'm firmly committed to the principles of Xing Yi and i feel that to achieve the maximum possible success from Xing Yi, i can't have the thought in the back of my mind "oh if this doesn't work i can always beat him on the groumd". I believe such an attitude would literally undermine my ability to do Xing Yi."


Let's just hope you're opponent has dilluted himself with the same nonsense.

   By Chris Seaby on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 - 09:04 pm: Edit Post

Great analogy, you dilute something by adding something else to it, you increase the concentration by adding more of the same or less of the other.

   By Bob #2 on Thursday, November 07, 2002 - 01:29 am: Edit Post

Great Anal what??? Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?!?

As for your point...sort of like concentrating all your eggs in one basket?

You keep thinking whatever it is you're thinking.
You'll see the light sooner or later.

   By Randall Sexton on Thursday, November 07, 2002 - 12:45 pm: Edit Post

You also have to remember that the military, at some point, has trained in about every martial art out there. Their goal is, I think, to be able to teach young kids some self-defense methods in the quickest amount of time. My primary art is Hapkido. My instructor, who joined the Air Force to stay out of Vietnam, promptly found himself there and assigned to the Korean Tiger Division and was told, "You teach them English and they will teach you Hapkido." Master West was one of six guys with the same assignment and one of two who survived past the first few days. Master West, who is 6' 5" said that, "I was not going to let the little bastards beat me!" Master West ended up staying 51 months in country to continue his Hapkido training. At the time (he got his black belt in 1965), the Korean Tiger Division was also teaching TKD, however, I doubt it was a watered down version. Master West has plenty of hand-to-hand kills and said that when he went to the ground it was because he wanted to and not because his opponent put him there. Of course, there was little "stand-up" squaring off fighting as the element of surprise was essential. One of the few times he said he "dodged when I should have ducked" did not always wind up as planned and he has bullet and knife wounds on his face to test to that. His favorite technique was a choke from behind where you "bump" the opponent's hips forward with your hips and take them to the ground with your shoulder pressing their head into their chest. You can quickly go all the way down till you are lying on the ground in order to stay hidden or out of the way of flying metal. Entire technique takes seconds. Anyway, I think that in any ground fighting the goal should to be to get up asap. That's why we teach "no rules" and eye goughing, biting, pinching, nut-busting, etc. goes when your life is in danger. Do you BJJ guys go outside and train on a parking lot, you know throw a few broken bottles, bricks, etc around to roll around on just to make things more realistic? That's gotta hurt like hell!

   By Chris Seaby on Thursday, November 07, 2002 - 05:33 pm: Edit Post

Mom, sends her regards... actually she's quite smitten I believe, i think all the concern for my welfare is quite appealing, keep playing your cards right and you could be my new daddy.

Seeing you're now a virtual family member and have displayed a capacity for higher order thinking, i'll restate my position one last time in an uncensored version.

Basically everybody has their own psychosis (distorted view of reality) and this literally creates a form of personal configuration space, with each space of course inhereting special symmetrical properties ,that place limitations on how interactions take place, rather than assuming we all operate in the same Euclidean space.

A crude approximation may be the four dimensional space used in molecular modelling, in this case the person rather the molecule can be represented by a sphere with a radius that approximates arm span. Maybe a better version would be to use the x and y dimensions to represent the ground z as height and r as arm span. I realize this a rather tenuous analogy but some modelling may help to illustrate some of these concepts.

However that's enough for now, i'll save it for table-talk perhaps a future joint project. Imagine sitting, or perhaps you'll lie under the table and i'll stand around the table and we'll discuss stuff like this, and taoist philosophy etc... i can't wait. Did i mention we've got a nice big yard with plenty of room to roll around. It'll be your own slice of heaven... sigh.

Sorry for the intrusion Randall.

   By Jeff on Saturday, November 09, 2002 - 09:14 pm: Edit Post

More discussion of the new army comabtives manual can be found in hand-to-hand combatives section of Hock Hochheims site. There is also a pretty positive review thread for Tim's Effortless Combat Throws there (except they dont seem to like that "Tai Chi stuff";).

   By Jeff on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 08:08 am: Edit Post

And a pretty good article on some of the issues with grappling from the "survival oriented" aspect:

   By Tim on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 03:10 pm: Edit Post

Good article! Thanks Jeff

   By stan (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 11:50 am: Edit Post

As a former Marine, I can say that different units have different exposure to many methods-and usually the one that stands up to most scenarios will usually will get visibility. BJJ has shown that its concepts can easily be learnt in less time, than say you now common "secret" methods that many claim adherence to. Taekwondo and hapkido may be more useful to a MP company, while special forces groups may find the silent method (BJJ for quick disposal of an enemy), judo can benefit all in that despite the supposed dim mak skill out htere people will (95% of the time) attempt to grab regardless of that special secret technique they learnt from the "master".

Wrestling (principles) encompassing BJJ, judo and qi'na make one more formidable than the pajama weraing skills of todays adherents.

As a matter of fact, the actor Whang Jang Lee was a member of the Tiger Battalion in Vietnam and was said to have beat down a challenge with a local who had a knife. ONe well placed kick and it was over.

Absorb what is useful, discard the crap.

   By Kenneth Sohl on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 07:07 pm: Edit Post

Just out of curiosity, why did the old time fighters, whos' lives often depended on their skills, continue to train in "crappy" methods?

   By stan (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 11:44 am: Edit Post

Many times it is the man who surpasses the method. I may find a teacher who teaches the best martial arts in the world but if I cannot adapt or live up to that, what good am I? I may have studies under him but waht about my own skill. That is why lineage is overrated in most cases.
\A lot of people hide behing the skirt of lineage and it seems to be working well!!!

i do no tbelieve there is such a thing as a "crappy" method but only a "crappy" student.

   By Kenneth Sohl on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 07:41 pm: Edit Post

Good point, Stan. But don't under-rate lineage, cuz in different arts, it means different things I have found.

   By Kenneth Sohl on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 07:48 pm: Edit Post

What I mean is, a good teacher would never teach a "crappy" student. That is why commercialization in the MAs don't work.

   By Rick Hernandez (Unregistered Guest) on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 11:35 am: Edit Post

Hi All,
This is my first time posting. I just wanted to add that one of my main teachers the late Ramon Lono Ancho did 6 tours in Vietnam with SOG. He told me that out of all the mercs, nungs, and other units, the Korean Tigers were by far the most vicious. They would attack with 100% kills to include Women, children and all the livestock. He didn't mention whether they ate the livestock or not.


   By Randall Sexton on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 12:55 am: Edit Post

I never heard my Hapkido instructor (earlier post) say anything about eating livestock while he was serving 51 months in Vietnam with the Korean Tiger Division, but they did take a bite out of a VC Colonel's arm which was not attached to him at the time! Mr. West also said the Tigers were the meanest fighters he'd ever seen and that he knows the sound of every joint breaking as the Tigers liked to practice joint locks and breaking on captured VC. He said the same thing as your teacher, ie, the Tigers would quietly wipe out an entire village at night, leaving one person alive to wake up the next morning to return home to spread the horrible news. What art did Ramon Lono Ancho teach?

   By This Sounds (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 04:32 pm: Edit Post

more like people who should be tried for war crimes then thought of as martial artists.

   By rumbrae (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 03:30 pm: Edit Post

What those tigers did to the VC is sick.

   By Galantly Galloping along (Unregistered Guest) on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 11:31 am: Edit Post

military intelligence, two words combined that cant make sense- megadeth would not be surprising to learn that the militaries approach to second hand subjects like hand to hand which require a lot of time and the development of a free thinking mind would fall short. Time is something they do not have to train people and free thinking....well, certainly not for everyone involved in the military!

   By GrazinggGrashopper (Unregistered Guest) on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 02:03 pm: Edit Post

Writing a book (or field manual) on a martial art is a difficult task. That said, there are mistakes (contradiction & illustration not matching respective text) within the FM discussed above; so don't take everything in it as absolute truth (should you read it).

Well stated Mike!

A good editor puts their shoes on with a partner and tries everything as a third person reads aloud the move. This takes care of the (contradiction & illustration not matching respective text) part.

For the first line of your statement: Writing a book (or field manual) on a martial art is a difficult task.

May I ask what is difficult about it?

The approach? Relevant content and subject matter?
Adapting the movements to load bearing operators? Photographing it? Sitting down and writing it? Organinzing the material? Presentation?

What is difficult about it?
Seems to me if you sit down and think everything unravels itself. Carrying a notepad and/or a dictation recording device helps tremendously when a brilliant idea manifests itself.

I have written one book and many smaller articles. For me the trouble has always been sitting down behind the computer for prolonged periods of time. I have great dificulty at this. What about you?

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