T Nation

On Combat


This is just too good not to share. Read as much as you can, especially the posts by the member "bodhi."

It really gives the sense of how much different combat is than sport. I hope you guys can pull as much out of this as I did.



Really interesting stuff. I've heard these arguments before, and can't disagree with most of them. I don't think learning MMA or any of it proponents is going to help much in a street fight, or during war.


While I see why you like this, and you definitely got a point there, Irish, I do not fully agree.

An athlete struggling to win in a sport-environment is one thing.
A modern soldier fighting war in an organized army is another.

And combat or fighting is the idea itself. A platonic eidos, if you so want.

Some aspects do overlap, favourably to the sports guy, some to the soldier.

The vet is not necessarily the big dog, even if he got quite a collection of abhorrent memories from his tour in Nam.


I think the point is that just because you are a black belt in jujutsu doesn't mean you will fare well in CQC. Combat on the battlefield is not something you can necessarily prepare for using "sport martial arts".


While I agree they are different, do you think any kind of training that conditions you for violence makes the transition from learning sport fighting to learning how to kill easier?

I mean wouldn't some training be better than none, or does it just give you a false sense of confidence and a lot of skills to unlearn moving from sport fighting to CQC?


Do you honestly think any amount of training can prepare you for mortal combat?
There are some very competitive people out there but there is a huge chasm between wanting to win and wanting to kill.
Completely different environment. There is no safety to fall back to.
I would say that certain martial arts ingrain a faulty combat pattern. Like the wrestler who doesn't allow himself to fall on his back but exposes himself to a rear choke every time he does it. A poor example but you get the idea.
It's not necessarily the physical skills you require but the mentality and thought pattern that allows you to kill.


not too bad.....they get off on a tangent pretty quick there. i think the guy the post starts about sounds kind of like a moron. quite honestly, most the time an Infantry unit uses H2H is to grab somebody, like a high value subject. otherwise, they've got guns.

the Army uses the Combatives program to instill a warrior spirit, in addition to general self-defense and conditioning. all the guys talking about killing with their bare hands are missing the point on war. we use guns and bombs and cool stuff to kill, and transition to hands-on to take somebody in custody.

the Vietnam vet argues how ROE restricts us from killing, but doens't realize that we don't want to kill everyone, all the time.

i dunno...the more i think about that read, the more annoyed it makes me. a bunch of dudes arguing stuff that is either outdated, or they don't know anything about.


What exactly are we discussing here?

War? or "sport training doesn't prepare you for real situations"? if it's the latter, that's a crock of shit for the most part.


Back a few years ago when I was doing AFROTC we were training with the local Army group. I don't remember how it was brought up but the 1st Sgt started belittling this Army Cadet that thought he was bad because he boxed. 1st Sgt explained that all of his 5 H2H kills in Afghanistan came from either stomping the other guy's throat or gouging out his eyes with his thumbs. Wasn't exactly a pretty conversation.


Exactly what they said. The fact that the US Army is using sport techniques as it's base is severely impairing the actual army's ability to fight hand to hand.

It's upsetting to me that even the army has even fallen prey to the "MMA is god" routine, to the point where special forces members have to be retrained out of it. That amazes me.


I don't know where this came from, SF were one of the first government organizations to employ the Gracies in teaching their self defense techniques to their troops so I'm unsure what learning these potential recruits have had to have retrained.

The current conception of Army hand to hand is a hundred times better than what it was before (when I was in anyways) - which was basically nothing for your average soldier, a total of one day at basic in teh sand pit and nothing else after. Time is better spent humping a ruck, doing land nav, calling for fire, and shooting your weapon anways, all that crap on that site was posturing in my opinion, but then I wouldn't know for sure cause I've never watched someone die while I was stabbing them - not sure what kind of training would get me ready for that, however, unless I was the trigger man in a slaughter house.


I call major bullshit.
He's supposed to shoot them, that's why he has got a gun. And the enemy, too, btw.
How many did he kill with his real weapon, hundreds, thousands, a hundred-thousand?

Also, gouging someones eyes doesn't kill, like in the movies the Sgt saw.
It's also not easy to do if the enemy resists.


And exactly which "sport techniques" are we talking about?
Every soldier has a knife/bayonet and or his shovel. He's hardly unarmed.
If you really, through sheer misfortune happen to clash head on with an enemy soldier, you disengage to ready your weapons, and you run if he has a weapon -likely- or they outnumber and swarm you.
If you cannot disengage/run, chances are slim the enemy has eny real h2h experience. If you have real expirience, you should win this.
The only aspect where military training would come handy here is to show soldiers how to finish a guy, something you don't learn in a sport-environment.


honestly, i call BS on what the author was saying here....it's not like SOF guys use H2H kills, unless it's like a sentry removal. shit, most of those guys have suppressors on their weapons.

when i went through basic/AIT in '94, one of my drill sergeants said if you need to learn to kill with your hands, you should've spent more time learnign how to shoot.....


Just thougth I'd chuck my two cents in for consideration.

1) While certain physical and even technical aspects of "sport" martial arts can overlap with "combat" arts, these would include conditioning striking mechanics(in some cases) etc, there is a vast differences in the application and uses of said skils. This difference is based primarily on context. No one will or should make the mistake of saying that a self defense or sport situation is equivalent to combat situations. In combat, killing can be neccessary and in some cases expected, in self defense killing should be the last resort, and in sport it is not an option. These three facts radically seperate sport from combat, with self defense as a gray area.

2) The tactics of combat are different from those of sport. While there are many differences, I'll focus on the time factor. In sport you have time to wear down the opponent, to learn about them through exchanges, in short you can devise strategy as you go. This is not true in combat. In combat the goal is to eliminate the the enemy/target as fast and efficiently as possible. You go in with a strategy based on intelligence, and then adapt to meet unexpected obstacles.

Personally, I beleive that a soliders or sailors training should prepare them for combat, not a radical idea. Sport arts don't do this and can teach bad habits that can get them killed.


I'm going by what the OP said in the thread.

Again, it may be better than it used to be, but still, Gracie BJJ just shouldn't have a place in it.

I also found interesting what the one member said about guys who do believe that sport somehow makes them ready for combat. I have seen many people on this very board say that MMA training best prepares people for hand to hand, and that's why the army teaches it. I liked this guy's perspective on it.


Again- I like the perspective that military guys should be taught something similar to WWII combatives instead of BJJ. I understand that their mission has changed to a degree, but still, I find it odd that they base their CQC around non-lethal things like BJJ.


There was an US Army infantry man in Fallujah who got into a scuffle on the ground when a armed insurgent tackled him. IIRC he said it was his BJJ background that allowed him to get the upper hand. He finished it by giving the guy a good stomp to the head before securing his pistol.

What part of his "sports" training stopped him from stomping the guys head? Obviously that's not something they teach in BJJ.

Way I see it, for example, let's say you're a boxer. Just because you train in an environment where you can't clinch, gouge, tackle etc etc, doesn't mean you'll default to your in ring behaviour in a street fight. Last time I got accosted was at a rave, and although my adrenaline was shooting through the roof, I grabbed the guy and kneed him in the nuts.

I'm still not sure what we're arguing here...


I am not really arguing anything. Everyone kind of came up with their own things they wanted to argue about.

I'm just saying that I found that series of posts very interesting and very realistic, and I hope people can get something from them.


Ahhh lol.

Bodhi's posts were interesting, but I think he may be a little misguided. There's nothing stopping the "sport fighter" from thinking of the same stuff the soldier would've to kill/maim his enemy, infact I'd wager the fighter would think of it faster, not being foreign to hand to hand combat.

I can see some people's concern with the current direction of Army taught combatives being directed towards submission rather than killing, but like I said, when the shit hits the fan, I don't think it's going to be that big of a deal. A soldier is still going to whack the enemy with his entrenching tool or butt-stroke him before he tries getting him in a triangle.

Be glad you guys have a combatives program that actually teaches something that may work in a certain scenario. In Australia, our army is teaching a shitty program that expects you'll be able to disarm your attacker and put them out with a series of choreographed aikido like moves that you only have to learn once! Fun!