Military Martial Arts, also known as Combatives, are real life hand-to-hand combat training and techniques.


Larsen recognized in the development of the Modern Army Combatives Program that previous programs had suffered from the same problems. Invariably, the approach had been to pick a small set of what were deemed simple, effective, easy to learn techniques and train them in whatever finite amount of time was granted on a training calendar. This "terminal training" approach, which offered no follow-on training plan other than continued practice of the same limited number of techniques, had failed in the past because it did not provide an avenue or the motivation for continued training.

Instead, his approach was to use the limited amount of institutional training time to lay a foundation for training around the Army. Techniques were put together in a series of simple drills so that through repetition, such as during daily physical training or as a warm-up exercise, soldiers could be expected to not only memorize but master the basic techniques.


Drills were designed to rapidly teach core concepts to students. The first and most widely taught drill is known as Drill One.

Such drills serve many pedagogical functions. They instill basic movement patterns and so internalize the concept of a hierarchy of dominant positions. When used as a part of a warm-up they maximize the use of available training time, allowing instructors to review the details of the basic techniques without taking time away from more advanced training. New techniques can be taught in context, for example a new choke can be practiced every time the appropriate position is reached. They allow students of different levels to work together. An advanced student will not necessarily pass the guard or achieve the mount in the same way as a beginner but the drill still functions as a framework for practice. The drills also allow Combatives training to become a routine part of every soldier's day. During physical training for instance soldiers could be asked to perform the drills interchangeable with callisthenic exercises.

Submission techniques

The most beneficial category of submission technique is the chokehold. Students are taught a variety of different chokes and are taught how a properly applied choke feels so that they know the difference between a choke that they must break or submit to immediately and one that they can safely ignore if they have an opening for a submission hold of their own. A properly applied blood choke will prevent the flow of blood to and from the brain, resulting in unconsciousness in approximately 4–10 seconds. The best known example of this is the rear naked choke.

Less preferred, but also effective techniques are joint locks. Joint locks are not the preferred method for attacking an enemy, because they do not completely disable the enemy. Joints locks do inflict large amounts of pain and can secure compliance from the enemy. This makes them especially useful in controlling opponents during crowd control operations or when someone is being clearly threatening, but the rules of engagement prohibit killing them (if the opponent is easily given to surrender under pain). If compliance cannot be secured or is not desired, the joint lock can be extended fully, breaking the applicable joint. Students are taught the difference between pain that signals a joint lock is in progress and simple discomfort.

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