T Nation

Evaluating a System Based on Its Outliers


I'll admit, I'm starting this topic because I'm sick of MCMAP being evaluated based upon the performance of tan belts two weeks off of Parris Island, but the basics hold true across the board.

Why do people proclaim a system broken because a novice gets his ass kicked, or godlike because someone wins with it?

I'm sick of every internet poser (even some tan belt ninja Marines) telling me that MCMAP isn't an effective system of combat.

I have yet to see anyone willing to say that to the black belt instructor trainers. Where does that bravado go when the guy with the knife scars is standing in front of you? He'll take a challenge on 5 minutes notice any day of the week. Walk on down to MACE on Quantico, those guys love to fight. Drop of a hat, 5 guys willing to take any and all comers, up to and including professional fighters. Win or lose, they'll put up a good fight.

Same thing (but inverse) with Gracie jiu-jitsu. Yes, there are some excellent fighters who practice it. The system has it's limitations too, it won't make you invincible, and if you think it will I know some wrestlers and thai boxers with winning records who beg to differ.

Yes, I push boxing skills and MCMAP as being great systems. However, I acknowledge that a (skilled) judoka or wrestler will take me off my feet at will, and I'll probably be in trouble after that.

My (long, rambling) point is that people need to stop judging a system by its extremes, good or bad. Judge the system on body of work, and what you want to get out of it. Want to sport fight? You should probably learn some ground and some standup, and jiu-jitsu and muay thai seem to work. If you're better suited to wrestling, judo, boxing, kyokushinkai, or savate, don't feel like you have to learn the "uber mega ultimate art." Do what you like, do what suits you. You'll be happier and better at it than if you followed the fan boys.


Hahah uh oh. What senior officer (or stupid ass kid) pushed your buttons so badly that brought this on?


I've just had three or four people in the span of a week tell me that MCMAP is broken and doesn't work (two because "no one uses it in the UFC"). Most had never seen the system in action, and the one who should have known better was a tan belt ninja who was talking out of his ass but unwilling to go to the pit to prove his point.

I'll agree that a lot of young Marines think they're hard core H2H killing machines because of their 27.5 hours of training. That doesn't mean that the guy with 1000+ hours of supervised training (and thousands more unsupervised) can't and won't kick the ass of almost any individual who cares to go to the pit with him. For that matter, almost anyone who has put in the time and training to get a brown belt is probably dedicated enough handle an equal weight amateur fighter. He might not win, but he won't be a pushover either. And despite all the big talk, I'm having a really hard time finding people who are willing to grab gloves and a mouth guard to back their shit up.


People win fights, not systems.

That said, I think it's fair to say that some systems are better suited to certain purposes. For instance, MCMAP might be great for battlefield situations, but it's going to suck pretty bad for XMA/forms competitions. While something like Modern Wushu might be great for XMA and suck for battlefield situations.

If you wanted to really compare the combative effectiveness of systems, then you'd basically have to be able to clone an individual (like the movie "Multiplicity" style clone) multiple times, then have each one of the clones train in a different combative system (same hours of practice, same effort on each one's part, same diet, same resistance training program/or lack of one, same level of instruction, etc...) and then at the end of the training have them all fight each other and see which systems prevail.

Of course this is an impossibility, but it's a fun mental exercise.


Well, let me say this. I'm no expert on MCMAP but from what I can tell, it is based on a lot of grappling and UFC type skillsets.

So (again, my opinion) MCMAP is maybe not broken, but a little inadequate, but only because it actually addresses the need of the "fighter" MORE than the needs of the "soldier."

If anything, MCMAP will be ABLE to used in UFC more readily than it will on the battlefield, and I think that's because of the preponderance of grappling that I see employed in it.


The grappling is the pretty part that they like to show, but the reality of the training is that it's a lot more complete than that. There's a lot of training in flaks, with weapons, 2 (or more) on 1, and at least with the instructors I had, an emphasis on not willingly taking the fight to the ground but being able to respond well once it gets there.

The ground fighting also takes up more than its fair share of technique instruction time, because it is more technical than teaching a jab-jab-cross combo or a head grab and knee.

I have some thoughts on the less-lethal and use of force continuum aspects, and personally I think they over-emphasize some of that. Yes, it's nice to be the "good guys," and there are certainly times when someone is standing a post in an otherwise peaceful country where he has to fight but not kill a drunk or belligerent civilian at the gate. At the same time, I think that maybe the Marine Corps needs to make a point: "These are killers. They a are trained to kill people and break things. That is their purpose and reason for being. If you attack them, take a wild guess what is going to happen." Of course, that would require them going in front of Congress and the President and telling them the same thing, so that Marine grunts aren't used as the world's police officers.


I aggree with your general sentiment, and empathize with you having to either put up with or defend jabs at a system you feel confident in. I do wonder though if an emphasis on use of force and less lethal isn't appropriate for the emptyhands part of Marine training. The odds being that Marine's will be using improvised weapons or empty hands in situations where killing is not warranted. In the situations where the Marine as killer needs to play I am hoping that "every Marine, a rifleman" gets the nod if not indirect fire. I am hoping that in the circumstances where lethal conflict is likely we are not handicapping and/or disarming our military.


Exactly. As America's mission has changed from killing and winning to "peacekeeping," its CQC tactics have changed with it, and THAT is a crime.

Restraining a hostile enemy combatant so you can interrogate him later- yea, you'll use grappling for that.

Killing two charging Japanese soldiers who are charging at you on Iwo Jima- your grappling is worthless, and the combatives that are no longer stressed become essential.

I do not like the emphasis on MMA skills that they have begun to implement. I'm glad you guys are training realistically of course, i.e. multiple attackers and defending while having flak jackets and the appropriate armaments adorning you, but still, I hear that they no longer teach how to use the bayonet. What army since the dawn of time hasn't at least taught that!?

But I understand that changing battlefield landscape, of course, and there's only so much time to train, but I would honestly think drilling soldiers on something like Kelly McCann's combatives would be FAR more effective and time-efficient than teaching them how to armbar some a-rab in the desert, assuming that they've dropped their rifle, pistol, and can't reach any one of their knives.

Like you said though... it's them moving the tactics away from kill techniques... and I just hope that Marines don't find out too late when they're going house to house in some Saharan shithole that although they could hold their own against an amateur fighter, they can't deliver the chin jab that will kill a man.

This is the same old story of people saying, "Well if it doesn't work in the UFC it's garbage" or saying "Well, in 'The Streetz' that shit'a get you killlled.'"

None of it really makes sense because a punch is a punch and a kick is a kick, but it's the situation you're training for that will make the difference. In this case, I think they're pushing to hard towards worrying about what they can teach marines so they don't kill each other in a barfight as opposed to what's TRULY appropriate for them.

Once again... just my opinion.



I get the same thing with Modern Army Combatives. I was an instructor out of Fort Carson, and after the Level 1 course, you would literally have idiots show up to the clubs for the sole purpose of fighting someone. This is why I always closed out my classes by telling them all, "you now know enough to get your ass whooped." The higher-ups seem to be very supportive of our combatives program. It's the idiot kids that come in that speak otherwise.

Like MCMAP, the combatives program is about a lot more than just the basic ground technique and punches. And even after you go thru level 3, it's always preached that you need to supplement your new skills with more training, ie-seek out places and people to enhance your skill set. Jokers just don't seem to understand that concept. Just as they don't understand that MMA, in relation to the UFC and such, is a fucking sport. Not meant to kill, as we are training to do.

I am curious about the offer of the Quantico folks, however. I had to cock my head at that. Would they be offended if an Army dude, such as myself, showed up to train?


I'll PM you their contact info. If you get an official "no" to training you can always try some of the back-office lines for a less-sanctioned visit.


I could win the UFC HW championship using MCMAP, assuming they let me bring my bayonet.

I don't know, when I was in, I wasn't a big MCMAP fan, so I never went very far with it, but it's not really a style, it's a system that incorporates other styles and packages them up so that your average fatass 18 y.o. recruit can be moderately proficient by the time they leave San Diego or Paris Island. That's sort of the bottom line of it IMO.

If you go back and read the literature around the original establishment of MCMAP, it's to be as much about team, leadership and confidence building as it is about unarmed (or bayonet) combat training.

It's also difficult to determine what MCMAP is at the higher levels. Calling a serious of Judo, Jujitsu or kyokushin techniques MCMAP doesn't change what they are, or where they come from.


List of armies that did not teach the use of the bayonet...
All Roman armies
All Greek armies (before the 19th century)
All Persian armies
All Egyptian armies (before the 19th century)
All Scandinavian armies (before the 19th century)
All English armies (before the 19th century)
All Scottish armies
All Irish armies (before the 19th century)
All French armies (before the 19th century)
All German armies (before the 19th century)
All Spanish armies (before the 19th century)
All other European armies (before the 19th century)

I left out most of them.


Ok dickless, it's a manner of speaking.


And also- while it's fairly obvious that without a gun there'd be no bayonet, I'd like to see what, if any, proof you have of any of this. And on top of that, I hate to tell you, but for the most part "Scottish and Irish armies" would have been incorporated into the British Army, being as... you know, they weren't their own country.

And being as Germany wasn't unified until 1871, I'd say there was probably no doctrine before that on what all German armies did.

And Napoleon was quite fond of using bayonets, as featured in charges that he regularly ordered. So I'm going to guess you're wrong on that.

And funny how those Englishmen seemed to know how to use their bayonets pretty damned well in the French and Indian War and the Revolution.... so I'm guessing they were taught just a little.

In short, shut the fuck up because you don't know what you're talking about.


The "Scottish and Irish armies" clearly refers to the armies of those countries, in ancient times for Scotland and both ancient and modern times for Ireland. The armies in Scotland are technically British now, and thus I had no need to date the Scottish army.

I could have said "the old kingdoms which now make up the nation know as Germany", but then again I'm quite sure that's a bit pointless.
And being a few centuries off (2) means I don't know what I'm talking about? Go back to school.


Yeah, I'm uncertain about the move away from the bayonet in some armies. For the record the Singaporean army recently phased out the AR15/M16 as a standard issue infantry weapon and replaced it with the local made SAR21, a pretty decent gun, that among other things, is more suited to Urban ops, but that lacks an attachment for a bayonet.

During my service (3 years ago) we'd carry the bayonet attached to our combat vests instead. Odd, considering the bulk of training in most divisions (as far as I know) involves Jungle warfare.


The SAR21 looks neat but I am a lefty so bullpup designs are my mortal enemy. I'm not speaking from a position of authority but I have noticed a lot/most instructors are teaching switching shoulders from right to left in order to maximize cover in urban settings. A bullpup takes that away but is much more compact. Did you get to put it through its paces? I would love to read your opinions/experiances if you want to share them.


Sure. I preferred it to the M16 in general, though most guys doing their reservice prefer the latter. Aiming with the scope is great on the range, though it's backup, the standard sights, is horrible. The system for scope and laser attachment calibration is also easier IMO.

Range is, according to the specs, worse than the ARs, and you'd think the accuracy would be affected, but the use of the scope covers it up significantly.

The SAR is heavier, just under a kilo more I believe, than the AR15, though with a loaded mag you barely feel it. About as hard to clean, though it has a few improvements to avoid losing small parts of the firing assembly.

I'd say the two things I like about it were:

Compactness as a result of the bullpup design. Maneuvering it was easier than the loaded AR15 since weight is more evenly distributed.

Reloading is easier. The catch to detach a mag is right above the mag, whereas the AR15 has one in a more awkward position. The cock handle is also positioned towards the center top of the gun, instead of the back, and designed to be pulled on either side (swivel).

Simply put, I'd trade the ergonomics for the extra weight and size.

Generally speaking I also noticed less jamming with the SAR, though that was probably because the ARs and M16s I worked with were older and more worn by previous batches of NSmen. Either way nothing jams more than our SAWs (LMGs). That's one gun, that if I never touched again, I'd die happy.




So an ancient army wouldn't use bayonets? That's your point huh? You're some kinda fuckin genius I guess.