Mixed Martial Arts is most often used in the Octagon, right? Wrong. The United States Army began incorporating Mixed Martial Arts into their training program back in the mid 1990’s. To give you some back story, the Army has remained adaptable over the years and they eventually realized their traditional hand to hand combat program was ineffective for what they needed to accomplish in a modern battle field. The Army focuses on team building and strength as well as cohesion throughout the unit and their prerogative is no man is left behind and no man stands alone. Thus, they got rid of their old hand to hand training completely and adopted Brazilian Jui-Jitsu mixed with other Martial Arts. Their new focus was not necessarily to try to directly defeat the enemy in hand to hand combat, but to be able to (regardless of size) control and tire out the enemy to buy time until another member of the team could come to assist. If the enemy was defeated before help arrived that was merely an added benefit. The Army realized punches and kicks can be effective, but due to the diversity of human size and strength many of their soldiers were at a disadvantage. Obviously as any Martial Arts enthusiast knows, BJJ can be a major force to be reckoned with and Royce Gracie proved a skilled BJJ practitioner can take down opponents much larger than themselves. Brazilian Jui-Jitsu leveled the playing field for both men and women. At higher levels in the Modern Army Combatives program they begin to teach striking from Muay Thai, Boxing, San Shou, western Martial Arts and scenario based training. This shift in the Army’s tactics not only built greater team cohesion and effectiveness, but it inspired and bred a whole new culture of MMA within the Army. In this writers humble opinion, introducing Brazilian Jui-Jitsu mixed with the combination of other Martial Arts to the Army was one of the best decisions toward growth, team building, and effectiveness that the Army could have made.
What are your thoughts on this transition? Are there martial arts you feel would be of greater use in the battle field? Those with combat expertise are most welcome to leave their comments!