Thursday, September 15, 2005

Recycled BJJ Post...

I told a friend of mine I would move this to the front page, so he wouldn't have to search through the archives for it. I really should try to organize them somehow.

Army Combatives - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Once again, just as I was wondering what I should post next, someone asked a really interesting question. Well, at least I thought it was interesting, maybe you will too. goes...
Question: How's it going...sir. I'm from the martial artist blog ring. I just want to know something, what forms of martial arts do you guys teach in the military?

Answer: First things first... There is a very widely used response in the United States Army when someone makes the mistake of addressing a NonCommissioned Officer as "Sir". Generally the response, given in as gruff and hard a voice as possible, is "Dont call me Sir....I work for a living". Now, nobody expects civilians to know the difference, but this is just a little tidbit of useless information about the Army that you can take away with you. Only Commissioned Officers (O1 through O10 or 2LT through GEN), or Warrant Officers (WO1 through CW5, usually helicopter pilots or some sort of technical skill), are called sir. Non Commissioned Officers are always addressed by either their rank or position. (Rank - Sergeant, First Sergeant or Sergeant Major for example) (Position - Drill Sergeant). Anyway, it doesnt offend me or anything to be called sir, in fact it makes me happy that some people out there actually want to show respect to another person. But I just figured I would put the information out there since I know there's at least one future soldier out there who reads this site lol. And now for the real subject for todays post....
Actually this is really similar in some ways to Basic Training...some Drill Sergeant running his mouth at you for a long time about something important, but completely uninteresting, and then you get to the good part lol...

Hand to Hand Combat...

Vale Tudo...

Mano a Mano...

You are scared to death. You may actually have bruises later from the insides of your knees clacking together. You are the new guy in the platoon and you are beginning to question your worth as a soldier. The other guys give you a hard time every day because you're the "cherry" and you don't know jack about life in the Army. Not necessarily in a mean way, they're good guys, but you're still getting tired of it. And now here you are about to take part in your first urban combat mission. This is your chance to do something right, to show them that you can be counted on when it really matters.

As you stack up at the entrance, your heart is pounding like a blown tire at 80 miles an hour...BOOOOM!!! The small explosive charge goes off, cutting a neat hole around the doorhandle and deadbolt. The door blows inward and you barely have time to think it odd that the lock and handle are still hanging from the doorjamb when everything goes wrong at once. This was supposed to be a simple mission made simpler by the element of surprise...but evidently nobody let the bad guys know that. Somehow instead of being asleep in their bed like they should be at this hour of the night, someone is trading bullets with the first guy through the doorway. Theres no time to hesitate though, so you follow him into the room on pure adrenaline, praying that this madness will end quickly and on our terms.

As you sidestep through the door and begin to check your sector you see one bad guy down and another just raising his rifle toward your buddy, who has taken a shot in the body armor and is on his knees, wheezing and scrambling for his dropped weapon. Screaming something that makes no sense, you put the red dot centermass and drop him just before he pulls the trigger...spraying a few wild rounds into the baseboards of the wall as he falls.

Suddenly someone steps through an inside door and grabs you around both arms. The rest of your squad is screaming at you to get out of the way, but he has a deathgrip on you and as he slams you to the floor, the sling catches on an armchair and your M4 is pulled from your grasp. Your opponent is unarmed and as the rest of the squad continues to clear the room and the rest of the house you do what a million soldiers have done in bad situations since the beginning of time. You automatically fall back on your training.
As Habib rolls on top of you you bring both legs up and lock them around his waist while you work your arms free. Now that he is effectively in your GUARD, he releases your arms and grabs you around the throat in a classic "daterape" choke with both hands. "Bad move slick" you gasp contemptuously as you secure one of his straightened arms with your right hand and reach down and grab his right thigh with your left. Raising yourself onto only the small of your back to make it easier to turn, you release your guard and spin yourself to the left. Your right leg swings up and over your unfortunate victims' head, coming alongside your left leg on top of his face. Furious that you are fighting on your back when you had only wanted this raid to go well and everyone to come home safe, you straighten your entire body, pulling the arm back into your chest and arching your hips quickly up toward the ceiling. "Ouch", you think to yourself as you hear the wet pop that signifies an end to this guys' career on the Iraqi tennis circuit.

As he screams in pain and begins sputtering something that obviously means "I'm not having fun anymore" in arabic, you realize that in the space of a few seconds your buddies have secured the premises and are watching you in stunned silence. "Holy shit, Holmes... You broke that dudes arm", Garcia says, giggling nervously as he checks the other bodies for identification and anything of intelligence value. Thankful that this turned out well, after a hair raising beginning, you just shrug and say "Yeah, well, I owe it all to Drill Sergeant Rob"


Ok ...well I typed that out as quick as I could and wasnt sure how to end it, so I figured some shameless self glorification was as good a way as any.

Now for the real discussion on Combatives training in the Army...

Several years ago, some of the personnel in the Special Ops community, were trying to come up with a better alternative to the current Hand to Hand Combat doctrine in the Army. The problem was, either units didnt train hard enough and were completely ineffective in the hand to hand areas, or they DID train hard and had an unacceptable amount of injuries using the current system of throws, chokes and strikes outlined in FM 21-150. After considerable research and study of several different systems, such as Russian Sambo (sp), Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga, Judo and others, they decided to go with BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU. There are several reasons for this decision, and I could spend all day talking about the merits of each system, but I will try to make this as short and sweet as I can.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (which I will type as BJJ from now on since this is taking longer than I expected) first and foremost is a relatively easy system in which to become reasonably skilled in a short amount of time. The old story of "knowing just enough to get your ass kicked", although it still has a grain of truth to it, is far less true under the new system. While you may not be ready to enter any competitions after your first few sessions, you WILL BE A BETTER FIGHTER. The relatively simple to understand principles behind the grappling arts can make any barroom brawler far more effective within a few weeks. And when you get right down to it, nobody cares how cool or flashy your system is in combat. The ultimate goal is as basic as warfare kill, disable or submit your opponent in the shortest time possible, so you can continue moving on toward the objective and mission accomplishment.

The way it was explained to me when I was in school goes like this. Back in feudal Japan or China or wherever most Martial Arts systems started, warriors began their training at a very young age, usually in the single digits. They new that they had to become skilled fighters by the time they were old enough to serve in the military and they had several years to achieve this goal. However, in todays Army, we get an 18 year old, for example, and he needs to become an efective fighter by the time he is around....18. In other words we don't have several years, because in a few months, Joe Snuffy is going to be out there in the real world kickin in doors.

Secondly, BJJ and the other grappling styles are far more useful in the kind of cramped and unexpected conditions most soldiers will face if they ever need to employ hand to hand techniques. They will likely fight in the dark, wearing heavy equipment and body armor, and they will fight when they are tired, cold, hungry, and confused. They will fight in hallways, stairwells, trenches and crowded streets. Most people know that 99.9% of all fights end up on the ground at some point, as was evidenced clearly when MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) competition first achieved widespread recognition with the Ultimate Fighting Championships in the early 1990s. Unless one of the first few strikes lands squarely and disables an opponent, you can almost always count on ending up clinched and rolling around on the ground. The determining factor is then who has the better grasp of sound groundfighting principles and techniques. This came as quite a shock to the World Champions in Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu and other styles. Nobody expected such technical experts to be quickly submitted by an unknown 160 pound grappler named Royce Gracie.

I have studied a few Martial Arts both before and during my career in the military. I studied Tae Kwon Do in college and a similar style when I was a Private at Fort Polk. I enjoyed them both although I never achieved any great level of proficiency in either one. They both always seemed primarily directed towards "belts" and organized competition. Martial Arts competitions are a LOT of fun and very wothwhile, but they are absolutely nothing like a real fight, UNLESS you step into the realm of VALE TUDO or "no holds barred" competition.

Luckily for me, I was sitting in the Platoon Sergeants meeting one day at Ft Campbell, when the 1SG asked who had two names to go to the new Army Combatives school down at Fort Benning. There was a new push to get this spread through all the Infantry units, and they needed certified unit level Combatives Instructors. Of course the first name I shouted out was my own since I had plenty of time left with the unit and had some small background and interest already. To make a long story short, the Level One course was a week long and it was brutal lol. Eight hours a day of mostly drilling and fighting, learning and applying new techniques in rapid succession. (I ended up breaking a rib on the last day lol)

The first course teaches the basic system with an emphasis on good technique and teaching methods. After returning to Fort Campbell, the responsibility was ours for developing a unit program and beginning to train our respective companies. Luckily I had an outstanding Company Commander at the time who was completely sold on the idea, and soon we were working it as a Company once or twice a week and on an individual voluntary basis during lunch and after duty hours. We were also fortunate enough to have a member of the Gracie organization come to our unit and offer another week long course which I took advantage of.

The course was a great place to start, but most of my growth as a fighter came from the necessity of being an expert before I attempted to teach others, and once several of my fellow soldiers had a sound working knowledge, a stubborn refusal to lose to someone I had taught lol. Of course I did lose a few fights eventually. Anyone who fights knows that if you grapple long enough you are eventually going to be submitted, most likely through some mistake of your own. Thinking back though I believe I only lost to 3 soldiers while I was there, and only to one of them more than once. SPC W. (my assistant instructor) kicked my ass repeatedly and thoroughly the entire time I was there lol. His knowledge of grappling was every bit as strong as mine and that fool bench pressed well over 350 pounds lol.
Probably one of the most important factors in BJJs successful application in the Army is its lack of training injuries. By it's nature, a properly applied submission hold gives you the chance to submit before injury occurs in training. This makes it possible to train at full strength, only lowering the intensity just before a joint would normally pop or unconsciousness would occur. Actually soldiers do frequently get choked completely unconscious, but after snoring and being laughed at for a few seconds they wake up completely unharmed lol. This level of intensity in training allows for a rapid growth in skill, and a supreme confidence in your own ability to handle a "real" fight.
Anyway, I'm gonna end this staggeringly long post now...

The logical next step would be to ovierview some of the principles and techniques of BJJ, and I might do that later...or maybe not...if anyone's interested just let me know and I'll shoot it out there for ya.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Blogs on Politics Be Shut Down?
THE hustings are in full swing. A candidate makes a fiery speech at a rally. You're inspired.
I recycle my old stuff here VĂ©hicules maybe you should too

10:00 PM  
Blogger Chevy Rose said...

Hey, anon, you're spam?

That was a very good post on fighting. What about disarming weapons or fighting with knives?

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, We didn't learn BJJ. . We were taught something else. Of course I wasn't Army either LOL!!! :)) What is spam? Hey I did find out there is a base down there. and I thought htere was only Parris Island. WOW!!! You still have my URL? if not tell me in your comment box. I still come back to read. I just don't comment all the time. Sometimes I really don't have anything to say. Imagine that :0 LOL! We learned how to disarm people with knives at a later point in time. In fact I think it was when we were getting ready to go to Afgan. Not everyone learns that though. Then sometimes you get lucky enough to have somebody to teach others how to do it. Some MOS' don't need it.
ok out.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, where can on efind more information out and maybe even an Fm on this BJJ. I have two sons in the Marines and the Ol' Army Combatives (and my age...) are not holding up so well any more. I have used it in the past against some really nasty folks associated with the less then law abiding clientele I work with. And it has been effective.

3:31 PM  
Blogger armynurseboy said...

BJJ is one piece of the new Combatives curriculum. It also includes portions of other arts such as Muy Thai and Kali. The weapons portion (stick, knife, e-tool) is almost entirely Kali. Some units will also train more in a particular style. For example, the SF group up at FT Lewis trains with Guro Kelly Worden in JKD and Modern Arnis (Kali).

3:34 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you end up in Iraq you won't get nearly close enough to the Rebels to use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or any other type of martial arts, as it seems every time our "brave" "Army" encounters any Rebels at all, even a tiny handful of them, what occurs instead of what you're supposed to do (normal infantry fighting, have one element provide suppressive fire while another element moves around the flank to close with the enemy and destroy them) is cowering behind any available cover and screaming in a shrill effeminite voice for air support. "Oh no, it's an 80-year-old Iraqi woman in a wheelchair with a slow-fuse matchlock musket!! We need air support!!" "Help us, there's a crippled Iraqi man hobbling towards us in a threatening manner and he's got a sharp piece of glass!! Call in the gunships!!". You'd better thank your lucky stars that you're not up against a REAL army like North Korea's or China's or Iran's because the U.S. "Army" would be an effing grease spot.

1:52 PM  
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