MMA in the US Military: Soldier Survival Training

Recent news on the war in the Middle East is that General
David Petraeus, the new US Commander in Afghanistan is abandoning the previous
strategy created by General Stanley McChrystal, who was recently
dismissed.  Gen Petraeus’ plan
involves a far more comprehensive counter-insurgency campaign, involving more
troops and integrating American efforts with the local militias.    With hopes of forming more
local defense militias and gaining the confidence of the people of Afghanistan,
the new strategy does not bring American soldiers home any sooner.  The new game plan is intended to help
bring a more peaceful approach to the war against terrorism without propagating
more damaging sentiments of America that haunt our worldwide reputation,
particularly in countries throughout the Middle East. 

This strategy requires American soldiers to keep their foot
patrols up and efforts walking the country to seek out so many of the
constantly forming Taliban groups. 
In particular, American soldiers are on a non-stop search for any intel
that brings them closer to the location of ambushes that organize in front of their
path and the location of IEDs (improvised explosive devices).  The eminent danger that lies ahead for
our troops places them in danger of IEDs and close quarter combative

Close quarter combative training or hand-to-hand-combat, is
a skill set that can truly save a soldier’s life.  The ever-growing popularity of MMA has provided American
soldiers with more access to training in mixed martial arts and ground
fighting.  Although the situations
presented in a MMA training setting are not life threatening, many of the
elements of conditioning and the foundation of the sport do translate into
combat self-defense.

Krav Maga, an Israeli reality based system, translating into
‘contact combat’, cleverly integrates the best techniques from various martial
arts for the sole purpose of self-defense.  Itis accessible to soldiers and law enforcement stateside.  Its application takes on a very
different look than its civilian program, which is available all over the
United States.  The United States
military provides its own hand-to-hand-combat training program that bring mixed
martial arts directly to the soldier while serving.  These systems are well-organized and deal with self-defense
with combative gear on and attacks with knife, hand guns, automatic weapons and
riffles.   One program is
offered Through the United States Army. 

The Army Combatives Program (
offers an efficient experience in combatives,  giving soldiers MMA training and fighting experience.   The Army’s program is helping to
maintain an evolving set ofskills for soldiers beyond their basic training.  It also helps to foster a continued
interest in MMA training while between tours.  If soldiers maintain their fighting skills and conditioning
while at home, it benefits their entire mental and physical being if deployed
back into the field.

The Army’s Combat Training program has a large number of
soldiers enrolling to gain a set of mixed martial arts skills.  The program is known to help build
battlefield confidence and its advancement system allows various levels of
soldiers to train while creating goals that provide motivation.   One of our US Army’s training officers has shared with me that, “We
aren’t going to win the next war because we are better at hand to hand combat,
but we will win because of our willingness to close the distance and engage in
close combat with the enemy.  I
think the Army Combatives program fosters a warrior spirit and forms a decent
foundation to ground grappling, moving to more advanced skills of Muay Thai and
Kali. “  An important design
element of the Army’s program is that is must be able to train 30-100 soldiers
at one time.  They focus on
breaking down steps very simply so that survival under press are in the
forefront during a combative attack. 
The mixed martial arts that are part of this program also serve to
relieve stress while still teaching soldiers how to monopolize on the surge of adrenaline
that occurs when under stress and faced with aggression.

Another recently returned soldier who served two tours in
Afghanistan enjoyed his time in the Army’s Combative Training program.  Since returning to Chicago, he has
sought out MMA training to keep in shape and fine-tune his skills, anticipating
a return to the Middle East.  He
enjoyed how the program was organized, offering him three levels of combatives.  ” It gave me a combination of BJJ (Brazilian
Jiu Jitsu) and wrestling, then we ended with MMA as the more advanced
level.  In the basic training they
train us with boxing, bayonet and some BJJ.  For me it was valuable because it gave me physical hardiness
and conditioning along with the mentality of combat, taking someone down and
actually finishing them.  Only MMA
continues to give you that opportunity.”

If you are an active member of the military I have arranged
for several schools to offer you a discount to train in mixed martial arts and
Krav Maga.

  • POW! MMA in Chicago’s West Loop, 950 W. Washington,
    312-829-7699  $75.00 a month for unlimited training
(saving of $54 a month).

  • Curran Martial Arts in Crystal Lake, Il, 221 Liberty Road,
$75.00 a month (savings of $69 a month)

  • Buffalo Grove Martial Arts and Krav Maga, 700 Armstrong
    Drive, 847-215-8333, 50% off any
program offered

  • Krav Maga Illinois in Highland Park, 2200 Skokie Valley
    Road, 847-433-0405,
$85 a month for 2 days a week ( savings of $14 a month)

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