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Think Mixed Martial Arts is only used in the Octagon? Think again!


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!

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Sean Culver
Sean’s fascination with Martial Arts began when he was a child going to karate classes in a gym at a local school in Lake Forest, CA. Although his training was cut short, his passion was not. Over the years he became active in competitive wrestling where he took first place in almost all tournaments he competed in. Upon graduating High School Sean felt a higher calling to serve in the military, more specifically, the Army Airborne Infantry. During his time in service he trained in Modern Army Combatives, which is based largely on Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, as well as extensive training on military weapons and tactics. Due to his mental and physical prowess he was sent to intensive training for hand to hand combat tactics where he honed his skills for combat in full battle attire. Having done over two years of combat time in Afghanistan, Sean can bring to light a new side of fighting and tactics that he has not only experienced first hand, but has employed while being in direct contact with the enemy. In addition to Modern Army Combatives, Sean has also trained in Muay Thai, Boxing, and Wing Chun. With as much as Sean loves the Martial Arts, it was only natural that competitive fighting and MMA would draw him into its world of high class fighters.