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Old 08-03-2009, 01:21 PM   #1
Ari Gower
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Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

In a month and a half I'll be leaving for Army Basic Combat Training, and I was wondering if there are any aikidoists here who have gone through the same experience.

Did you find aikido helpful? Was a certain technique useful during combatives, or did you find yourself using more mental and verbal aikido?

Any advice/comments welcome!
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:31 PM   #2
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Your in luck! I am an Army Infantry Officer, a Modern Army Combatives instructor, a BJJer, and an Aikdoka all rolled into one.

Well you are about to embark on a very intense and life changing process with a bunch of new stuff thrown at you at once. New words, new traditions, new ways of working with people, fighting with your peers, working with as a member of a team all that.

Of course, the mental and verbal things will come into play for sure. that might be your strongest area of application actually. How to work with a bunch of individuals from different walks of life and get along while working towards a common goal.

that said, don't dwell on it too much and don't try to hard. Remember what Forest Gump said, "I am just doing what you told me to do Drill Sergeant!". But also realize that you are getting paid eventually to take action and make decisions too! But not in the beginning so much! LOL!

As far as combatives. I will let you tell me how much your aikido helped you after you get done with going through it. It is not fair for me to say how and how much it well apply. My gut is that you will find that physically combatives will be an eye opener and you are probably not as good of a martial artist as you thought! At least that was my experiences.

You can also check out my blog for some of my writings on some of this.

The edge you might have is that you might already understand Budo. If you do, and you live by the values of budo, which are very much aligned with Army Values that you will learn...then you will have no real issues in basic. Always do right, always do your best.

Let me know if you have any questions at all.

Good luck! Hooah!

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Old 08-03-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

I had in my dojo an army guy and a marine guy. The marine was a shodan. "He" told me how the mcmac(sp?) used similar techniques but they didn't really apply them properly. So it helped him when they were training with certain types of techniques he had already known.

My army guy was brand new to Aikido. His report was just opposite to that. "He" said that although he had learned some of these holds that they didn't feel like what he was now feeling......

So to answer your question based on what others have told me, depending on your training I think it should be helpful.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:47 PM   #4
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
and you are probably not as good of a martial artist as you thought!
I seem to find that out alot!
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:35 AM   #5
Ari Gower
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Kevin- Thanks! Finding you was a lucky break for me! I'm pretty excited about all this. I will definitely check out your blog.

About combatives- I'm only 5th kyu aikikai, so I'm pretty used to being one of the least-skilled people in the dojo. It won't surprise me at all if I get my behind kicked in combatives. Although, if Demko Shihan's son keeps mixing judo in with the aikido, maybe it will help...

jason- I hope you're right!

Want to know a goofy thing that aikido helped me with? I did the infamous "duckwalk" at my Military Entrance Processing physical easily, and I think it's probably because of all that shiko practice.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:04 AM   #6
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

My brother was in the USMC and when he came home he showed me some stuff and there was some aikido stuff in it. I can't really speak for the Army (even though I know a couple people who went through it). I can tell you that the USMC is a lot more intense then the Army though.

Like I said, I don't know what the Army does, but some things my brother did in the MC:

boxing in a ring
grappling
throws
aikido-like joint locks
kill shots
fighting with weapons (rifles and such)
pummeling sticks (there was a center ring with two chutes leading to it. the chutes were blocked via a curtain. Each person had sticks similar to giant cotton swabs. They both had to run down the chute into the center ring. You didn't know if you would be there first, if your opponent would be there first or if you'd arrive at the same time. Then you just beat the crap out of your opponent)

I am sure there is more, but I don't remember. Good luck.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Army and Marine Corps kinda have a different approach to how they teach combatives.

Nothing wrong with either one, just two different approaches to the same problem and each service is unique and different in size, composition, and all that.

Aikido skills will intially be more useful in MCMAP I believe because they tend to take a "stand up" "weapons based" approach to the whole Ma'ai thing.

In addtion, Richard Strozzi-Heckler, sensei was involved with MCMAP as well so no suprise that alot of it might seem familiar to an aikidoka!

MACP (Army), we take grappling, ground based approach to training initially ala BJJ. Gracies had a big influence in the development of our program. Thus, most Aikidoka will find that they are a "fish out of water" unless you have a strong grappling/BJJ base.

There are pros and cons of both systems and they both have their advocates and critics.

AND to caveat...this is an OVER Simplification of both systems, but I think a somewhat fair assessment going into them.

It is not to say that MCMAP does not address grappling range, and that MACP does not address weapons...they do....YMMV.

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Old 08-04-2009, 02:23 PM   #8
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Quote:
I can tell you that the USMC is a lot more intense then the Army though.
Not necessarily true in all respects. It depends on alot of things. Again, two different approaches to training.

I would agree though that if you take two 18 year olds going through Basic Combatives training that the Marine Corps does put alot more emphasis up front on the "Last of the Mohicans" drill they do as well as what they do in the "fight room" (can't remember what they call it).

For the Marine Corps, MCMAP, is alot about developing warrior psychology up front and fast.

For the Army, it is more about developing the foundational skills for the future.

again...two different approaches.

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Old 08-04-2009, 02:57 PM   #9
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

I just know what my brother did and the two guys I know who went into the Army said basic training was fairly easy. I'm sure part of it depends on your personality, your mentality, your physical fitness level and such. Since I have no experience, I can only go on what they have told me.

Here is an outline of the Marines new MA program

Tan Belt
The tan belt syllabus focuses on the development of the basics of armed and unarmed combat. Students start with the Basic Warrior Stance and break-falls are taught for safety, then move to:
basic punches, uppercuts, and hooks
basic upper-body strikes, including the eye gouge, hammer fists, and elbow strikes
basic lower-body strikes, including kicks, knee strikes, and stomps
bayonet techniques
basic chokes and throws
counters to strikes, chokes, and holds
basic unarmed restraints and armed manipulations
basic knife techniques
basic weapons of opportunity
Students must prove proficiency with 80% of 50 techniques to pass and earn their belt. The tan belt syllabus is part of The Basic School and recruit training curriculum.

Gray Belt
The gray belt syllabus expands on the basic techniques with:
intermediate bayonet techniques
intermediate upper-body strikes including knife-hands (karate chops) and elbow strikes
intermediate lower-body strikes including kicks, knee strikes, and stomps
intermediate chokes and throws
counters to strikes, chokes, and holds
intermediate unarmed restraints and armed manipulations
intermediate knife techniques
basic ground fighting
basic nonlethal baton techniques
intermediate weapons of opportunity

Green Belt
The Green belt technique shifts focus from defensive to offensive techniques with:
intermediate bayonet techniques
muscle gouging
intermediate chokes and throws
counters to strikes
intermediate unarmed manipulation
intermediate ground fighting
intermediate nonlethal baton techniques
advanced weapons of opportunity

Brown Belt
advanced bayonet techniques
advanced ground fighting and chokes
advanced throws
unarmed vs. hand held weapons
firearm retention
firearm disarmament
advanced knife techniques
advanced nonlethal baton techniques

Black Belt 1st Degree
advanced bayonet techniques
advanced chokes, holds, and throws
advanced ground fighting
basic counter firearm techniques
advanced upper-body strikes, including strikes and smashes
advanced knife techniques
pressure points
improvised weapons

Black Belt 2nd Degree
rifle vs. rifle
short weapon vs. rifle
unarmed vs. rifle

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:04 PM   #10
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Oh I would agree that Marine Corps basic Training is much "tougher" than Army Basic as a generalization.

I thought you were referring to the Combatives Programs.

In the long run it doesn't have much to do with the quality of the output though.

I always have to remind people that the Marine Corps in a fraction of the size of the Army and have a more focused mission.

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Old 08-04-2009, 03:07 PM   #11
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

On another note. I think the Marine Corps devotes alot more time in Basic to MCMAP than the army does.

You won't even touch most of that Tan belt stuff in MACP in Basic and AIT. what you will do is concentrate of the basic of BJJ. The mount, guard, side control, and rear mount and escaping from those positions, chokes and a few arm bars.

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Old 08-04-2009, 03:21 PM   #12
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

I am biased towards MACP so I will get that out of the way upfront and this might actually make for a good discussion so I will throw it out there...

One of the criticisms/critiques I have the MCMAP is they concentrate on Technical Proficency of the KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Applications).

While applicable, my experiences in working with Marines and Observing MCMAP training is that at the unit level at least...it kinda becomes a check the block thing for professional development and promotions.

In this model, it is very easy for the "Aliveness" factor to get left out.

This is something we are very sensitive about in MACP. We'd rather someone not be quite as technically proficient at say Kotegaeshi than understanding the Aliveness behind the situation.

Hence why we adopted a grappling based model.

Yea there are some trade offs I think, the biggest risk is the sport focused argument.

Personally I think the sport focused thing is much easier to fix than the lack of understanding of aliveness, kuzushi, and general all around movement and combat pressure.

There are some other issues that arise based on the integration of Weapons.

This is not meant to say that a Soldier will beat a Marine...that is way, way too literal and over simplistic. YMMV depending on the individual and background etc.

However, when you are looking at programs, methdologies, and modalities macroscopically across an institution.

Watching squads of Soldiers and Marines training outside of the school house on their own...it becomes very apparent to me what model I prefer over the other one when it comes to training critical combat hand to hand skills.

Again, I must emphasize...the programs have other objectives than simply learning how to fight....and each of them was adopted based on many, many factors...some good, some not so good.

Each branch of the service adopted what they felt best conveyed and meshed with the culture of the organization.

Converserely There are alot of things I like about MCMAP when you look comprehensively at their program..especially when you deal with the "Total Warrior" on Mind, Body, and Spirit.

There is some really good stuff in there! You can definitely see Heckler sensei's DNA in it.

I personally think that the right approach is a combination of the two programs and that there is a 'Middle ground" in there somewhere.

Hence why I train in Aikido!

However at the end of the day...there are lots of priorities in the Military and little time to do them in, so you have to pick your poison and do those things that you think best.

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Old 08-04-2009, 03:49 PM   #13
Ari Gower
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

I didn't know that there was that much of a difference. I thought that all the branches received pretty much the same training in hand-to-hand combat.

Lots of BJJ elements in MACP you say? Hmmm. New Castle Aikikai also houses a BJJ school. I wonder if they have the time (or if *I* have the time) to show me some of that stuff. Not that it will help my proficiency level any, it'll just help me know what to expect...
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:54 PM   #14
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Hmm... I don't know if I agree with all your opinions, but that is what is great about everyone thinking differently. I actually enjoy hearing everyone's thoughts and seeing things (or attemtping to see) from their perspectives.

By what my brother told me, they have the "aliveness" factor pretty well. He went through this before their new MA program though. His technique was pretty good and it was more then effective.

You do make a point though, one of my old isntructors used to tell me that "Though technique is important, motion alone can take an opponent down."

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:34 AM   #15
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
Hmm... I don't know if I agree with all your opinions, but that is what is great about everyone thinking differently. I actually enjoy hearing everyone's thoughts and seeing things (or attemtping to see) from their perspectives.

By what my brother told me, they have the "aliveness" factor pretty well. He went through this before their new MA program though. His technique was pretty good and it was more then effective.

You do make a point though, one of my old isntructors used to tell me that "Though technique is important, motion alone can take an opponent down."
Not that they don't have ANY aliveness. the Last of the Mohicans is pretty darn alive! LOL!

No, I am dissecting hairs at a very, very microscopic and admittidly biased view.

Aliveness is all realitive. School house for MCMAP I am sure has aliveness.

The problem is, from my observations of training of MCMAP being trained at the unit level ( I teach combatives in a USMC Gym), the design of the program unfortunately does not encourage it on a day to day basis.

What you observe is a NCO standing with a manual as his Marines show the various techniques ala TKD one step style. That is what is pretty much required by the design of their program...hence no Aliveness when you get out in the units.

Again, this is from my limited observations and feedback from Marines that actually train with us at Pentagon Combatives Association.

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Old 08-05-2009, 07:37 AM   #16
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Quote:
Arianne Gower wrote: View Post
I didn't know that there was that much of a difference. I thought that all the branches received pretty much the same training in hand-to-hand combat.

Lots of BJJ elements in MACP you say? Hmmm. New Castle Aikikai also houses a BJJ school. I wonder if they have the time (or if *I* have the time) to show me some of that stuff. Not that it will help my proficiency level any, it'll just help me know what to expect...
It would be worthwhile for them to show you a few things if you have the time to spend with them. In fact, you could do a search for the Combatives FM, download it, and take it to a BJJ guy and he would probably be happy to walk you through the first three drills which is what you will more than likely do in Basic/AIT.

if not, no big deal.

BTW what is your MOS and where are you doing basic?

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Old 08-05-2009, 09:08 AM   #17
Ari Gower
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

35F, so I suppose that martial arts isn't really very important to my job. It's just fun. And I probably won't get any further training in AIT.

I'm going to Fort Jackson in September. All references to "Relaxin' Jackson" aside, I'm sure it will be plenty challenging enough.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:14 AM   #18
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
What you observe is a NCO standing with a manual as his Marines show the various techniques ala TKD one step style. That is what is pretty much required by the design of their program...hence no Aliveness when you get out in the units.
Hhmm... maybe this is a biproduct of their new program? When my brother went through this, it didn't sound like anything like that. Of course, he went through this in 96... so things are bound to change. He did do a bit of their new MA program before he left the corp, but that was in the "early days" of the program.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:39 AM   #19
Michael Hackett
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

"Corps" dammit Ashley, "Corps"! And Semper Fi!

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:40 PM   #20
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Quote:
Arianne Gower wrote: View Post
35F, so I suppose that martial arts isn't really very important to my job. It's just fun. And I probably won't get any further training in AIT.

I'm going to Fort Jackson in September. All references to "Relaxin' Jackson" aside, I'm sure it will be plenty challenging enough.
Ah Intel Analyst! cool. No it won't be very important to your job. but every soldier is a rifleman and an Infantryman. We want to instill warrior ethos in everyone. You will see it for a few "training hours" in Basic and you should see it in AIT. Might not see it much again once you start your "real job" wherever that may be, but just about every post has some guys doing combatives or Jiu Jitsu somewhere on post these days.

Check out our website at www.pentagoncombatives.com. also we have an invite only Facebook page that has alot of info on combatives and we have videos of our program that we do. Send me a PM if you are interested and I will send you the link to join.

Pentagon Combatives is an organization that is working to provide a support network around the MIlitary for those Soldiers, Saliors, Marines and Airmen that want to do combatives/jiu jitsu. We especially like to support "on post" training for military cause many of our junior enlisted simply don't have access or the big bucks to pay a civilian school.

We have a network of folks that train all over the world we can usually hook you up with.

Yea realitively speaking Jackson is not that bad since it is geared towards what we call support or "low density" MOS'. Not like Fort Bennning. That aside it is still basic training.

Hint: Make sure you learn the Rank Structure of the military before you go and what to call everyone...it will help!

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Old 08-05-2009, 02:49 PM   #21
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Quote:
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"Corps" dammit Ashley, "Corps"! And Semper Fi!
What the heck! My s must be wearing a ghillie suitor something, because I swear I put it in there!

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:13 PM   #22
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

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"Corps" dammit Ashley, "Corps"! And Semper Fi!
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:42 PM   #23
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Old school Army here.

IMHO, any training helps.

But remember that training isn't sparring, sparring isn't fighting, and fighting isn't combat. Some same techniques, totally different intent and intensity.

Train hard, keep you head down, watch each others backs, and bring everyone home.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:46 PM   #24
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

Ashley,

Just don't let it happen again or you might find R. Lee Ermey on your front doorstep. That wouldn't be pretty.

Yours in dress blues, tennis shoes, and a light coat of cosmoline,

Michael

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:11 PM   #25
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Re: Aikido in Basic Combat Training?

I met R. Lee Ermey a few years ago. Heck of a nice guy!

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