Article: U.S. Army MMA
U.S. Army MMA
The U.S. Army's new hand-to-hand combat training not only is good for close encounters with the enemy — it also helps soldiers win tournaments.
Three of the teams that practice the mixed martial arts techniques placed tops in the recent Week of the Eagles combatant tournament.
Army combatant instructors sergeants Stephen Whorf and Francisco Portillo say the winnings are just proof that using the best parts of all close-contact fighting styles — like jujitsu, karate, tae kwon do, kick-boxing and wrestling — is the most effective.
"This right here is reality fighting," said Whorf, who is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment and has been doing martial arts his whole life. "The great thing about this is you're not punching a bag, but we're here wrestling with another person. Because we train here 100 percent, that pays off."
Whorf said he knows from experience how well the techniques work when he was in Nashville recently and said he got jumped by five men and stabbed. He credits his mixed martial arts training with saving his life by using a knee in the head and a foot sweep to knock them off their feet.
"I did exactly what I learned here. After that, I became a firm believer in this," he said.
The Department of the Army has ordered that every soldier be trained and certified at least on the first level of the mixed martial arts techniques by October. The order is part of the Army's transformation for more realistic training and to give soldiers the true warrior mentality. They have found it to be effective from experiences for the Rangers at Fort Benning, Ga., and it expanded for all soldiers to be trained in the mixed martial arts.
Portillo, combatant instructor for 3rd Brigade, said the goal of the hand-to-hand combat training is to be able to control your fear and commit yourself to the Army's warrior doctrine that says engage the enemy and finish the task at hand.
"That basically means kill-or-be-killed. We teach that the one time they'll need it, they'll have it at hand," said Portillo, who has studied martial arts since he was a child.
Portillo said this type of fighting is particularly important to the 101st Airborne Division, whose soldiers do house-to-house searches under dangerous circumstances.
"Sometimes an Iraqi will jump on their back and they will have to respond," Portillo said. "It's a fluid situation and you're closing the distance under fire."
Clarksville Mixed Martial Arts Academy owner and instructor John Renken said his school specializes in these varied techniques and it seems to be working for the ones who train there.
Renken has been hired by the Army to teach mixed martial arts to the soldiers at Fort Campbell and has the only school in the area to certify Modern Army Combatives to Level 3, the highest level available.
"Truth is found in combat," Renken said. "If your guys can't fight and can't win, then there's something wrong."
Total Comments 35
6/07/2005 10:02am, #2
6/07/2005 10:45am, #3
- Join Date
- May 2005
- ATLanta, GA
Wow, someone high up figured it out. I wonder if you'll be able to take their training as a civilian at any point. That would be interesting.
6/07/2005 10:46am, #4
6/07/2005 10:51am, #5
"Every soldier trained and certified by October"
I think that unless MMA becomes a part of their regular ongoing training, such as regular P.T., it's a waste of time. Even then, the practicality is limited. I think their time would be better spent on more MOUT training, or even more time sending rounds down range.
6/07/2005 11:04am, #6
6/07/2005 11:38am, #7
This will be a good program if it's implemented in the right way. It's cheap (compared to the other forms of training that require ranges, MOUT sites, etc...), it instills aggressiveness and willingness to deal and absorb damage, it's a fun way to keep soldiers in shape, and most important, it's makes guys (and gals) in the military feel that, while they might be unarmed, they are never helpless in the presence of an enemy.
The SEALs that I trained with in Djibouti a few years back had the mats, gloves, shinguards, etc... with them everywhere they deployed. Training MMA was one of their favorite things to do when they had some free time, and their officers and senior NCOs thought it was an outstanding form of military training. Glad to see the regular US Army getting on board with this. . ."I had once talked to Billy Conn, the boxer, about professionals versus amateurs - specifically street fighters. One had always heard rumors of champions being taken out by back-alley fighters. Conn was scornful. "Aw, it's like hitting a girl," he said. "They're nothing."
- George Plimpton
6/07/2005 11:49am, #8Originally Posted by VargasBest Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg
6/07/2005 11:51am, #9
6/07/2005 12:07pm, #10
I agree that if implemented correctly, it could be beneficial in some regards. The problem is that it most likely will not be implemented correctly ("every soldier certified by October"). The SEALS you trained with are a perfect example, they had the training gear with them everywhere they deployed. They trained often enough and with enough intensity to develop some useful skill. Training a few hours a week for a few months will accomplish very little. Also, I don't think the SEALS MA training developed a warrior ethos, I think they already had the warrior ethos which is why they chose to train in their spare time.
The USMC committed to train all Marines in a MMA system several years ago. In my opinion, what they learn is not very effective, mostly because of the lack of actual time spent training. The best thing about it in my opinion, is it exposes the marine to MMA, and hopefully some will decide to pursue it further.
Your point about resources is well taken. I certainly think that MA training makes a lot more sense than sensitivity training. I go back to my earlier post though, why not implement MA directly into a mandatory P.T. regimen. Then take it one step further, and make it available for free in the evenings to anyone who would like even more training?