Mixed Martial Arts competition is what helped push the Marines and Army to create their current combatives programs. This competition is why things like the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and Modern Army Combatives Program exist, just like shooting competition formed our understanding of how to best use firearms effectively. In fact, Field Manual 3–25.150 (Combatives) has an appendix on how to conduct combatives tournaments, specifically addressing their use as effective training. Matt Larsen, the NCOIC of the Army’s Combatives school and credited with writing 3-25.150, was a competitive boxer and black belt martial artist.

Field Manual 3–25.150 (Combatives)
Appendix B – Competitions

A look at the history of combatives systems reveals two fundamental mistakes, both of which are related to competition. The first mistake is having no form of competition, which is generally due to the thought that the techniques are “too dangerous” for competitions. Although many techniques are too dangerous for live competition, many benefits can be gained by competing even in a limited set of techniques. The boxer is a better puncher than the traditional martial artist not because of the mechanics of punching, but because his technique has been refined through competition.

Competitions are useful for military units for many other reasons. The problem of developing competitions is really the problem of how competitions can motivate subordinate unit leaders to emphasize combatives training, which leads to a strong unit program. Competitions also encourage the pursuit of excellence in soldiers.

It’s disappointing when obvious propaganda is wrongly used as “proof” that this competitive lineage isn’t useful.

Obvious Propaganda Is Obvious:

Note: The purveyor of this MCMAP propaganda video has since removed it.

In the now-removed video, individual MMA competitors get dropped in an unfamiliar program/environment and purposely kept in the dark about it, are denied any sort of preliminary instruction (which every Marine student in that program would normally receive), are forced to pre-fatigue themselves by running up to multiple surprise encounters where they are ambushed and outnumbered 2:1 against rested and armed red-tab black-belt MCMAP instructors on their home turf in a prepared ambuscade, and the MMA competitors didn’t win on their very first try. Despite all this, the MMA competitors remain good sports, even complimentary, about the experience and their hosts that deliberately set them up to look bad. And this is used by some as an example of how competition is “detrimental.”

We can point to tactical errors made by the MMA competitors. Yep, they made plenty of them. Winded from running though mud, then ambushed and outnumbered, and having never practiced for these types of scenarios, I’d expect such mistakes on their very first try. I’m certain that I would have made many more mistakes. Plus, lacking the competitive success of these MMA competitors, it would have taken me longer to correct those mistakes as I do not have their proven, developed fundamental skill. The same goes for most other people, including (especially?) the fools cowering behind their critiques of these competitors. Making mistakes during instruction and training is how you learn to not make the same mistakes later.

Are we so foolish to believe every other MCMAP student doesn’t make similar (or worse) mistakes on their first try? Or even the MCMAP instructors themselves? How would things look if the MMA competitors were allowed to come back for a second round after being able to train and practice in the same manner normally afforded students? Even without that, how did they compare against others facing the same situation and not compared against the cadre with a purposely-designed advantage?

Of course, we never see the result of that. Educated inquiry is not the goal of propaganda. At least one guy understands the issue:

So the [MCMAP instructors] trained day after day with weapons are better at using them then the guys that never used them? Who would have picked that… Let them [MMA competitors] practice this a few times first and then see what happens…

Once again, actual field experience (as opposed to propaganda) continues to indicate prior competitive success is beneficial:

I hear this a lot from tactical trainers. Competition will get you killed as you always revert to your training. Or competition creates training scars. Or…

They always come up with something like we always had to do X on the range and officer so-and-so got hurt because he did X when he was put under pressure. My thought is that officer did the bare minimum of training to be able to qualify. When the SHTF he had no clue how to react so yes he went back to his minimal training.

In my 20s I had a job that put me in harms way and a few times a month I had to defend myself. I used to spar a lot to stay in shape and stay sharp. When sparing we did not hit full power, or try to submit people at full power, or do things that would incapacitate our opponent. When the time came for a real fight where there were no rules I had no trouble understanding that there were no rules and to proceeding accordingly.

It was because I spend a lot of time working on my skills that I did not have a problem keeping my head when the SHTF. I didn’t have to think about the skills, just the situation.

Shooting competition is a great way to learn how to run a gun. It has nothing to do with tactics. What it does do is keep your shooting skills honed under pressure so when you do need them you don’t have to think about it.

I sparred to stay in shape and I enjoyed it. I shoot because I enjoy it and to have fun with my friends. It also gives me a reason to train. I train to keep my skills sharp.

Another good point:

[T]his video is a farce until they get the USMC willing to put 1 Marine versus 2 MMA guys just as frequently as they already put 2 Marines versus 1 MMA guy, and having at least 100 more 1v1 fights under many conditions.

Notice also the Marines are rested but the MMA guys are winded after running through sloppy mud… you should put 5 winded Marines against 5 fresh MMA guys for an equivalent comparison. This is not indicative of “MMA vs Marine training.”

What would happen if we dropped the propaganda BS, didn’t artificially tip the odds, and actually compared skills, apples-to-apples? Here’s one example:
MMA competitor vs ten MCMAP Marines:

Marine vs. female Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor

Lest anyone think this Marine let that female BJJ competitor win, the rules in many MMA organizations consider slams in defense of submission attempts and if opponent’s body is above waist level to be an Illegal Action. And she still won. There was no “let” in her victory.

Here’s more:

Russian special forces VS MMA fighter:

Still not enough? How about the aftermath of a real street fight with a MMA competitor:

UFC competitor Nick Diaz gets in fight with four men and doesn’t press charges because “they got the worst of it.”



More still:

MMA Fighter Learns His Fate After Taking on 4 Gang Members and Killing 1


Mixed martial artist Joseph Torrez proved his strength by taking on four gang members who broke into his New Mexico house and ending the life of one of them.

Now, prosecutors are saying that he’s proved his innocence as well. They’re declining to charge him for the death of the criminal he killed.

And another: