Most people think Special Forces , Seals, Rangers and Delta are all highly trained martial artists. After all isn't that what we see on TV? The truth is; yes these men are highly trained individuals; however, not all of them are martial artsits. There is some truth to them having extensive hand to hand combat training. Their training is extensive compared to the average person in the military not the average martial artist who has spent 10 or more years in the gym or Dojo. So after hearin all this what makes our most elite so effective when it comes to unarmed combat? I am probably about to ruffle some feathers, but I am definitely going to address what I have seen in my experience that makes America's best, America's best.
Let us first note that the average soldier gets about 18 hours of hand to hand in basic training. They get a little more if they are in the Infantry or Marines. In the Army you get about 18 more hours if you go to Ranger School and 36 hours in the Special forces Qualification Course. Maybe if they go to S.E.R.E. they will reveive another 12 to 18 hours. Unless you are in a Special Operations unit the unit only does hand to hand, maybe once a quarter. When you think about the numbers. The average Karate blackbelt has way more training and experience than a Military person or in many cases even Special Ops. Most of the hand to hand training even in Special Operations is learned on their own.
Now let's look at the average Special Forces Soldier. He is between the ages of 24 to 37. He is an extreme type "A" personality. He is self motivated and self driven. He is an individual who can work on a team. More than likely he wrestled in high school or competed in some type of sport. Studies have shown wrestling to be a common sport that was competed in in high school. He keeps himself highly physically fit and is typically not just aggressive but has low tolerance for fakeness in anything. Most operators think logically and practically they are the kinds of guys that have to see to believe.
Just for the sake of this article I would now like to examine the average martial arts guru. He ranges in ages of 24 - 50. He typically has a black belt of 2nd Dan or higher in one or more martial arts. He has traveled to seminars frequently to better himself. He is constantly striving to find the most effective martial arts techniques there are. He holds reverance for his art and sensei or shidosi/ sifu/Master. He is typically self motivated and driven. He may or may not be a type "A" personality. He may or may not have competed in any sports. Unfortunately he thinks he is practical, logical and efficient, but this is not always the case because he constantly holds his arts foremost in his mind. He is very similar to the Special Forces guy in that he always relies on his training. Unfortunately The Special Forces Soldier is always thinking about survival. The Martial Arts Guru is thinking about things like "Honorable warrior codes only found in the martial arts", or "developing his Chi" or "The fancy move that he pulled off while training with his lower ranking students." My favorites are the guys who are still stuck in the time of Samurai and Shogun! In general these "Martial arts gurus; over think!
Special Ops guys have a tendancy to simply react. They are not philosophical, their code of honor is a little different; it is sim[ple. They do not fight for honor they do it because it is their job, they do it because it is their life. They fight only to survive. They are taught to survive by all means. When you are taught this and trained to do this and live this; then this is what you do. The average Military guy and especially Special Ops guy does not have the time to be in the Dojo for hour after hour. Fighting may not typically be his hobby as it is most "Martial Arts guru's". Therefor the techniques that he does learn must be simple and no B.S. They don't have years to learn something that their life may depend on. They need the K.I.S.S. rule to always apply.
From my experience on a team and as the team Hand to Hand instructor I have learned alot from bith the team guys and the typical "Dojo Master". We would often look for new material to train in; so we would contract different Martial Arts instructors to come in a few hours a month to train us. Every one of these guys had the "new way based off the ancient art of WHAT EVER." For the most part we would tolerate these clowns and take what we could use. We were never rude or disrespectful; but in our heads these guys were clowns. One "Master" tried to teach us sword fighting. I had to respectfully and tactically discourage him from it. The problem with these "Masters" is that they can't step outside the "Mystical Martial Arts world" to see brutal violent and simple reality. They often would refuse to adapt techniques to our equipment and the reality that we are typically fatigued, malnourished and in a bad state if we are using hand to hand.
These guys often misunderstood the mentality of what they were getting into with us. The difference between Special Ops guys and "Kung Pow Masters" is that they spend their lives pretending and practicing for an imaginary unrealistic life and death scenario that may never happen. They practice with swords and nunchukus hoping that they can one day thwart the evil ninja assailant who attempts to attack them. The operator trains daily for a life and death scenario that is sure to happen. The operator trains with knives, sticks , pens, neck ties, guns, and tazers for the terrorist they may encounter while serving on the front lines or at an embassy abroad.
I write this article of course sightly exaggerating the typical Martial artsist profile; only to drive home a point. What I beleive the difference is that makes the Special Ops guy effective is both his choice of simple brutally efficient techniques and his intent and mentality. It is after all the Mind that motivates the body. In closing We can dispense of the average Sec Ops guy being a Jackie Chan equivallent stereo type; and I would like to say that not all Martial artists are like the stereo type I just casted. I simply used the average I have come into contact with. I after all am a martial artist and I know of countless others who are extremely practical and in the now. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and I hope that my experience can help you in some way.
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