Tactical Combatives – Learning Tools for Today’s War

One student demonstrates how to set up for a triangle choke.

One student demonstrates how to set up for a triangle choke.

By: Sgt. 1st Class Kelli M. Harr

The Modern Army Combatives Program has been around for years, although recent restructuring and modernization has resulted in substantial increase in its popularity. MACP is broken down into two main courses: Basic Combatives Course (formerly Level I) and the Tactical Combatives Course (formerly Level II). Instructor courses (formerly Levels III & IV) are available for those who want to further increase their combatives knowledge and teach the first two levels.

Instructor Sgt. First Class Troy Nuckles describes MACP like learning a new language relating words to moves or attacks and forming sentences to an attack series. “A Level I Soldier learns the basic, fundamental words and Level II Soldiers learn more words and can begin to form sentences,” he said. “Then Soldiers can get on a mat and have conversations with each other. As a Soldier continues through Level III & IV (instructor courses), their conversations will become more in-depth.”

Last month a Tactical Combatives Course (TCC) was held at Camp Dodge, Iowa by the 103rd ESC. The class was comprised of students and instructors from the basic class held at the same location last August. Ten students participated in the class and were taught by instructors, SFC Nuckles, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Sample and Staff Sgt. Shawn Sherman.

“The majority of our students in the TCC course also went through our Basic course,” said Staff Sgt. Sample. “There is a significant improvement in their attitudes and techniques just from last summer until now.”

TCC isn’t for the weak and it’s sure not for the timid. This is an in-your-face course with more hands on experience than you could hope for. Students spend a grueling 80 hours learning new technique and building on those learned in the first course. Students become skilled at ground grappling, clinch fighting and close quarter combat instruction and development. They learn moves such as the paper cutter choke, nut cracker choke and hip throw. Sweeps and escape moves are also taught.

Most of the students felt the sweep techniques were the most difficult to learn while a few had trouble learning the hip throw.

“The sweeps were the hardest to learn because they had more steps,” said Sgt. First Class Rick Finger, a graduate of the August 2010 Basic Combatives Course.

According to SFC Nuckles, the timing aspect involved with learning sweeps makes it much harder to grasp. “Students must understand how to sense if their partner is off balance and then how to force their opponent to become off balance,” said SFC Nuckles. “Both make the move that much tougher to learn.”

Staff Sgt. Sample is a Level IV qualified instructor and competes in MMA fighting outside of the military. Not only does he have supreme knowledge of the regulation and technical steps to teaching combatives but also explains the philosophy behind it to students. The instructors believe understanding both sides gives students a deeper comprehension to what they’re learning.

“Techniques deemed unnecessary or as combat impractical have been replaced by training found to be more effective by those who have put them into use on the battlefield,” noted Staff Sgt. Sample.  “This methodology of combat focused training and program adaptability has been the driving force of the success and victories achieved with USAC Midwest.”

MACP is essential in the overall development of today’s Soldiers. In TCC, students progress from ground moves into stand up fighting. According to the instructors, 80% of street fights will go to the ground and end there but 100% start standing up.

Instructor Staff Sgt. Sherman believes MACP is important for Soldiers to learn so they understand the battlefield as it stands today. “There is no enemy line. The enemy is all around us,” he said. “All Soldiers need to be armed with the tools to engage and destroy the enemy on today’s modern battlefield. If we teach ALL Soldiers the techniques to wage war we have a higher potential for success.”

More information and pictures can be found on the USAC Midwest Facebook page created by the instructors. Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/USAC-Midwest/271768449556157


One Response to “Tactical Combatives – Learning Tools for Today’s War”

  1. Troy Says:


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