Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thoughts on Military Hand-To-Hand Training

Navy Harbor Patrol Boat

I've had permission from Billy Parker, currently stationed with U.S. Navy Harbor Patrol in Bahrain, to post part of our exchange on Martial Art training at a military level:
I am extremely interested in your approach to joint locking. I believe what you guy's are doing is fantastic! I am in the military and currently overseas. I wanted to refine some of the locks that I have been teaching, but have gotten a lot more out of your videos than just refining. Where are you guy's located? And do you have more???
I teach my own system that I put together after I got frustrated with blind minded people. I am prior Taekwondo, Karate, and Aikijujutsu guy. However non of my instructors ever wanted to seem to be practical about their material. They just wanted to teach me everything. So I went along with that for the first 12 years off my life since I started. Now I have plugged and chucked a tone of stuff, and am trying to gain more practicality for real world application to the techniques. I have tossed a lot of the old methods and techniques. I teach military colleagues, so it has to work or not at all.
What do you think, do you have any more material floating around out there I can get my hands on?

(John @ Dojo Rat):
Much of the locking we do comes out of the Small-circle jujitsu system of Wally Jay and his son Leon Jay. My training partner trained with Leon Jay and George Dillman. We have somewhat reinterpeted it (locking) now through the softer internal arts like Tai Chi Chuan, where it is called Chin-Na.
You can look at other video's we have done by clicking on my video channel on youtube, or go through the archives at our website dojorat.blogspot.com.
Thanks for writing, let me know if you have other questions and you can find my e-mail dojorat@gmail.com at the website also.
Thanks, John @ dojorat
P.S.-- I was first trained in Tae Kwon Do, then Kenpo and Aikido, now mostly Tai Chi Chuan and Bagua -- but in the end, it's all the same!

So you said you participated in Kenpo, are you referring the Ed, Parker System? And also I really like what you said about
it's all the same. That is a statement that I have been preaching since I began doing Ju Jutsu after I quit practicing Taekwondo.
So I understand the importance of getting out there with an open mind, and then realized the similarity in all of the systems.
Thanks for the references, take care!

Hi Bill,
I'm an old hack now, pushin' 50. I got my TKD black belt in '84 (second two years later) and my third dan in Kenpo in 97 I think. It was a Hawaiian Kenpo style developed by Bill Ryusaki, I trained under his style in Washington state. I think Parker Kenpo is a better system, and I truely wish I had trained under his students.
Meanwhile, we have to fight with the system we have, not the system we would like to have (ha, I just had to throw a Donald Rumsfeld quote in there for you!)
I would like to hear more about your training with other military guys. Would you like to write up a short summary and send it to me? We could put it up on dojo rat if you are interested!

Training with the military has been a fun experience and an eye opener. Back in the United States at your
local Karate school the experience is I would say soft in most places. Here everything is made to be as
realistic as it can be. The Navy originally taught us basic JuJutsu based arm locking and wrist control. As
time has passed they moved into Mechanical Advantage Control Holds, or the MACH system. Again more
Jujutsu based technique. And then I have my background in both traditional Jujutsu and a little bit of Brazilian
that I have picked up from my colleagues here. But training with the military is a great way to learn real solid
skills because of both the serious atmosphere and the demand to make sure you don't mess up due to the
fact that I may actually have to use it a regular basis compared to back home where you may only have to
use it once in your life. But for us here we feel that Jujutsu is the most practical and most appropriate martial
art for us.
Back to the Kenpo, and I really like your Rumsfeld quote! Good stuff there! I have not had solid experience
in Kenpo, but when I am out of the military I am going to find a school and pick it up. I really enjoy the philosophy,
theory, and mechanics of the system. Ed Parker system is my favorite. I enjoy Jujutsu, and I like locking. But I
am ready to start something a little different and continue with the serious self defense systems. I am not a fan of
fighting in the ring or competition at all actually. The Japanese Kanji symbol for MARTIAL has two symbols together.
The first means to STOP and the other is CROSSED SPEARS. So in true essence of the original meaning, martial art
actually means to Stop conflict. Not the art of inducing it. It's not about the fight and it's not about fighting. It's about
being able to stop the fight and move on. That's why MMA cannot use traditional systems without mixing. Because
they are abiding by the opposite idea. MMA is not Martial Arts. Also that is a great theory on why Brazilian Jiujitsu is
so effective in the MMA cage, because it does not have the same background as the traditional asian methods whos aim
was to be hand in hand with justice. Bringing rightousness to fruition.
*Other thoughts: Opposite of popular belief, the martial arts are not purposed for the ring,
for glory, or for fame. If you partake of these ideals they immediately dilute who you are
and what you are capable of. Pulling your punch is one of the worst harms you could ever
do to yourself. In the military It's hard to conduct randori amongst ourselves well, because
we don't pull strikes. So that's why we train in other ways, much like the old way of Karate
during the Japanese occupation of Okinawa utilized the striking of stones, boards, bricks,
and tile. Long before it was turned to sport. Well, we still break today, but it's not the mind
that they used to have. It has a different purpose, and if you don't have proper focus and
character, your Karate will not be used the way it is meant. Much the reason Americans
generally say TKD and Karate don't work. As for the true philosophy of the martial way,
it works.
Thanks for writing me back!
Take care, Bill
An interesting exchange!
Thank you Bill for your thoughts on Martial Arts in the military, and thank you for your service!

As requested I won't post Billy's military (.mil) e-mail address so there is no hassle for him, but if you would like to contact him please use this e-mail address navy_recon@yahoo.com


Bob Patterson said...

That's a very interesting post. My "hand-to-hand" instruction during basic training consisted of a few lame hip throws. Granted, I was training to be medic so it's not like I was training to be Rambo.

I served in a Guard unit who had some Airborne medics and they had more extensive training. Still, we are talking a long time ago so the hand-to-hand was not were it is today.

I'd be very interested to learn how the military (and his system in particular) addresses multiple attackers. The simple fact remains that BJJ is at a disadvantage if you are dealing with more than one opponent. (all martial arts are)

You can't wrap someone and choke them out if you got another assailant that's about to stick a bayonet in your back.

But, I may have a knowledge gap here so I'd be curious what they teach and what they say about it.

Nathan at TDA Training said...

Great conversation, and very enlightening. Seems you have a kindred spirit there.

I'm actually very curious about what the Navy's particular doctrine on HTH is, besides the SEALs. The Army has the MACP, and the Marines their MCMAP, both of which are good, but the Navy is a mystery to me.

I agree with Bob, of course, on the BJJ and multiple attackers, but the MACP (US Army) response to that is that the one who wins in close-quarters HTH is the one whose buddies show up first with a weapon. In other words, you're not on your own, but if it's one on one, BJJ is VERY effective. The cops have the same philosophy, because you usually have "backup" so BJJ is good for getting someone down and disabled enough to cuff.

Dojo Rat said...

My reading is that he is talking about more traditional jujitsu as his background, he mentioned wristlocks and armbars. How to restrain or escort someone under arrest. The BJJ was something a couple other guys brought to the training.
Perhaps he will write back and elaborate-

Hand2Hand said...

I never served, but I based on what I hear, I don't have a high view of most military H2H.

Outside of special forces outfits, like Green Berets, SEALS, etc., the word I have is that you might get one or two classes in H2H while in basic training and that's it.

One of my sifus, John Angelos, was a Green Beret and he held a 2nd dan in a classical form of jujitsu before he enlisted. During his basic training, his drill instructor told the recruits to do a karate style high block against a knife attack. John laughed and said it wouldn't work.

He showed the DI what would happen if he tried that on him. It made the DI look foolish and got John put on KP.

My Yau Kung Mun instructor is a retired SEAL. He is definitely on my short list of guys I don't want to mess with. He learned SCARS as a SEAL which is based on learning what a person's reaction will be to what you do and how to capitalize on it.

For example, if you punch a guy in the gut, he doubles over, leaving his face open for a helluva uppercut.

As a result of his SCARS training, that's pretty much how he looks at the other arts in which he's trained, such as Muay Thai, escrima, Hung Gar and YKM. It carries over into a lot of our training. In everything we do, we're always trying to base our follow-up move on what the other guy will do in reaction to our first move.

Dojo Rat said...

Can you tell us more about Yau Kung Mun? I am not sure where it falls in the spectrum of Chinese martial arts, just curious

Hand2Hand said...

Hey DR,

Yau Kung Mun basically means "Soft Fist" or "Soft Art." It's a Southern Chinese art with elements of Bak Mei, Hung Gar and Choy Li Fut. Most of the forms in YKM come from Bak Mei. The forms tend to be shorter, faster and more aggressive.

I've done it for more than five years. I've learned about seven or eight empty-hand sets from that art and four weapons - a staff set, darn dao, butterfly swords and kwan dao.

For more information, you might want to start at my sifu's blog at yaukungmun.blogspot.com.

Barry said...

We have to be careful when we use the term "Military Hand to Hand Combat". This generic term covers everything ever taught, anywhere, anytime, to any group of military personnel. It does not mean one specific sytle, system, or method.
Military H2H has been WW2 Combatives by such greats as Bill Underwood, Pat O'Niel, Rex Applegate, W.E.Fairbairn, and others vary greatly when one is compared to another. Vietnam era brought Micheal Echanis and others who taught versions of Asian Martial arts such as Hwarng Do. At one time the late great boxer Jack Demsey was even hired to teach a version of "dirty boxing". Todays military is very big on a method of fighting which is basicly Brazilian Jujitsu/MMA. The term Military H2H even covers other country's militaries where again great variances occur between one and another; such as the R.O.K. teaching a version of Tae Kwon Do, or the Russians teaching Sambo as H2H. Sambo has its roots in Jujitsu as taught by the famous master Kano. Then there is the other Russian H2H system called Systema which in english just means system and again differs.

The term Military H2H gets further problematic when it makes the transition from the offical military world into the civilain world. Some groups such as some Krav Maga schools, and they are not alone, have made the decision to pre-evaluate your needs regarding technique and on that basis have removed techniques that they feel shouldn't be used in the street; yet they still use the term military H2H or claim a military lineage.

In addition to these considerations there are also the affects of patrolling, observation, and awareness techniques and how they effect the act of H2H. Killing a sentry is very different than killing an enemy soldier who has broken through your lines during a close range engagement, which again is very different than the situation of an undercover agent or resistance fighter who while in close range to an enemy who has had their cover comprimised, which is again extremely different than a competition environment.

All this to say when making acedemic comparisons, which are pretty much the only kind we can make, as few sensible persons would agree to having " a challenger" use the element of suprise to jam their fingers into their eyes, we need to be very careful about what and how we are comparing styles, systems, and methods, if our the intention is to obtain objective results.

Barry Drennan
H2H Instructor

Anonymous said...

Hello to everyone, I have not seen this article in years, but it's still here! I was reading through the comments and saw where one post mentioned that the NAVY's combatives were a mystery and as well they should be. We simply don't have a NAVY wide combative program. If you serve Greenside(with Marines) you learn MCMAP, if you serve attached to the ARMY, then obviously you learn elements of MACP.

I have worked in military law enforcement for 6 years now, and what I was discussing in the original exchange above the good stuff we learn to use in my particular community that we refer collectively as Close Range Subject Control or CRSC.

It is built with Law Enforcement in mind, so it's definitely based in the Chicken Wing/Come Along rhetoric.

80% of our protective details result in a hands on action rather in a shooting action, so it's good to know. In direct combat related duties my H2H is my Hands to my Rifle.

However collectively, while different communities, SEAL, SWCC, EOD, MAA, VBSS, PHOENIX RAVEN, or whatever community in the NAVY you or others you may know belong too, we all subscribe to different programs. Then it's broken down to individual preference as we all know mechanics of different sizes and shapes differ a bit.

There's my update for you all, have a good'n! -Billy Parker. www.adaptiveshotokan.yolasite.com