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Teaching Our Soldiers to Die Instead of Kill?
May 10, 2010 10:55 AM   Subscribe

During WWII Allied soldiers were taught how to smash jawbones while gouging eyes, crush windpipes and snap necks, and generally apply deadly force to the weakest, most vulnerable parts of the human anatomy in order to kill or disable the enemy quickly and efficiently. Current American military unarmed combat is heavily influenced by the popularity of mixed martial-arts and puts great emphasis on grappling with/controlling the enemy. Not a single neck-snapping technique is taught. Some current members of the military think that this is teaching our soldiers to die rather than kill the enemy, and that it would be better if our soldiers were taught to straight up kill the enemy rather than try to wrestle him to the ground while wearing 70+ pounds of gear.

From the link about teaching our soldiers to die:
I actually know one of the developers of the [a branch of the military] Martial Arts Program who happens to hold a Black Belt in Ju Jitsu and he told me was adamant against teaching the throwing techniques and ground fighting stuff since it requires tremendous physical ability which he happens to have, in order to make it work.

He felt that because some of our missions require us to roll people up and detain them that the basic arm control techniques were essential from a non-lethal perspective but, and I want to make this clear, he believed such skills should be taught "only after we taught [soldiers in a branch of the military] how to kill the enemy." Well to make a long story short he was a Master Sergeant and got out ranked and so that was that...

Isn't it ironic how these two systems which tout themselves as military Combatives (with the exception of some of the knife and bayonet fighting training) does not have one hand to hand killing move?

Isn't it strange that in either system while there are a lot of submission holds and choke out techniques there is not one technique that teaches you how to snap someone's neck?

Yet the alleged Al Qaeda training manual recovered in Manchester, England several years ago and used in several terrorist trials teaches exactly the kinds of killing techniques that we used to teach. Apparently the enemy gets it and we don't.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey (121 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
From Spartan:

Scott: What they gotcha teachin' here, young sergeant?
Jackie Black: Edged weapons, sir. Knife fighting.
Scott: Don't you teach 'em knife fighting. Teach 'em to kill. That way, they meet some sonofabitch who studied knife fighting, they send his soul to hell.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:59 AM on May 10, 2010 [16 favorites]


Seems like a symptom of the fact that our military are now being used as police forces in various occupied territories around the world, rather than as an army.

You don't want police trained to go fatal at first drop. You do, however, want that in a soldier. I would say this is a systemic problem.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:00 AM on May 10, 2010 [49 favorites]


You forgot fresh fruit.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


In WWII, it was plausible that you might have to sneak up on an enemy sentry in the jungle and quietly kill him to sneak through his lines.

Today, not so much. The American way of war is massive combined arms operations where, if you're down to hand-to-hand combat, you're either in a desperate, fight-for-your-life situation, or you're engaged in pacification operations where snapping people's necks isn't the most helpful technique to deploy. As the U.S. reorients its military to engage effectively in asymmetrical warfare, soldiers need to know how to act like police, not ninjas.
posted by fatbird at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is a serious question, pbzm: If a given US soldier wanted to kill someone, why wouldn't it be better to shoot him?
posted by boo_radley at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't krav maga (the Israeli Defence Force martial art, now increasingly popular with civilians) one of the old-fashioned kill-them-quickly fighting techniques?
posted by acb at 11:07 AM on May 10, 2010


This is a serious question, pbzm: If a given US soldier wanted to kill someone, why wouldn't it be better to shoot him?

It deprives the soldier of the chance to say "And I know 27 ways to kill a man with my bare hands" in bars.

More seriously: guns make noise when you want to be quiet, you might be out of ammunition, or you might have dropped you weapon in a scuffle.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:08 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Isn't it strange that in either system while there are a lot of submission holds and choke out techniques there is not one technique that teaches you how to snap someone's neck?

I think it's strange that someone would think the only way to win is to kill. What is wrong with teaching soldiers how to subdue their enemy?
posted by nola at 11:10 AM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The enemy cannot push a button, if you disable his hand!
posted by Babblesort at 11:11 AM on May 10, 2010 [22 favorites]


Now that I've actually read the "teaching our soldiers to die" link, I have to say I'm a little skeptical of the idea that it is what it purports to be. It claims to be a discussion between two actual military men, but they both happen to favor the martial art style created and sold by the person who owns the website.

Not to diss on the post, which has a lot of interesting stuff, but I think that link should be read with a grain of salt.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:11 AM on May 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


boo_radley: "If a given US soldier wanted to kill someone, why wouldn't it be better to shoot him?"

Who needs a knife in a nuke fight, anyway?
posted by brundlefly at 11:12 AM on May 10, 2010


This is a serious question, pbzm: If a given US soldier wanted to kill someone, why wouldn't it be better to shoot him?

Or call in an unmanned drone air strike controlled by some dude on a base in Oklahoma or some shit?
posted by The Straightener at 11:12 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


People that think chokes can't kill are deluded. You know the people manufacturing this 'controversy' sell those terrible books and guides right?
posted by anti social order at 11:13 AM on May 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the two letters bit is nothing but marketing for a type of martial art trying to sell itself to guys who fantasize about putting discreet ads in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine as "independent military contractors".

Can anyone speak knowledgeably about whether or not the army or Marine Corps teaches killing techniques separately? Just because their martial arts system doesn't focus on killing blows doesn't mean soldiers aren't being trained separately in specific techniques.
posted by fatbird at 11:16 AM on May 10, 2010


What is wrong with teaching soldiers how to subdue their enemy?

There's nothing wrong with teaching them how to do it. But there are many scenarios in war where killing is really the only way to go (unfortunately).
posted by The World Famous at 11:16 AM on May 10, 2010


This is kind of like the thing with guys who fetishise big bullets and get all upset that American assault rifles don't fire the biggest bullets, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on May 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


What's more likely for our current soldiers to face, hand to hand action requiring lethal action or just pacification?
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 11:16 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't need to go back as far as WWII to see the difference. My basic training during the Viet Nam era was certainly focused on a kill as opposed to a capture or control.

Just don't tell the kids I work with that I still remember how to come up behind them and snap their neck.
posted by HuronBob at 11:18 AM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Other excuses that I've heard as to why we don't teach folks to kill within the system (generally from senior officers and Sergeants Majors) is the old refrain that if they taught such techniques that there is a fear that [soldiers in a branch of the military] would be apt to use them out on liberty against civilians,

That's right, man--if you learn our system, you'll be so dangerous that the military won't even train you in it, because they're scared of what you'll be able to do. You'll just, like, flip out and kill a bunch of guys just because you can.
posted by fatbird at 11:19 AM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


With the rise in popularity of American Idol I had assumed that US soldiers were now killing the enemies softly, with their songs.
posted by GuyZero at 11:19 AM on May 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


Several years ago, my mom was showing my dad some moves she'd learned at a self-defense class. Dad decided it'd be a good time to demonstrate his old Army moves, and I swear to God some sort of PTSD kicked in--he almost snapped her neck right there in front of me. The techniques he'd learned 30 years before in the Viet Nam-era Army were programmed in that strongly. I don't know when I'd seen him filled with more remorse and guilt; he was definitely more upset by the incident than Mom or I was. He taught me some good moves, at least (not that I've ever had any cause whatsoever to use them).
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:22 AM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Babblesort: "
The enemy cannot push a button, if you disable his hand!
"

OK, so if I can't shoot a rifle because my CO's thrown a knife in my hand, I should go for the neck snap. Gotcha.
posted by boo_radley at 11:22 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a good article from SFC Matt Larson on the change from fairbains to combatives - "something that works".
posted by anti social order at 11:22 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think it's strange that someone would think the only way to win is to kill. What is wrong with teaching soldiers how to subdue their enemy?

They do. If you want to capture a prisoner for information, for example, snapping necks is not the best method.

However, historically, the most popular way in war to remove an opponent from trying to kill you has been to kill them. Just knocking them out just means they get up later and try to kill you or your friends again.
posted by chambers at 11:22 AM on May 10, 2010


The only difference between a choke out technique and a choke to kill technique is the amount of time the technique is applied.

on preview, what anti social order said.
posted by Sailormom at 11:24 AM on May 10, 2010


Just don't tell the kids I work with that I still remember how to come up behind them and snap their neck.

That's gotta be pretty tempting from time to time.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:24 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, so if I can't shoot a rifle because my CO's thrown a knife in my hand, I should go for the neck snap. Gotcha.

Just don't use a piece of fruit. There's many efficient counters to fruit-based assaults.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:31 AM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


And, in Starship Troopers, did the bugs ever shoot, I don't know, knife-y things into people's nuke-button-pushing hands? I haven't seen the movie, so I've no idea if that's a bit of foreshadowing or just a bit of fnar-fnar-here's what you get-ism from the CO.
posted by boo_radley at 11:32 AM on May 10, 2010


Teach them both. Teach them as much as possible. Seems like a simple issue to me.

But then, having been in the military, I was astounded at the number of things I *wasn't* trained for that one would think should be universal skills for people in uniform. Even in the military, it's still all about cost-effectiveness.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:34 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Today, not so much.

I have a hard time trying to imagine the last time an ordinary grunt got in a full-on hand to hand Bourne-style fight to the death with an enemy combatant (i.e. bar fights don't count).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:34 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


And, in Starship Troopers, did the bugs ever shoot, I don't know, knife-y things into people's nuke-button-pushing hands? I haven't seen the movie, so I've no idea if that's a bit of foreshadowing or just a bit of fnar-fnar-here's what you get-ism from the CO.

Generally it seemed to be the case that getting within a few foor of a bug was equivalent to entering a threshing machine, so I would question the utility of knives in that particular conflict, TBH.

Unless it was power-armour and chainsaw-knives, of course.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, hopefully returning vets will be less capable of killing someone standing in line at Sam's Club when that untreated PTSD kicks in.
posted by pjaust at 11:39 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


They might reach for their phone and start frantically calling in UAV strikes though.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a given US soldier wanted to kill someone, why wouldn't it be better to shoot him?

Exactly. At one time, close-quarter combat skills were a requirement for the infantry to possess as many of the conflicts would devolve from long-range artillery and small arms shooting matches into trench assault and clearing, where sometimes you'd have to engage the enemy at distances below the effective rang of your assigned weaponry.

As static, trench warfare evolved into formulated combined-arms maneuver warfare where human-wave assaults would be ineffective, the emphasis on infantry training changed from contact to stand-off and over-whelming firepower became the norm. Also to note, adversaries also evolved their stand-off tactics in low-level conflicts in order to avoid falling prey to the overwhelming firepower doctrine through the use of improvised explosive devices and the like.

Matter of fact, I did receive extensive bayonet and crowd control training and was even issued a bayonet, but aside from one instance outside of ceremonial duties, I never employed one or witnessed them being employed by anyone else. They're a holdover from another era and in sensitive situations can be used as a visual deterrent but aside from that, they're useless. Matter of fact, nothing in an infantryman's kit requires the use of a knife and I generally regarded them as courage accoutrements.

In regards to the whole karate thing, I believe it has more to do with esprit de corps than anything else. Many militaries around the world (South Korea, Russia, China, Israel) promote their martial arts programs as a "total soldier" concept in absence of other technologies and within the groups of hairsplitters this may be of advantage, but I cannot see a modern military application where blanket training would be required.

Given a situation that finds you out of ammunition but still in possession two feet, my advice would be to skeedaddle and go find some ammo; so work harder on your long-distance sprints and night navigation rather than on your grappling techniques.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:41 AM on May 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


There is a fundamental disconnect between people who believe in the value of sport training methods and those who do not. This is an issue as old as the foundation of Judo itself. Let me explain.

Some people believe in 'deadly' techniques. These techniques are theoretically quite deadly: eye gouging, throat ripping, and all manner of ungentlemanly behavior. The problem with this, of course, is that you can't really practice these sorts of things with a resisting non-compliant opponent, because then if everything goes as planned, he's dead. So, with respect, you end up with people who are not accustomed to applying their techniques to somebody who's coming after them.

There are other techniques which can be trained with resisting opponents who are trying to do unto you as you are to them. They are less theoretically deadly, but a person trained thusly is accustomed to applying his or her techniques on a resisting foe. This was the approach of Jigoro Kano, with his Judo.

In 1886, the Tokyo Police held a tournament which pitted Jigoro Kano's Judo against representatives of other jiujitsu schools. Out of fifteen matches, Kano's Judo men won 13, and drew 2.

To paraphrase Applegate himself, knowing how to gouge somebody in the eye is not the same as being able to gouge somebody in the eye.

(Also, people get killed with chokeholds all the time -- this is why some police departments forbid them.)
posted by Comrade_robot at 11:44 AM on May 10, 2010 [22 favorites]


My buddy's brother (4th tour, last I heard) primarily was using knives to help in IED disposal. He'd carry a half dozen or so, I'm assuming for prying, unscrewing, wedging etc. more than fighting.

That said, the new CO tried to -make- him not carry so many knives, despite the fact that they were tools for his work, combat zone, etc.

His response?

"Come take them from me".

The officer decided not to test the stereotype about Mexicans and knives.
posted by yeloson at 11:47 AM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Teach them both. Teach them as much as possible. Seems like a simple issue to me.

The issue as i understand it is 1) limited time and 2) the old stuff plain doesn't work, anecdotes about applying them to unsuspecting moms not withstanding.

Here's a good article from SFC Matt Larson on the change from fairbains to combatives - "something that works".

I should have mentioned that Mr Larson is known as "The Father of Modern Combatives" for his complete rewrite of the United States Army's combatives doctrine and establishing the US Army Combatives School.
posted by anti social order at 11:48 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


At my unarmed-combat training before I went overseas the last time, the instructor asked the following question:

"Who wins a hand-to-hand fight?"

The usual answers were shouted out: "The one who wants it more." "The best trained."

Eventually, he answered himself: "The one who lives long enough for his buddy to shoot the other guy."
posted by Etrigan at 11:50 AM on May 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have a hard time trying to imagine the last time an ordinary grunt got in a full-on hand to hand Bourne-style fight to the death with an enemy combatant (i.e. bar fights don't count).

Well, SSG David Bellavia describes fighting and killing an Iraqi insurgent in hand-to-hand combat in his book House to House. He was an ordinary grunt in Fallujah.
posted by lullaby at 11:51 AM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


It was mentioned earlier, but I'm really surprised styles like Krav Maga haven't been more seriously embraced. It seems to scale well from unarmed to using the weapons in someone's hands as CQB tools, it takes an intuitive approach to how people's natural reactions can be turned into an offense/ defense, and it's exceptionally brutal and efficient.

Seems like a natural choice for soldiers.
posted by quin at 11:55 AM on May 10, 2010


Seems like a symptom of the fact that our military are now being used as police forces in various occupied territories around the world, rather than as an army.

Yes. Take a look at this video of dutch marines taking out some Somali pirates. I've been an infantry sergeant (recon) in the Dutch Army myself in the early 90's, and I can tell you that this was not the way we were trained to deal with an enemy.

These guys are some of the best trained military the Dutch have, and they're being used as a police force - and they're doing a damn fine job of it, but the change in missions is clear...
posted by DreamerFi at 11:58 AM on May 10, 2010


(oh, and here's a nice image of them landing on that ship..)
posted by DreamerFi at 11:59 AM on May 10, 2010


Krav Maga...Seems like a natural choice for soldiers.

You invest considerable time, resources and money to train a guy so that he can put his weapon down, disregard the battle plan and start throwing punches like a brawler? Outside of personal, last-ditch survival, that makes very little sense.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:00 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


jsavimbi, can I ask you for a bit of your military background? I don't want to be too nosy, but your talking about bayonet training has me curious.
posted by boo_radley at 12:05 PM on May 10, 2010


Tactical nukes.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:08 PM on May 10, 2010


can I ask you for a bit of your military background?

I served with Marine Corps Security Forces, both Pacific and Atlantic and then with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:09 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


<canadian>Why don't the soldiers try talking with the enemy first?</canadian>
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:12 PM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's a good article from SFC Matt Larson on the change from fairbains to combatives - "something that works".

Matt Larsen's article didn't say anything about Fairbairn. I have a hard time believing that Fairbairn's approach doesn't work. Perhaps there is something better out there. Maybe a skilled opponent who can control range will have the best of it against a fighter using Fairbairn's tactics. But that's different than implying that WWII Combatives don't work. Fairbairn had an extremely violent life and trained many men who themselves saw a lot of action. Plus, his techniques are dirt simple - it's what they teach in a lot of women's self defense classes.
posted by BigSky at 12:12 PM on May 10, 2010


This might sound like a rhetorical question, but it really isn't: is it possible to learn both? It seems that both lethal and non-lethal hand-to-hand combat would have their place, but is this a situation in which sense memory would step in and override your ability to choose?
posted by roll truck roll at 12:12 PM on May 10, 2010


We had standards back in the good old days of WWI...bring back poison gas so we don't have to wrestle with bad people.
posted by Postroad at 12:20 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Matt Larsen's article didn't say anything about Fairbairn. I have a hard time believing that Fairbairn's approach doesn't work. Perhaps there is something better out there.

You think the knife-fight jokes weren't directed at Fairbains' stuff and its supporters*? Come on now. Anyway, that's kind of the point - there is something better, and now the army trains it. Regardless if you think some of Fairbains knife fighting manuals have workable techniques or not, the issue is that soldiers weren't learning them effectively.

* - when the military started moving towards reality-based training (MMA/BJJ), a lot of the traditional martial arts dudes and their wanna-be fans went ape-shit. This post links to that same kind of nuttiness.

Eventually, he answered himself: "The one who lives long enough for his buddy to shoot the other guy."

Larsen: "There are a couple of basic tenants that we teach all of our students. 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. If you drop an enemy dead at your feet with the Vulcan death touch, and his buddy comes in with a gun, you still lose."
posted by anti social order at 12:34 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can anyone speak knowledgeably about whether or not the army or Marine Corps teaches killing techniques separately?

No. Not separately, as in, "OK, guys, yesterday we covered the Marquis of Queensbury rules, and today we're going to focus on ripping heads off necks and shitting down necks."

What the grunts do is drill -- seemingly without end -- a few key moves and combinations, to the point of exhaustion, so that the reactions are instinctual. "Guy comes at you with an overhand right ... here's the move. Now do it 100 times in two minutes. Go."

That said, there are a lot of anachronisms that were being taught up until very recently, such as bayonet combat, when there hasn't been a single recorded bayonet action in decades.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:34 PM on May 10, 2010


...so that he can put his weapon down, disregard the battle plan and start throwing punches like a brawler?

Err, I figured that if it reached the point of unarmed combat, it would be probably already be considered outside the parameters of most battle plans. Plus, (and not practicing it myself, I fully admit to being ignorant here,) isn't a fairly large component of Krav Maga using things like an M-4 as a close quarters weapon (butt striking, etc)?
posted by quin at 12:47 PM on May 10, 2010


would be better if our soldiers were taught to straight up kill the enemy rather than try to wrestle him to the ground

We could learn from the British that there are usually more reasons to subdue, rather than kill first, ask questions later.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why don't they just give all the soldiers the dick gun featured in "From Dusk Till Dawn"?
posted by nestor_makhno at 12:51 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You think the knife-fight jokes weren't directed at Fairbains' stuff and its supporters*? Come on now. Anyway, that's kind of the point - there is something better, and now the army trains it. Regardless if you think some of Fairbains knife fighting manuals have workable techniques or not, the issue is that soldiers weren't learning them effectively.

My guess was that the jokes were directed at FMA. Fairbairn's name (and Sykes' as well) is connected to unarmed combat and point shooting just as much as to knives.
posted by BigSky at 12:52 PM on May 10, 2010


it would be probably already be considered outside the parameters of most battle plans

Which goes along with my philosophy of not encouraging the troops to engage the enemy, the cops or strip-club bouncers in hand-to-hand combat. It's not a requirement and puts the mission at risk through injury, delay, loss of life and psychological trauma. Not to mention bad publicity, but that's a whole 'nother matter.

I was never a big proponent of rousing the animal instincts out of groups of people as evidence showed that it took very little to turn them into an undisciplined mob. What you need at the end of a 96-hour operation is a man who is almost just as effective as he was when the mission started and that, in my mind, is what a badass is. A guy who can make it through discipline and training, not some knife and belt aficionado who's out looking for recognition. It makes for great storytelling in the company of impressionables, but has little to do with modern warfare.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:10 PM on May 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Why don't they just give all the soldiers the dick gun featured in "From Dusk Till Dawn"?

The recoil really, really sucks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:25 PM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


I agree we should soldiers teach soldiers to kill. Also, we should never send soldiers on all these stupid police missions designed to maintain the stock price of military contractors.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:32 PM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


That said, there are a lot of anachronisms that were being taught up until very recently, such as bayonet combat, when there hasn't been a single recorded bayonet action in decades.

The same could be said about hand to hand combat.

I never did hand to hand combat training but when I left the Canadian Forces in 2001 we were still teaching how to use a bayonet and it was very much about killing. When Canada replaced it's tactical vest in the late 90s they put the bayonet front and centre on their chest for easy access. However, I look at everyone in Afghanistan and I see they aren't wearing them, most likely because half of them have side arms and the other half have a grenade launcher or light that precludes using a bayonet.

I can't say I like it, but when you teach a soldier you teach them to kill, and so it makes sense what they are saying, but how likely it is to be used, not very.
posted by furtive at 1:34 PM on May 10, 2010


God, our boys can't even ride a horse these days. How are they supposed to charge?

And I see I've been beaten (multiple times) to the Starship Troopers references, so I'll just say:

The U.S. Army doesn't really have any serious alternative than to be wonderful.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:35 PM on May 10, 2010


I would imagine the Special Forces dudes can still do what needs to be done....meanwhile, I was watching TV at my folks' house yesterday. One of those video shows....they showed a clip of a female wrestler(I think she was Russian, not sure) being interviewed by a guy with a translator. The translator decided to tell the wrestler to show the guy one of her moves, unbeknownst to the reporter. She got him in a choke hold....he passed out. They pried her off him rather quickly....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:35 PM on May 10, 2010


I have a purple belt in bitch slap hand.
posted by prototype_octavius at 1:52 PM on May 10, 2010


That said, there are a lot of anachronisms that were being taught up until very recently, such as bayonet combat, when there hasn't been a single recorded bayonet action in decades.

Seems to have happened at least twice in Iraq;
British bayonet charge in BASRA.
"Military cross for bayonet charge"
posted by Luddite at 1:59 PM on May 10, 2010


Military force is modernly used as an extension of a state's foreign policy. Sometimes that policy requires that you kill as many of the enemy as you can as fast as you can. But there are other policy considerations in which killing people in a combat zone is destructive of your political aims. If you are telling Iraqis you are here to help until their security forces stand up, but then most of your encounters end with dead civilians, it's hard to secure your objectives.

As long as we don't have any illusions about whether these skills would work in other kinds of campaigns (e.g., WWII-style all out war), there's nothing unexpected about teaching skill sets designed to better accomplish our political goals, such as "softer" fighting styles.

The real question is not whether we're training our troops to die, but whether we're training them to further our political goals. In all cases, whether we sustain casualties is not part of the equation. Many (most) casualties in war seem senseless. That's the nature of war. It hasn't changed since Homer's time and it's not going to.
posted by Hylas at 2:06 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


unmanned drone air strike

Unmanned drone? Unmanned drone? Is there any other kind of drone, drone, other than a pilotless drone? Isn’t that what a drone is: an unmanned aircraft? Don’t you check these things? Drone, drone, drone. Get it? Drone. Pilotless airplane. Drone, drone, drone — not pilotless drone!
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:08 PM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Passenger drone?
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorite old school military story related to my father-in-law. He is a former SEAL, served in the tail end of Korea and later 3 tours in Vietnam. Well, the guys from the unit used to get togehter once a year and do something fun. One year they decided to go play paintball. So it was essentially a group of 50+ old guys vs a team of kids in their teens and 20's. The kids were talking smack about the old guys, not realizing their history, it was just a bunch of old guys to them. So they go out on the field, and when the game begins, the old guys just disappear into the brush. Now they weren't wearing cammo, they were in sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts, but years of experience in silent combat and concealment are hard to forget. The next several minutes consisted of a steady elimination of the kids while no one sees the ex-seals. A few more rounds of this played out in similar fashion. Afterward the kids were complaining about it, but the owner had such a laugh, he comped the former seals and invited them back any time for free. I don't know if anyone took him up on a return trip, but they had fun doing it.
posted by Badgermann at 2:14 PM on May 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


That said, there are a lot of anachronisms that were being taught up until very recently, such as bayonet combat, when there hasn't been a single recorded bayonet action in decades.

That isn't really true. The Scots bayoneted Taliban fighters. There's a different account on the Leatherneck bulletin board and one here, also.
posted by Hylas at 2:21 PM on May 10, 2010


That said, there are a lot of anachronisms that were being taught up until very recently, such as bayonet combat, when there hasn't been a single recorded bayonet action in decades.

That isn't really true.


Army drops bayonets, busts abs in training revamp

"Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, the three-star general in charge of revamping all aspects of initial training, said his overall goal is to drop outmoded drills and focus on what soldiers need today and in the future.

Bayonet drills had continued for decades, even though soldiers no longer carry the blades on their automatic rifles. Hertling ordered the drills dropped.

"We have to make the training relevant to the conditions on the modern battlefield," Hertling said during a visit to Fort Jackson in January."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:40 PM on May 10, 2010


Re: bayonet charges: (then) Major John Kiszley was awarded the Military Cross by the British Army for leading a bayonet charge during the Battle of Tumbledown during the Falklands War.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:41 PM on May 10, 2010


Unmanned drone? Unmanned drone? Is there any other kind of drone, drone, other than a pilotless drone? Isn’t that what a drone is: an unmanned aircraft? Don’t you check these things? Drone, drone, drone. Get it? Drone. Pilotless airplane. Drone, drone, drone — not pilotless drone!

They're the assless chaps of the sky.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:44 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Re: Ab buster link -

"Most of these soldiers have never been in a fistfight or any kind of a physical confrontation."

I can't imagine that many folks having lived their lives without getting into a fight. I'm happy for our society, but clearly, some major shit has changed somewhere, where most folks don't even know what it's like to get punched.
posted by yeloson at 2:51 PM on May 10, 2010


Getting punched and being in a fight are not the same thing.
posted by The World Famous at 3:00 PM on May 10, 2010


I can't imagine that many folks having lived their lives without getting into a fight.

I found that hard to believe as well. The US Army has over 1 million people and they recruit about 100,000 per year. To say that they're able to find that many people who are willing to join who have never experienced physical violence is a boast of the highest order. Broad generalizations like that are harmful.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:02 PM on May 10, 2010


I can't imagine that many folks having lived their lives without getting into a fight.

Anecdote: In my school years (I'm 41), fistfights were a daily occurrence to see, and about a monthly occurrence to take part in. My first high school would fucking form ad-hoc gladiator arenas. My second high school ... not a single one. FWIW, I was last in a fight 20 years ago, and it was the single dumbest thing I ever did.

My teacher wife (aged 38) says she hasn't seen a single fight in her career.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:04 PM on May 10, 2010


Getting punched and being in a fight are not the same thing.

Thanks for the clarification.
posted by yeloson at 3:05 PM on May 10, 2010


Oh, and my wife says I apparently attended Lord of the Flies High School, because my experience was nowhere near her experience.

So, it doesn't surprise me to hear that most 18-year-olds today have never been in a fight.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:06 PM on May 10, 2010


Thanks for the clarification.

You're welcome.
posted by The World Famous at 3:08 PM on May 10, 2010


Oh, and my wife says I apparently attended Lord of the Flies High School

Without reminiscing too much, I can recall organized beatdowns and rough play that bordered on maiming going as far back as grade school, but I'd be far-pressed to remember a teenager being shot over anything.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:16 PM on May 10, 2010


CPB,

Yeah, I was a quiet nerd and even I got into fights at my school.

The two lessons I learned were: 1) Kneeing people in the face ends a fight quickly, and 2) winning some fights means having a guy come after you with a knife and sending his gang of cousins after you for another couple of years- better to just take the beating.
posted by yeloson at 3:25 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


With regards to the authors of the Teaching our soldiers... article, I do not specifically have any knowledge that "Officer B" is Lt. Colonel Al Ridenhour USMC, but Ridenhour is one of the Senior instructors with the with the Guided Chaos school.

He's also a combat veteran, platoon commander, h2h instructor with Marine units in Iraq , and (if I'm not mistaken) currently on deployment in Afghanistan. So if "Officer B" is someone with similar experience/qualifications to Al Ridenhour, that would add context to my evaluation of the opinion being expressed with regards to military H2H combat.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:28 PM on May 10, 2010


That's right, man--if you learn our system, you'll be so dangerous that the military won't even train you in it, because they're scared of what you'll be able to do. You'll just, like, flip out and kill a bunch of guys just because you can.

If you smoke pot, you'll take PCP and go cop-killer in New York!
If you're 16 and drink alcohol, automatic alcoholic!
If you have teenage sex, you're guaranteed to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant!
If you have sex education, next available opportunity you'll be banging your brains out.
If you restrict what are legal firearms, then pretty soon no one will be able to defend themselves and criminal nomads will rule the country!

It's the American Way of thinking!
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 3:32 PM on May 10, 2010


I can't imagine that many folks having lived their lives without getting into a fight.

Last time I was in a fight was almost 18 years ago. I was 11, he was 16. It taught me all I needed to know about the value of asymmetrical warfare.
posted by Panjandrum at 3:43 PM on May 10, 2010


I can't imagine that many folks having lived their lives without getting into a fight. I'm happy for our society, but clearly, some major shit has changed somewhere, where most folks don't even know what it's like to get punched.

I never really thought about it, but I don't think I've ever been in a real fight or punched seriously, full-force in my 30+ years. Even in grade school, it was mostly play fighting. I'm gonna make it my goal this year to get punched in the face.

Anyone interested in participating can mefimail when I cross the line.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:44 PM on May 10, 2010


Dude, you should start some kind of club!
posted by No-sword at 3:54 PM on May 10, 2010


Just don't talk about it. That should be the first rule.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:56 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


if you're down to hand-to-hand combat, you're either in a desperate, fight-for-your-life situation, or you're engaged in pacification operations where snapping people's necks isn't the most helpful technique to deploy.

If a given US soldier wanted to kill someone, why wouldn't it be better to shoot him?


People who doubt that knowing hand-to-hand combat can still save soldiers' lives need to read House to House, about the American assault on Fallujah.
posted by Dasein at 4:05 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


would add context to my evaluation of the opinion being expressed with regards to military H2H combat

I'm taking it that you're on the pro-rasslin, controlled, symmetrical environment side of the argument.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:10 PM on May 10, 2010


Here's an article (pdf) about Greg Thompson, the head of Team ROC (and a MMA fighter/BJJ black belt), who trains soldiers at Ft. Bragg. (He has also written a book.) If you read his book, there's a lot of 'how to keep your weapon' and 'how to get to where you can draw your weapon').
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:11 PM on May 10, 2010


I'm taking it that you're on the pro-rasslin, controlled, symmetrical environment side of the argument.

I think it was Rex Applegate who said you should never grapple with the enemy because that brings your soft, vulnerable points to close to him, and the things that work on Nazis work on you too.

Also, you want to stay off the ground at all costs and regain your feet as quickly as possible because because
-rolling over a large rock or tree root with your kidneys can put a crimp in your style
-being the guest of honor at the boot-and-rifle-butt party your fellow grappler's buddies will throw you when they show up is a honor one should go out of one's way to decline.

I think if you're in a situation where if you don't kill the person in front of you he's going to do his best to kill you, trying to achieve a mount doesn't look like a reasonable thing to attempt. Because when he's a kicking and screamin' and flailing about, that's not the moment I want to be adopting a nads-first posture, especially when I'm already wearing a 70+ lbs rig.

Now, while I've got a fair bit of martial arts experience over the years, the extent of my military experience was JROTC in 8th grade. So I defer to people with actual combat experience as to their opinions re: what a soldier needs to know.

And no, they didn't teach us 8th graders to snap any necks either.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:25 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Military force is modernly used as an extension of a state's foreign policy.

Next you'll be telling me that war is a continuation of politics by another means.
posted by brokkr at 4:26 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


There was a story about an afghani who slipped into an american base and killed three guys in hand to hand fighting, I think it was last summer. It really bothered me. The Korean War was full of examples of Americans losing to Koreans in close quarter combat so they started covering it in basic. I hope it isn't the same in Afghanistan and Iraq.
posted by mearls at 4:28 PM on May 10, 2010


[A few comments removed. Take a week off, HTuttle, and cut the shitbombing routine when you get back or you're gone for good.]
posted by cortex at 5:45 PM on May 10, 2010


Blaster: "Most human problems can be solved by an appropriate charge of high explosives."
posted by bwg at 6:28 PM on May 10, 2010


I was just given (along with a group of others) a 6 hour block of instruction on combatives, as it's called these days. One the instructors did mention what others have said about combatives being a way to keep from getting killed long enough for your buddies
to get to you. I also notice unless you really know what you're doing or significantly outweigh your opponent, combatives
is much more effective in the defense.
posted by atchafalaya at 6:46 PM on May 10, 2010


Getting punched and being in a fight are not the same thing.

And there is a difference between someone trying to fight you and someone trying to kill you. but I would say that sums it up fairly well. The question for martial arts training is, where do you draw that line for reality?

Preparation for events of any kind can be boiled down to this: You'll do in real life, what you did in practice. Hopefully you practice it enough times you'll do it well and instinctively when it's needed.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:56 PM on May 10, 2010


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey,
In a combative situation , standup grappling happens whether we like it or not. If a person does not know how to do it, his/her opponent can force the situation.

There have been multiple accounts coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan of American soldiers ending up on the ground and fighting for positional dominance, then prevailing over their opponents.

I don't really understand this entire concept that somehow a person trained in a sport grappling scenario won't be able to use "killing moves." Positional dominance is the foundation of being able to incapacitate an opponent, whether with a "lethal" move or something else.

As far as the use of the mount-- a person in positional dominance can also repeatedly smash the opponent's head into the concrete. Where I come from, that's pretty lethal.
posted by wuwei at 8:48 PM on May 10, 2010


Oh and speaking of Fairbairn: he held a second degree black belt in judo.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/20110914/Fairbairn-s-Kodokan-Certificates

If anyone is tempted to say "oh no he didn't, that certificate sez jui-jitsu," I can assure you that the kanji actually say "judo."

If you don't think that his sport fighting training helped him on the mean streets of Shanghai....well, I don't really know what to say to that.
posted by wuwei at 8:52 PM on May 10, 2010


Also, you want to stay off the ground at all costs and regain your feet as quickly as possible because because
-rolling over a large rock or tree root with your kidneys can put a crimp in your style
-being the guest of honor at the boot-and-rifle-butt party your fellow grappler's buddies will throw you when they show up is a honor one should go out of one's way to decline.


This has always seemed to me to be the weakness in the plans of people who only train ground focused martial arts, because it applies equally in the day-to-day world. If I see you trying to choke my buddy or break his arm with your l33t ground skillz, I am not going to wait for you to cripple him, I'm going to kick or stomp the shit out of whatever you have exposed. You might feel great going into the arm bar, but I'm pretty sure facial reconstruction is an unedifying experience.
posted by rodgerd at 12:50 AM on May 11, 2010


Not to mention I've heard shooting in on someone on cement is not the most pleasant experience.

People always come to the conclusion that "this is it! I found the truth!" and yet it always boils down to the stupid argument of "My Kung-Fu style can beat yours!"
posted by P.o.B. at 1:42 AM on May 11, 2010


The idea that grapplers and groundfighters haven't thought of all the objections to their training methods is kinda hilarious. It ain't the early 90s anymore. It's called MMA for a reason, and it is the dominant paradigm now. Lots of them realise their training methods aren't perfect for self defence, but they are still superior to the rest of the crap that is out there (see p209 of Renzo Gracie's Mastering Jujitsu for objections to common arguments).

If you go to any forum with sports competitors they will admit this, and they are fairly open about it. Nonetheless, what the grappling/ground fighting styles are arguing is that in a one-on-one situation without weapons, the grappling styles (especially BJJ) are so much training overkill its like cutting a hot knife through butter. I've had to use my judo once on a cement train platform. The aggressive drunken frat boy that was mouthing off and encroaching fast on me, was rolling around like a thousand emos all smooshed together after I introduced the back of his head to the platform with Osotogari.

Grappling/groundfighting in the street doesn't infer shooting in for a high crotch or double leg or common tackle. Grappling styles, especially Judo, Greco, and Collegiate wrestling all deal in upper body clinching and hand fighting (not to mention the conditioning that puts them above and beyond the average Martial Artist).

That said, the common retort to the "lol wattabout weapons/multiple attackers" are the following:

(1) Weapon disarms, especially knife controls in the worst case scenario (where you can't run, and the fight is on, and the knife is out and you need to control the knife hand) still uses grappling. The Dog Brother's "Die Less Often" (warning: actual results of stabbings/knife victims shown) series relies solely on a move called the Dogcatcher, which is a modified 2-on-1. The Straight Blast Gym's knife curriculum is also based on grappling, namely Greco-Roman wrestling (again, using 2-on-1s to control the knife hand).

(2) For multiple attackers the main strengths of the grappling training methods are being able to maintain your balance and not go to the ground. The first UFCs continuing right up to today, show that strong wrestling skills (whether it be collegiate, freestyle, or Greco) will dictate where the fight happens. If a good wrestler goes down, he's been down before, and his scrambling skills to get back to a dominant position are better than any other martial artists on the planet. Good luck trying to kick a downed wrestler that has some form of MMA or striking skills, he'll be back up with a speed and quickness that you won't be able to counter (and unless you're a trained Muay Thai or Kyokushin guy, he'll withstand your pathetic kicks and stomps). The other common retort to multiple attackers is that "What art does teach defence against them successfully?" Hardly any do, the ones that claim to are usually bullshido. And the one's that don't claim to turn you into Bruce Lee -- such as combative striking arts like boxing -- usually have success against multiple opponents.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 5:20 AM on May 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't really want to get into an argument about whose cuisine would reign supreme, because I think that this fundamental difference in mind-set, that of what it means to know a technique, makes it difficult to communicate.

A really long time ago, I trained karate. We were taught a technique: A man punches, you parry outwards, step in, place one foot behind him and push. We trained this for a few classes, and then everybody pretty much figured we 'knew' the technique.

In contrast, I have spent close to a decade working on o-soto gari, the major outer reap that karate throw was based on. You see, it's not that easy -- you can't just step behind somebody with one foot and push.

A was paging through a book on ninjitsu the other day, and one of the authors says to never reveal your favorite technique. He says Judo people always make this mistake, telling people what their technique is, and that if you tell somebody what your attack will be, that they will most assuredly do their best not to get caught in that attack.

Here is the disconnect: It doesn't matter that you know that I will attack you with o-soto-gari, and that you know that (one of) the counter(s) to o-soto-gari is to pivot and throw me with o-soto-gari. Knowing is not the same as being able. The strength of grappling is that you can practice it at full force and full speed and more or less not harm your training partner.

Or, here's Applegate:

A man who is trained in boxing usually leads with his left, following up with his right. If confronted by such an antagonist, duck quickly to his left as he jabs with his left fist. At the same time, slap the outer side of his left elbow with your right hand. He will spin into an off-balance position. Place your foot behind him and shove or hit him backwards so that he trips over your foot.

OK, that first part? Where you duck under a jab and move to his outside? That's really hard against a trained boxer. I tried it last Saturday, and I got punched in the face a lot, facing people who were better boxers. This, despite knowing, intellectually, what I needed to do.

One judo instructor that I know has a knife given to him by a black belt who had gone over to Iraq. Somebody had tried to stab him and, without thinking, the black belt threw his attacker. Without Judo, he says, he would be dead. Grappling happens whether you like it or not (and then the better grappler is better prepared, both to disengage or to do whatever).

As for whether mount is an awful position or not -- I ask, with all due respect, if you have ever trained or experienced the mount of somebody who is coming after you, because striking at the nads from that bottom position is not particularly practical.
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:43 AM on May 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure how much of the originally quoted post is a joke but there is a lot of nonsense in there. "Neck snapping techniques" had me giggling as did the discussion of WWII era-combatives (an area I happen to have a bit of interest in). The whole WWII combatives were, much like the modern combatives designed by Matt Larsen and co, primarily to develop confidence, esprit de corps and only secondarily to provide the user with a method of assaulting the enemy without weapons.

Sykes, Fairbairn and all the other luminaries of the WWII era stressed firearms first, blades second and finally, and if there was no other alternative, hand to hand combat to disable or kill. Combatives as espoused in books like "Get Tough!" leave out on one essential aspect which is generally missed by the combatives community and that is that they were used in conjunction with existing boxing and wrestling skills.

I've a ton more I could add but no time in which to do it but it is an extremely interesting arena. I'll recommend again Mick Coup who is so far as I can tell is phenomenally gifted, knowledgeable, articulate and very, very scary.
posted by longbaugh at 8:25 AM on May 11, 2010


The problem with this, of course, is that you can't really practice these sorts of things with a resisting non-compliant opponent, because then if everything goes as planned, he's dead.
I miss wrangling with TKChrist over this.

You'll do in real life, what you did in practice.
Can't stress this enough.
Killing comes from the mindset and the system not the technique. You can foster the mindset through technique training and make it as reflexive as any other technique. Chokes don't have to take more time, you can deliver more pressure and there are alternatives to blood chokes. If you can incapacitate an opponent you can kill them (or lead to an eventual death) and, typically, faster.
But does every single rifleman need to know how to kill silently, take out an sentry, engage in single CQB, subdue a particular target, etc. etc. Not really. Not everyone goes through jump school ether.
What they need to know is how to work as a team. I can't imagine any system that would be useful in squad level that would not be inferior for use by an individual for self-defense.
Technique is not mindset. You fight the way you are trained. If you're trained to put someone in an iron cross and wait for your buddy to kick 'em, that's what you're going to do. Not that the technique won't be effective, but typically you're working - for not well trained fighters typically unconsciously - towards whatever strategy you've been trained to work towards.
There might be little difference in technique, but there are vast differences in the strategy and how you will use them to what end.
And that, most typically, is what is ignored by most people who generate their own systems and sell them for mass consumption instead of tailoring something for a given student or goal (unless the goal is practical self-defense for whomever it's being sold to).

How compliant do you think someone would be if at first provocation they were struck across the wind pipe or poked in the eye?
Probably less compliant when they get their lawyer suing the police for a collapsed trachea or loss of an eye as an unreasonable escalation from first provocation.
Most cops fight to subdue. This is a good thing.
(And people can still fight with a crushed wind pipe, adrenaline, cocaine PCP, etc - is a hellova drug. They might not last more than a minute, but unless you cut off the blood to their brain they can really fight you if they want to).
I assume by snapping necks they mean dislocation of the cervical spine (by guillotine or whatnot) rather than putting pressure on the carotid. But both can kill someone and folks sort of frown on police departments slapping the lion killer on people (unless they're black, 'cause then they have weaker neck meat, at least according to the L.A. police a while back).

And it actually takes more refinement in technique and in recognizing in one's opponent when they're choked out to perform a decent choke hold. So again, unless there's some good reason to kill someone this way (he's a sentry, etc) there's really no good reason to learn it the 'wrong' - that is - the killing way, for a vast majority of people. Including most infantrymen.

I mean hell, choke him out, knock him out properly and then shoot him or cut him if he has to die. No reason to have the system focus on the kill but then have to depend on dilution and someone having to restrain themselves in an adrenalized state. Odds are if they're seeing things through the tunnel, they're not thinking, they're relying on their training.
So that comes back to the main question - what is it you want your main forces to do by rote?
The teamwork thing, pretty good solution. Even the Spartans did that. Not a lot of single combat, mostly the phalanx which depended on unit cohesion.

Been having 1st hand experience with this for a while trying to train certain responses out of me when I'm amped. Pretty tough road.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:48 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what template or software is used to generate scammy sites like attackproof.com and Matt Furey's site? They all have this FrontPage-ish look, but I haven't seen FrontPage in the generator tag in a while.
posted by ignignokt at 1:06 PM on May 11, 2010


Grappling/groundfighting in the street doesn't infer shooting in for a high crotch or double leg or common tackle. Grappling styles, especially Judo, Greco, and Collegiate wrestling all deal in upper body clinching and hand fighting (not to mention the conditioning that puts them above and beyond the average Martial Artist).

Indeed. So many people fail to understand that there's a standing (and gripfighting) part of grappling, and that grappling lets you decide whether or not you want to go to the ground.
posted by ignignokt at 1:09 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Although it's been said let me try to make it simple.

It doesn't matter what system you train. As long as you train for as hard, long, and realistic as you can. That realistic part is the tough part.

The second someone starts telling me how badass their system is and start dismissing everything else, you've lost my attention. I swear, the sheer amount of scoffing some people do over "lesser" system could power a small country.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:54 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


It doesn't matter what system you train.

Of course it matters what you train. This post is about the new combatives system, which is a more effective and easier to train system than what it replaced. So the military, people that are in life and death fights, think that it matters.

People that make a living as combat athletes in MMA, they think the style is essential too; a good wrestling base is considered an essential skill at any level, even amateur, and is one of the fundamentals in 'mma' classes. How many TKD or kungfu or boxing schools train students how to sprawl?

The second someone starts telling me how badass their system is and start dismissing everything else, you've lost my attention

What I get tired of is the fragile ego of people outside of mixed martial arts. Why does your style have to be just as good as all others?

And if you're focusing on the aliveness and realism, each style does it differently. Can you honestly say one style where contact is almost nonexistant and always compliant like aikido and something sport focused - like muaythai, that they are the same?

Can't understand why nominally sane people believe, that in combat training but nowhere else, wildly disparate training methods will result in absolutely equal results.
posted by anti social order at 3:21 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe what P.o.B. is saying is that once you start training realistically, whatever system you started with evolves into an effective way of fighting that has a lot in common with other effective fighting systems. e.g. Sanda started out as people just practicing their kung fu. Maybe it looked like wushu or wing chun in the beginning. They trained hard and realistically and ended up doing something that looks kind of like muay Thai with side kicks.
posted by ignignokt at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course it matters what you train.

No it doesn't, as long as you train the fuck out of it. Although some systems and types of training have a steeper learning curve than others and are better suited to quicker learning, you most definitely can take any "technique" and make it work.

Why does your style have to be just as good as all others?

I don't give a damn about styles or system you train as long as you can apply it, but I always try to preserve my humility when looking at other people abilities. Something to which you may want to think about before you get neck deep in something you didn't bargain for.

Can you honestly say one style where contact is almost nonexistant and always compliant like aikido and something sport focused - like muaythai, that they are the same?

There's quite a bit to suss out from the examples you've given, but from a purely objective stance, sure. There's no context for a real fight. You don't know who, when, where, why or how far it's going to go. I've been privy to all kinds of fighters, and have been able to see and feel people do some weird shit that I just didn't know about. Maybe someday you'll broaden your perspective and get to see someone who really knows what they're doing. Maybe not. *shrug* I have never seen, and still don't, see where the high and mighty attitude helps anyone.

once you start training realistically, whatever system you started with evolves into an effective way of fighting that has a lot in common with other effective fighting systems

To an extent, yeah. Like I said before, it depends on how you frame that reality. All the dudes I've seen who were fighters and trained in a classical style didn't train "classically".
posted by P.o.B. at 5:57 PM on May 11, 2010


So the best that can be hoped for is that you move past the style you train in and it will become more like a better one you don't train in? Not the best argument against certain styles being more effective than others.

As much as I enjoy the personal anecdotes about cool fighters you saw one time, you have military moving to mma. Professional fighters claim style matters. Ive trained multiple arts and I think it matters. I've seen pro mma progress from style vs style to where you have to be proficient at all ranges to compete. Your assertions to the contrary thus far are pretty worthless - do you have anything else?

Gonna go on a limb here and say no, all you have is anecdotes about cool dudes. Been fun though, good luck with that preserving humility thing.
posted by anti social order at 8:19 PM on May 11, 2010


you most definitely can take any "technique" and make it work.

I think it's more accurate to say that some techniques don't work in enough situations to be practical, and by training realistically on a consistent basis, you'll shed those techniques and refine whatever good ones that your initial system had.

anti social order, I think the reason that traditional martial artists are defensive and tend to insist their style to be as good as any other is that so many of them have invested so much time in them. People generally have a hard time letting go of sunk costs. Some of the people you might see on message boards saying ridiculous things to prove that their martial art is as good as any other have been doing ninjutsu or aikido or what have you for ten years. I don't think that just yelling "get over it, you've been misspending your time!" is going to get through to a high percentage of these people.

I remember going to a meetup a gym with people from a martial arts message board once where we did some sparring. There was this guy that had been training aikido for four years that I rolled with. He showed me some aikido wristlocks, and they were neat. I could see why aikido is attractive. But he kept getting thrown and choked, so he didn't get the chance to apply those techniques. Even when I gave up on submissions, he couldn't improve his position so that he could get a wristlock.

But he said something kind of interesting after that. He couldn't just throw away four years of aikido, but he had a plan to work on judo and maybe BJJ so that he could get himself into positions in which he could use his aikido. I think that's pretty cool. So by now, he could very well be versed in grappling. Maybe he's let go of the aikido. Or maybe he's using his grappling skills to apply the aikido as he said he would. Either way, he found a way to get what he wanted - to be able to fight effectively against someone that was actually resisting him - without having to "betray" aikido.

I see similar sorts of things happening on the fringes of pro MMA as well. There's fighters that present themselves as having a tae kwon do background, but when they fight, you don't see too many TKD style roundhouse kicks, but rather a lot of what resembles boxing or muay Thai with maybe a short spinning back kick once in a while. So, it is true, they do have TKD backgrounds, they're proud of it, but they've been able to realize that much of it is not the most effective thing for fighting.

So the best that can be hoped for is that you move past the style you train in and it will become more like a better one you don't train in? Not the best argument against certain styles being more effective than others.

Some styles are more effective than others because they've gotten rid of more crap and refined the good stuff through decades or centuries of more realistic (or "sport"-style as people like to call it) training. That said, if you can't let go of your style because of your personal investment, it's better that you take what's there and evolve it yourself with realistic, hard training than to just stand around doing forms. Reinventing the wheel is slow, but it's better than not having a wheel. And sometimes these things do lead to small innovations. Like, hey, that karate leg sweep can sometimes work once in a while.
posted by ignignokt at 9:06 PM on May 11, 2010


Your assertions to the contrary thus far are pretty worthless - do you have anything else?

Yes, and your assertions are full of truthiness. You seem to completely miss what I've said and I'm not sure what the thrust of your argument is other than being anti-traditional arts. Which I've never understood why people care so much what other people do. Do what you do and do it well, or if it comes down to it the other person just might outdo you.

FWIW, I don't train a traditional martial art and I do incorporate grappling, but I don't close my eyes to what's offered from other arts.

Some day you can meet some cool people too, if you decide to take off those blinders.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:36 PM on May 11, 2010


A lot of styles have different emphasis. BJJ for example - Jujutsu emphasizes suppleness and (if you go back a ways to Jigoro Kano) fighting harder arts in close quarters and evading (one can evade by counterattacking) to prevent generating power.
Aikido, same sort of deal, except it's softer and modern storefront versions have all the atemi and budo drained from it.

What's irritating is the emphasis on MMA as though integrating styles are something new. There hasn't been development as swift in hand to hand combat in history, but there's always been adaptation to technology and whatever was modern for the needs of self-defense (and how one perceives and defines self-defense is a part of that).

I'm not a big fan of punching people in the head (outside a ring), but striking does have its uses. For the most part there's not a lot that training in one style is going to do for someone interested in developing a system tailored to their body type and the demands of their physique.
I've trained my wife. I've trained guys bigger than me. The way I teach a small woman is not the same way I teach a big man.

Technique is derived from what is efficient for you. Not the other way around (although you have to offer students en masse a variety of techniques, but that's the problem with group work. In the military you can't afford to cut to fit so it's generalized but less so to a civilian population which might consist of moms looking for self-defense, kids who's parents want them to learn 'discipline', and Joe Teenager or Fred Fortysomething looking to kick some ass for the first time).

So too - one tends to develop combinations from what is effective. You tend to be good at what you like to do so if you enjoy slipping and tripping - have at it. If you've got short, stubby legs, odds are you won't find that so effective.
So from a group of techniques you take what you like and develop combos from them. Those you develop into a group of combinations.
From there you have your own style within the style.
Beyond that is method.
Beyond that is philosophy.
So, not to take the middle path here deliberately but it's the way it is, if one trains enough, one can take away a proper understanding of one's own body mechanics. Enough to accomplish whatever goal one's looking for.
More serious forms of Aikido are useful for expanding body movements, anticipation and strategy development. The root principles are the same as jujitsu, the philosophy is essentially the same, but they come out differently in technique because the method is different.
The earlier forms though, they eschewed striking because they were fighting people in armor. I don't mean just Asian arts, European knights were highly skilled in grappling.
The Flower of Battle is written with the principle that the basis of fencing is wrestling. Pretty much exactly where the samurai were coming from.
And the 1300s - bit of a tumultuous time there in Europe so those folks knew some things about combat (with the widespread use of gunpowder, the gentry started ignoring grappling as too lower class. Just for the rabble. Gosh, that worked out so well for them.) And plenty of people who could school folks in the modern usefulness of greco-roman and pankration.

Like engineering, the math is the math, it influences what your process is which can help you develop technique to reach your goal. But the goal determines your initial premises.
And on that rests on all the real world considerations.

So - are you going to be humping up and down hills with not a lot of resources to put towards armor? Jujutsu might be your thing.
Going to be in a metal breastplate with a lot of wide sweeping plains? Johannes Liechtenauer might be your guy.
Riding the subway, probably not worth dying for what's in your wallet. If you're a warfighter and you're down to your hands, yeah, you probably missed a step there and are trying to recover from a mistake, so same deal - there's no dishonor in retreating and waiting until the circumstances favor you. That's not cowardice, that's winning. (The red baron did it all the time. Break off. Wait/watch. Reengage.) YMMV.

But again, you have to be responsive to your environment and what your body can do. Training is a process of discovery, not enforcement of orthodoxy or dogma.

This? Hell, you still have general officers with an eye towards a cushy seat in the private sector defense industry pushing big ticket warfare on guys who absolutely have to fight on foot.
But again - gentry, eschew grappling, all that. Same dance that no one ever seems to learn. Effectiveness is determined by the most efficient response to circumstances. Typically one's opponent is only one factor in that (as relevant as he might be).
posted by Smedleyman at 12:59 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


@ignignokt - I'm not really yelling that or doing the 'my style can beat up ur style' thing. We're at the point now where MMA started almost 20 years ago and Bruce Lee's stuff was almost 40. People that aren't already on board with modern training techniques aren't coming. But like I said though, the "all is equal" mindset is ridiculous. You might as well claim a degree from Devry and a degree from MIT are equal.

(side note - That story from a BSD throwdown? fistbump)


Smed:Technique is derived from what is efficient for you. Not the other way around

As a human (2 arms, 2 legs) there are only so many ways of using those limbs to do damage. Effective techniques (straight, roundhouse, RNC) are very similar across styles that train for combat. Certain styles emphasize those techniques and others styles emphasize traditional katas, personal growth, ancient weapons or whatever. For combat training, those styles that emphasize effective techniques are superior to those that don't. End of story.

I get that there's lots of other reasons to train a martial art, and there's no shame in that (i took some kungfu to learn nunchucks) but people should be honest about it.


P.o.B: You seem to completely miss what I've said and I'm not sure what the thrust of your argument is other than being anti-traditional arts.

Alright you sillybilly - In a thread about the combat effectiveness of the army updating their hand to hand combat program to a modern style (because it's easier to learn and more effective), you said it doesn't matter what style you train and gave anecdotes. I said it does matter, pointed to the army example, and gave examples from MMA. You responded with more anecdotes.

I rolled my eyes and dismissively dismissed your argument. If you'd like to point at something not an anecdote to back up your assertion that all styles are equal, and without the loopholes for 'training hard/right/like a true Scotsman', please have at it.
posted by anti social order at 10:03 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, actually, I never gave an anecdote. An anecdote is a short account of an incident. Unless to you, me saying "I've seen some guys do weird stuff" equates to some full narrative. I'm sorry any little biographical data throws you into thinking I'm holding that up as the main point of my argument. It's also kind of odd you're classifying what I'm saying as anecdotal (and worthless) but you're offering the same points I am.
Look, broham, what I'm saying (again) is there isn't absolute truths to combat. You've already bought and been sold on the idea that there is. Cool. You keep hugging that "truth" tightly if it keeps you warm at night.

How about this, since I can't offer any information I know because it throws you for some massive loop, I'll defer to what Smedlyman is saying.

I rolled my eyes and dismissively dismissed your argument.

Yep, this is why you're not getting what I'm saying. It must be nice to walk into a room and always be the smartest one there.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:45 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a human (2 arms, 2 legs) there are only so many ways of using those limbs to do damage.
Can we stipulate though that humans come in a variety of sizes and shapes with varying lengths of limb and weight and muscle mass?
Can we say then that a punch delivered by a 6’3, 265lb mesomorphic male is going to have a vastly different impact than one delivered by a 5’2, 105lb ectomorphic female?
Given that, would it not seem logical not to teach the small female to deliver, say, the technique of delivering an overhand right to a larger, stronger opponent regardless of whatever style is being taught?

I see this in ‘sparring’ all the time. It’s stupid. Technique is not inherently superior. It has to bend to situation and circumstances as well as individual differences for the student and the opponent they might face.
A woman 1/2 my size is not going to punch me in the stomach and knock me down unless I happen to have a bad case of dysentery and I've got a 6 beer bong funneling into my gut at just that second, I don't care how well trained she is in what art.
She strikes my carotid artery or occipital ridge, different story.

For combat training, those styles that emphasize effective techniques are superior to those that don't. End of story.
For combat. Yes.

What you seem to be alluding to is traditional asian martial arts as taught in storefronts and shopping malls. Those styles emphasize physical fitness and flexibility and sports applications and typically are not fighting arts at all.

I’m not addressing that. That’s been well hashed over (by tkchrist who said it better than I could) in terms of the differences between TMA and self-defense and combat.
And many forms are beautiful. Again. Not my thing.

Within the spectrum of combat arts and I can speak with some authority on this having fought in sports, in (civilian) ‘street’ encounters and in combat and I’ve trained people in the latter two, there are a wide variety of applications and responses that work depending on the individual and the goal.
(Taking live training with unpredictable resistance - an opponent, different environments (I’m not big on rings) etc - as a given, as far as I’m concerned there’s no methodology possible without it, so moot point to speak about kata heavy or character building styles – as generally useful as though may or may not be in life)

Taking kung fu to learn nunchucks for example – I’m not sure what that means in a number of ways. But what I take your meaning as, is that you agree that learning a wide range of skills is good but some skills are more useful than others and people should be upfront about that.
I can’t really address that. Your perspective seems to be that technique is a kind of a thing in isolation the way nunchucks are a weapon.
This is not an uncommon viewpoint but I don’t see any of those things as separate. A technique, a weapon, same thing and one can derive the root principles from any of those things.

I don’t want to get too esoteric here so: I hear musicians alluding to the same kind of things.
One can learn guitar, one can learn piano or drums or the harp or oboe. They’re different instruments requiring different technique of the fingers or mouth or feet. But the principles are the same, as are the notes.
From there you have a given song or tune. Some are short and folksy, some are long sweeping symphonies or intricate like Bach.
Beyond that you have the roots - what ‘music’ is and how to make it. And one can reach that point through the mastery of any instrument. And typically serious musicians learn more than one instrument and form of music and understand the methods behind a variety of musical styles and genres.

This does still rely on technique of course, but there is no such thing as a superior technique, only a superiorly executed technique. This is why Bach is Bach but Joshua Bell playing Bach is different from me attempting to saw out my Fisher-Price version of Chaconne even though the tune is the same.
What is effective depends on the individual and the goal, from there it's training.

F’rinstance, I’ve stripped most of the small joint technique from my own style. In part because I’ve fought people who have (for one reason or another) high pain thresholds, in part because I’ve got enough beef to not need them, but mostly because it saves me time to just go ahead and put them where I want them because I usually have the muscle and the leverage because of my experience, size and weight training (and to avoid looking to set them up for a kill).

Krav Maga and Sambo practitioners love small joint locks tho. And when I teach my daughter, I teach her some those (‘some’ because some people will let their fingers, etc. break). Because she’s not going to be as big as I am and her style is going to be more economical. When she gets better she'll be able to anticipate and develop a strategy and put someone where she wants them to deliver whatever technique she wishes and economy will come from that.

But even if she was my size, her center of gravity would be different (women) so she might as well take advantage of that to save her time in achieving whatever it is she wants to achieve in a certain engagement.
And that's where technique is derived - you build techniques into combinations into furthering a goal. The goals form the principles of your style.

So the question is not kung fu or sambo – but rather – soft or hard? Where? On defense or offense? Straight lines or circular? Rhythm? Development? Integration? Are you working towards lethality or using time to gain submission? What options do you have? What limits you? What can you afford to do?

Anyone who’s achieved mastery says the same thing. Liechtenauer for example says – the core of all combat is attack, defense, in-between, and soft and hard and that’s all one needs for mastery.
So in developing a combat art we should not look at BJJ or Krav Maga, but rather – where and how do we want our students to be effective? What is it we want them to achieve? And develop the techniques from there.

These guys say they want lethality. For the bulk of infantry, I completely disagree. It is less effective for mainline troops to fight that way because of the way modern infantry fights. Mostly with overlapping lines of responsibility as a team.
It would be as silly as Hoplites developing single combat skills. They too, depended on teamwork because of the phalanx.

MMA, as it is practiced as a sport, is primarily made for single combat. One on one. And too – MMA (again, as the commonly understood sports package) has a number of moves that rely on freedom of movement in the legs, etc. So (as mentioned above) it’s tough to do certain things if you have BDUs with stuff in the cargo pockets and you’re carrying a fanny pack.

In terms of hybridization – that is – taking from a variety of forms and styles and tailoring that to what a common infantryman might face in the field – well, that is actual mixed martial arts and all combatives are predicated on, that hybridization. Which is also what MMA means (just not in common reference).

So, some guy studying storefront Tae Kwan Do, no he’s probably not going to be joe bad-ass in a combat situation. But it’s possible to take elements of Tae Kwan Do and develop a solid effective form as it is with most styles since they're based on combatives.

The problem is only in the teaching. Most McDojos don’t teach any of the combat oriented stuff. For example – ever seen a Tae Kwan Do artist head butt someone? It’s in there. Fast groin snap kick or knee followed up by a rising head butt. Don’t see much of that in point tournaments though, eh?

The ROK Marines in Vietnam used TKD and the U.S. Marines incorporated it into Bill Miller’s system (which became LINE which became MCMAP – say, guess who Matt Larson borrowed a lot of training techniques from?).
The ROK Marines were, to put it mildly, feared in Vietnam. And there was extensive hand to hand combat at the battle of Tra Binh Dong in which they used a lot of knives and TKD (but Smed! TKD doesn’t use knives! Uh huh. Those people were using everything down to stone knives integrated in their hand to hand combat 4,000 years ago. Martial arts were banned during the Japanese occupation - hence the whole sports and no weapons thing)

You tell someone today TKD was a combative they’ll laugh (if you enjoy hospital stays, feel free to laugh at an ROK Marine and their silly Tae Kwan Do training (of course, some of them are 90 years old now, but they probably still have muscles even in their turds).

Most martial arts are based on practical combat techniques. Hence the term ‘martial.’ The further they get from practical martial applications into sport applications or artistry for the sake of scoring points or being beautiful (not that those things don’t have value) the further they get from effectiveness in combat.
So – ROK Marine TKD is not 114th Dan Superuberhypertriplegrandmaster Kim’s storefront TKD for kids. But that doesn't mean the foundational principles aren't the same.

And there are many arts that retain effectiveness in other settings. Indeed, LINE was watered down because it emphasized only lethality and had some defensive problems (there are downsides to being used to having a lot of energy and muscle power and translating technique into fighting when you're sucking buttermilk).

But killing in single combat can work for marines. Typically they don’t have the depth army infantry has and they’re more about mobility than holding on to ground so if you’re hung up trading hands with some guy in a house, you can get overlooked as the mission moves on.
But a lot of forces have been used for peacekeeping operations and the U.S. is going to need a non-lethal style if we’re going to keep doing that in the future.

Also, you can afford to use a non-lethal style if you’ve got backup nearby. And most infantry does. Sort of the point there to having mass infantry.

Special operators – different story. But they’re ‘special’ not super. Put any number of SOF into the ranks with common tactics meeting a standard objective they might get there a little quicker, but there’s not going to be much difference.
They’re special because their missions are different and their training is tailored to that. Not because the training is somehow better or their style is inherently superior and more effective. If that were the case, everyone would be trained that way. It’s the mission, not the man. How you train is dictated by the goal.

What I alluded to above – my difference of opinion with tkchrist – was that if you take two students one trained in MMA (sport) and one trained in the same techniques but trained to execute lethally, and have them fight it out no holds barred the student trained to kill will kill the other student.
His argument was that MMA (sport) contains many techniques that could be lethal if applied that way and you can’t train someone to kill because you would have to kill people to train them that way.

My argument was that you fight the way you train and the one trained to kill will be a shade faster in doing that because you can train a mindset irrespective of style.
The flip side is that in the ring I suspect the more lethally minded student will take a beating because he’s got to focus on restraint. That extra 1/10th of a second makes the difference for either of them because they’re geared for different scenarios. When they're out of their element, they'll lose - all other things being equal.

Now take the dilution – that is – water down the scenarios one trains for so you get further away from thinking and training to execute lethal technique - and run it over 50, 100, 500 years.

Today you’ve got a Kempo teacher making students do jumping jacks and learning tenacity in their spirit. Valuable, but it’s not Nihan Kempo which is more about full contact. Which, is effective (some police in Japan study it). But too – not really a combative strictly speaking.

So – out here in suburban Chicago there are plenty of Krav Maga stores and soccer moms trying to learn to be killer commandos but hitting pads or wearing blindfolds, etc.

The technical value of that is pretty low in terms of combat, but most students aren’t soldiers in the first place so there’s a lot of fear, etc. there to overcome and - meh, Joe Sensei has to put food on the table.

So even in a short time you have what is almost a pure combative (Krav Maga) being about as diluted as storefront TKD - because of how students are trained in it. (Yeah, it’s not really Krav Maga. Ok, it’s not really TKD either, no?)

So it’s the training and what techniques are trained to what students with what objective.
You have scour the countryside to find a teacher whos going to give you the real deal in anything. They exist (Frank Cucci comes to mind. Sr. not jr.), but most of them still have schools that have kids and teach sports applications - again, you gotta eat.

Of course, there’s private instruction.

But even so - most students aren’t worked to the point of exhaustion then trained to still execute technique sharply and won’t get taught how to respond when fully adrenalized under heavy stress. Even if you find a teacher, who’s got the time or dedication?

So speaking generally technique, in that regard, is secondary to training. You don’t know how to execute a combination of techniques unless you can do it consistently, reflexively, under severe stress while looking through that tunnel vision with your heart in your mouth and the world moving in slow motion.

If you can do something useful in that state – anything – you’re going to be ahead of just about anyone who ‘knows’ any number of techniques and styles. Typically you're going to be working towards whatever goal your system is predicated on. If that's subduing, that's what you'll do. If that's killing, you'll do that. If that's working in concert as a team, then you will do that. (Typically if you just learn the technique and aren't trained in a system and you're adrenalized you'll just continue like a little robot to keep doing that. That's almost always counterproductive.)

But very few people/organizations actually train anyone to that kind of depth because very few people need to be or want to be.

Would you need to become a classical virtuoso pianist if you're a clerk with no desire to become a musician?
Probably not. You just want to know how to block a punch and get away effectively and not get hurt.

So too, you can make music with a guitar or flute as well, in jazz or blues or whatever. Might not be great, but you can learn to carry a tune. As with most things, how you develop as a musician depends on your own dedication and where you want to take it.

So effective is defined by the goal. A warfighter can’t afford to strike and run off and call the cops. For a civilian being assaulted in an urban area though, that’s an effective response.

And there are many situations where a kill is a decidedly ineffective outcome.(Pretty much the robot/zombie 'continue performing the technique' thing, without any goal trained in.)
Even in combat - the techniques you will use depend on the situation (situational awareness, it's a thing), why would you spend the time blood choking someone if you have the luxury of not having to be quiet and you want to kill them?

So technique is not really enough to develop a superior combatant. There's a great deal of complexity there that a student really has to want to develop and integrate as a process in response to dynamic situations rather than materialize as something they 'have.'

A lot of folks use the metaphor "tool box." I don't. It seems to defeat being open to alternatives and responsive to the situation. Give someone a tool, they tend to want to use it instead of looking at the job. There's no reason you shouldn't hit someone with a rock if the situation calls for it. There's no way to teach that kind of emptiness/receptiveness as a technique, but it can be developed through dedicated training after a long while.

Nothing wrong with being well rounded though. Which seems to be part of your point.

Ach, I like to chat about this stuff too much.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:16 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


A good example of effectiveness and the importance of environment is fighting styles in prison. Very very tough to go to ground in a cell or in population where the other guy's crew might be around you, so there's a lot of very close in fighting that most people wouldn't be able to deal with for a while no matter what they've trained in.
By the same token, someone habituated to that would probably get their head handed to them in a street environment. And it's tough to get much cardio in prison so they'd probably get gassed early.

In any event, the greater the generalization the further one gets from practical realization - but too - the greater the specialization the smaller variety of situations one can be effective in.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:42 PM on May 13, 2010


Krav Maga and Sambo practitioners love small joint locks tho.

Smedleyman, this is tangential, but I'd just like to point out that this definitely not true of Sambo. Maybe you're thinking of leglocks.

As for the larger point: Most useful martial arts understand that people have different bodies and have people adjust to them. They don't tell 5'2" people to try to use a big leg reap on someone 6' tall.

I agree that consistently responding to dynamic, non-preprogrammed situations is the key to fighting effectively. But certain techniques will come up again and again from doing that. That's why developing technique is useful.

And really, not everyone is training to be able to take on every single situation. In this day and age, you're very unlikely to get into a violent confrontation in which a gun is not involved, so it's not an efficient use of your time. Quite a few people are interested in understanding for themselves how to defeat a hostile unarmed opponent for the sake of it, not because they think someone's going to attack them in the parking lot. And some of these people are being cheated and cheating themselves out of getting that understanding by committing to a martial art that isn't good for that, yet will claim it is.

People that aren't already on board with modern training techniques aren't coming. But like I said though, the "all is equal" mindset is ridiculous. You might as well claim a degree from Devry and a degree from MIT are equal.

anti-social order: I know that they're not coming right away, and plenty will be practicing their eagle claws for life, but I've definitely seen some people come along on their own once they try things out and are no longer defending their egos. I'm not saying that you have to get anyone to come along to anywhere. I just personally like to see it. It makes me feel better about the world and human reasoning.

(Return bump!)
posted by ignignokt at 1:37 PM on May 19, 2010


It makes me feel better about the world and human reasoning.

ignignokt, I don't begrudge you or anybody else for adding to a conversation because that's what it's all about. But if you think human reasoning works by the standard of "I'm right and you're wrong." Than I would have to question any assertion you have made under that guise of "enlightenment".

There also seems to be a lot of people who repeat this misnomer of a "scientifically validated" fighting systems. Until someone actually presents some sound reproducible trials using the scientific method to prove this than I wish that term would die...P.S. good luck with that.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:00 PM on May 19, 2010


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