Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Army Combatives Program Changes Lesson Plan

Army combatives program changes lesson plan

Nov 20, 2009 [COMMENTS BY John Nottingham in BLUE)
Aritcle Source: http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/11/20/30751-army-combatives-program-changes-lesson-plan/

Story Highlights

  • Curriculum adjustment based on lessons learned from Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Army wants more effective fighters in close quarters
  • Combatives School to mix changes with core principles

Photo credit Cheryl Rodewig

Capt. Keenan Ellison places a rear-naked chokehold on Capt. Chris Zagursky before beating him in one of the early bouts in the heavyweight division of a combatives tournament held on Fort Benning, Ga.
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- The U.S. Army Combatives School has adopted a new teaching plan.  [Correction - OLD Lesson Plan]

The Army is revamping the curriculum to take lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan and build more effective close-quarters fighters, said Matt Larsen, the school's director. The goal is to push advanced techniques down to the small-unit level, including basic training.  [Once again, government is slow to react but the Army eventually gets it right.]

"We want Soldiers to be agile, adaptive and competent (so) they can adjust to the realities of the battlefield," Larsen said.

The modifications are based on feedback from across the Army and other factors, he said. More than 900 interviews were conducted with Soldiers who saw hand-to-hand combat in the villages, houses and streets of Iraq or Afghanistan. [NTS Principle 1. Situation/Reality Dictates Response 2.  acquire updated feedback from front line operators as a mastermind group 3. test, test, test then question everything and start over and test again]

Soldiers most often enter small houses and rooms during combat operations, so the Army wants to take the ground-grappling principles taught in combatives and emphasize them from a standing position, Larsen said.
[Reference any of my cautions on video in the 80's and 90's and you will see me making this point again and again.  Training solutions and strategy must be engineered to be A. Mission Specific B. Highly adaptable C. Testable and duplicable... ]

"In the field, the fight is always over weapons and how to maintain control of them," he said. "That will be taught all the way down to basic training."  [Training should be integrative - not compartmentalized so that the operator's training has continuity.]

Knee strikes, clinch drills, fighting with weapons and combat equipment, and pushing terror suspects against the wall are among the upper-echelon combatives techniques Soldiers will now be exposed to at lower unit levels, Larsen said.

Larsen said the school will stick with the four pillars - instruction based on universal, foundational, motivational and tactical attributes - that allowed the program to thrive. But Soldiers often struggled to retain knowledge gained in unit combatives training, so adjustments were needed.  [Notice the missing link that we provide?  Not to seem cocky or say "I told you so" but...Wake up Army - the answers are here.]

Levels 1 and 2 are being changed to the basic and tactical combatives courses, while the basic and tactical combatives instructor courses replace Levels 3 and 4. Under the new construct, the number of training hours at each tier remains the same - 40 in basic, 80 for tactical and 160 each within both instructor phases.

The school will begin implementing the new methods in the next month. [Hooray USA!]

"Combatives is an integral part of what we do as Soldiers," Larsen said. "You can't effectively train in close-quarters combat without combatives. You're going to need it any place you can be hands-on with potential enemies."

He said more than 57,000 troops have graduated from the Army Combatives School since its inception in 2002 - including 50,374 (Level 1), 5,255 (Level 2), 1,408 (Level 3) and 564 (Level 4).

Briant Wells Fieldhouse on Fort Benning, Ga., home of the U.S. Army Combatives School, has extended its hours to 6 to 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for Soldiers, civilians and family members who want to do combatives training on their own time.  [AIRBORNE!]
Aritcle Source: http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/11/20/30751-army-combatives-program-changes-lesson-plan/
Footnote: Top tier trainers have been making the case that a grappling/BJJ platform should be in question as the base for military hand to hand - hand to weapon combatives training.  As one of my old Army SF instructors said, "Just because something is popular doesn't make it right Nottingham".  

The Gracie BJJ family did a great thing with the UFC, however, we must be put the training, strategy, techniques and fundamental concepts into context.  I'm glad to see SSG Matt Larson and the Army doing great things.  I salute his efforts and applaud his implementing a modern army combatives program.  Perhaps one day my phone will ring and he will be ready to consider some of our strategies and research methods.  I make this statement with a healthy sense of humility and the full knowledge and confidence of our research, systems and years of hard work.  In the end, we're on the same team and the goal is to defend freedom and save our soldier's lives.  De oppresso liber.
THE NTS CHALLENGE: Our offer stands to take two like candidates, put one through our training and one with anyone else. Then, have an objective third party test the results from a live, full-speed, full-contact scenario.  We'll stake our reputation on the results. 


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