MSG Larson.....I and completely aginst the teaching of the Modern Army Combatives Program. I've read the history of your efforts to revamp the Army's hand to hand program but you and your superiors continue to make the same fundamental mistakes that the Army makes, trying to find a shortcut to training soldiers. let me offer you a reality check....."You Cant!!!!!" If you try to take shortcuts when it comes to training in the martial arts if you try tio take shortcuts you're inviting trouble. On average (and I speak from experience) It takes 8 hours a day at a minimum, and 5 to 6 days a week to become proficent in the basics of any martial arts system, when you put this kind of time and effort into training both the body and the mind you develop 1:the muscle memory as well as the reflexes to apply the tecniques effectively without thinking about it, 2:the mental serenity as well as the mental clarity to see the true intentions of an attack.
As it stands the Army as a whole from what I've seen isn't devoting that kind time into training soldiers. then there's the question of practicality. the ground isn't the safest place to be, especailly in two types of environments 1: the battlefield 2: a bar, nightclub or the street. you are vulnerable 360 degrees in the guard position and vulnerable 180 degrees in the mounted position. Now let's add to that in the tactical environment: 1 you're wearing your full kit kevlar, ballistic eyewear, IOTV with ESAPI plates, 7 mags 1 inthe weapon the rest in ammo pouches, camelback with water, elbow and knee pads anf your weapon (in this case the M4) that's roughly 40 maybe 50 lbs ( I might be off by a few lbs)
now ask yourself if you were the average "Joe" and you got into a hand to hand situation with this kind of weight is the ground either guard or mounted really the best place to be?
You and your boss traveled to different countries throughout asia looking for something that could be readily taught to our soldiers, the trouble that you ran into was that the arts themselves were "cultural in nature" have you ever given thought to this: It isn't the art but the practitioner that makes it effective.
Last but not least the concept of the clinch drill. now the soldier has to rush into a barrage of punches while protecting their face, you're not allowed to parry the punches or re-direct them you have to move into them head on and achieve the clinch. the concept is that if you get hit you keep going, what you fail to realize is that most people won't get a "second chance" all it takes is one solid hit I.E.the one hitter quitter and all that achieve the clinch goes down the drain. When I went through the level 1 certification in Korea I parried the punch it worked and I achieved the clinch without getting my face pummeled. Matt you need to rethink this program and talor it to fit soldiers who have martial arts training as well and not just untrained soldiers.
The Army has to take a shortcut to training hand to hand combat because the Army doesn't have the time available to train it the way you recommend. We have more important things to train like tactics and marksmanship. Whether the Army uses Karate, BJJ, MT, or whatever, it will never train that much other than for maybe a week or a couple weeks for Cert. Why spend hours on that crap when you can spend hours teaching guys to shoot and clear rooms properly. I graduated from basic in April 2009 and went to Iraq July 2009. I'm Infantry. Training that much on ANY system of h2h would've been disastrous. Our training for the deployment was sub standard as it is.
That being said you can make guys pretty effective in short time. Just ask Paul Vunak. You don't have to spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week for years to be a good enough fighter to survive in most situations. An hour or two a day for a couple months, with the right drills, can at least enable guys to survive if they somehow find themselves without weapons. Luckily the liklihood that you'll find yourself completely unarmed in combat agaisnt another guy either armed or not is nill. War isn't mma. If I run out of ammo or my weapon jams and the other guy is up close I'm using my m4 to muzzle thump and butt stroke the guy until he's unrecognizable.
If that isn't an option I'll grab a rock, or my knife, or SOMETHING. There's always something you can use as a weapon which is always better than being unarmed. MAC isn't great but it's not bad, it builds aggression and toughness.
Including some boxing in lvl 1 would be nice but whatever, most guys do that anyway.
You'll probably never end up in that situation. If you do like I said there's always something else to use as a weapon or buddies to help you. If you are a soldier and end up fighting unarmed you're an idiot. It's easier to kill someone or disable someone with your rifle or a stick even then your fists (although some of the hard knuckle tactical gloves out there are pretty good for that if I might add). It's true you don't want to go to the ground in that situation, especially with so much crap on, but trust me you won't even CONSIDER doing it with all that weight. It definitely removes the desire to go to the ground purposefully.
At least they teach how to choke a guy out right away. If you get into a bar room brawl throw something at the dude, kick him in the balls throw him down and choke his a@@ out. If he has buddies and you don't bother to pick up a weapon, once again you're an idiot.
About the clinch drill, you are way off, you CAN block or parry, and you CAN re-direct. I did lvl 1 last year with the clinch drill and not once did they say you can't do any of that, you just can't hit them (which makes no sense). You said yourself you parried a punch to get the clinch. Most guys find it's faster and safer to just "crash" in and clinch instead of moving around. The longer they spend swinging at you the more likely they are to connect. Now if you can hit back then it's more logical to move and look for a shot.
Still, the fact you can't hit while attempting the clinch, and aren't taught striking at all till lvl 3 is stupid. I like MAC though much of it makes sense. I'd rather they teach RAT with slightly ,ore basicd groundfighting involved. all in all it doesn't really matter because warfare is martial arts or mma. This isn't a street brawl. It's "die die die"...
You say it's the practioner not the art so why are you criticising MAC anyway? According to that statement it shouldn't matter. A bit contradictory I think.