Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

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Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!


When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:


I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung

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The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.


Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.



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Modern Military Martial Arts, Is It Effective


Caveat: Although an Active duty Marine for ten years I have not been a part of a military martial arts programs as the USMCMAP program came into existence many years after my duty ended. I also have not served in combat so this is my perceptions as to a theory about military martial arts and its effectiveness.

The short answer is yes. The short answer is also no. I read a quote at the Classic Budoka blog that I felt was relevant toward finding the answer to my questions, i.e. "One of my (the Classic Budoka's student) students served in military intelligence, and he noted that modern combative training emphasized MMA-style grappling. When he complained to the drill instructor that they wouldn’t encounter nearly naked grappling fights on a modern-day battlefield, the instructor replied, basically, that he knew that was true, but with only a few days for hand-to-hand training in between cardio and marksmanship, at least the raw recruits would develop a SENSE of competency in hand-to-hand, even though they really weren’t going to learn much of anything. At least they’d FEEL more confident."

This made me think that possibly this mind-state could lead to lives lost if a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine had to go hand-to-hand. Granted, in my day in the Marines we were taught some hand-to-hand but it was always emphasized that regardless it is best to always find a weapon, i.e. yours, the enemies if they died and had one with the body, or your fellow Marines if they fall or are wounded so you can do your Marine thing. But, hand-to-hand is still taught because there are times when you will need it so is the modern martial arts programs sufficient to get that job done? Remember, once in the combative situation of hand-to-hand it is literally a matter of life or death for either you or the enemy. 

I think that if the quote above is accurate through out military martial arts that to hold responsibility for not just success in combat but success and life for each and every person is critical. It means that we should provide "realistic" martial training or some hybrid of that where those who have served in harms way, with experience in hand-to-hand with the enemy - who is trying real hard to kill you - should be the modern combative training method. Similar to the Isreali Krav Maga and the British special services hand-to-hand training. 

After all, it is not a matter of what is most popular so that the individual will readily learn it but rather what training will ensure that the same individual will increase their chances of surviving a hand-to-hand encounter. 

I have watched the training via video's of some martial arts programs in the military and that was the fist thought that entered my mind, they are teaching them the sport version of grappling, etc. and then I thought to myself that this would possibly get folks killed. Then I thought, "Well, except in special forces situations how often would a combatant actually have to use their hand-to-hand?" This is similar to today's self-defense martial arts industry. The probability of any individual actually encountering a need for their self-defense is very, very, very low so if they learn crap in all likelihood they will never find out that it is not effective and the few that do will have no effect on the industry. 

The modern martial arts self-defense industry along with many others in martial arts who "feel or think" they teach self-defense in the decades since I began my involvement in martial arts, karate, I have had "no one" come to me and say they had to defend themselves and their martial arts saved the day for them. I am not saying it does not happen as I know of, not personally know, some professionals who have made it work but often a hybrid martial arts based tactic, strategy and techniques. Nothing wrong with this in my book but hey .... think about it.

In the military it is critical, in my view, to have what is realistically going to work in a combat environment. I don't want to just "feel" more confident because that confidence will die quickly the first time it doesn't work provided I survived. I don't want to find out I really just learned something that is not actually proven as effective so I can feel confident I really want something that is proven to make the enemy die for his country so I don't die for mine.

Granted, at sixty years of age I doubt seriously I will ever have to go to combat but what about all those serving now. I want to feel that all our military combatants, not just special forces types, have the tools to get the job done and come back to family and friends "whole and alive." In the end I hope that the quote is just an "isolated" situation and that most are getting it right, I hope. 

Even if they use this model in recruit training it should lead to further relevant training as they progress through their time in the military. So, the stuff must be basic and an introduction to realistic relevant training that is enhanced in further training after boot. The Marine Corps Martial Arts program starts in boot but is a part of Marine life through out the time you serve. As to its realistic relevance I can only give a limited assessment from the videos of training I have seen but is seems to have both sport aspects and more realistic and relevant aspects - maybe that is a good start but the Marines may also be influenced by the sport MMA-style stuff as well. 

I wish the Marines in my time of service had more of a program than the standard hand-to-hand. We were on our own to find additional martial arts training and that tuned out to be pretty good because that is how modern karate came to the west, with our military who took the initiative to learn something outside the military requirements. OhRahhhh! After all, I managed to realize sport over self-defense and combatives even if many years later. I take that as a part of learning fundamentals of martial systems and that may have been the sense of training from the Asian perspective where observation and self-realization were the essence of learning a martial art. 

Bibliography:
Classic Budoka. "107: Why Do You Train?" January 27, 2014.

2 comments:

Rick Matz said...

What are some of the positive things that we can get out of martial arts training for self defense?

We would be in better shape that we might otherwise have been. Stronger, more flexible, better stamina, better able to take a punch and dole one out.

Whatever latent athletic ability would be polished a bit. Balance improved.

Maybe a little more comfortable with the sight of a fist coming your way without freezing up and maybe as well some notion that you could swing back.

Maybe.

Maybe not much, but maybe enough. Maybe, at the end of the day, all that could reasonably be expected.

Zacky Chan said...

That part really stuck out for me as well when I read the article. I have no experience in the military, but in my mind I've always thought that it would be in the armed forces where people would be training "real" martial arts that depend upon saving your life and executing an opponent. But then again, I suppose the likelihood of that happening is just another illusion. The martial arts seem to be so disconnected to "real life" combat, the more I train the more I realize that is not the point of my training, or else it really would be a huge waste of time ... in my opinion.