Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
135 pound Push press, 7 reps
135 pound Overhead squat, 10 reps
15 GHD Sit-ups

WOD Demo with Laurie Galassi and Jussi Mutikainen – video [wmv] [mov](Courtesy of CrossFit.com)






13 Year Old Girl Becomes Powerlifting World Record Holder   The article fails to mention and the video mentions very, very quickly, that the gym where the 13 year old girl, Abbey Watson, trains in is a CrossFit affiliate: DEFY.  Abbey's father brought her to try a CrossFit workout and she was hooked from that moment.  She trains three times a week before school.—George 


My Vote For Who Should Teach SEAL Team 6 How To Fight

By George Demetriou

As a student of human performance and as a patriotic American I can't help but be a fan of the military Special Operations community, specifically the Special Mission Units.  When the subject of best athletes comes up I always give the operators of the Naval Special warfare community and the Army's Special Operations community my vote.  They have to perform like professional athletes under the stress of combat.  Winning is life and losing is death.  Naturally, my respect for "operators" is tremendous. 

The Times article, Who Teaches SEAL Team 6 How To Fight?, doesn't answer the question, but reports that the Navy is soliciting combatives instructors with a boxing background.  Nobody asked me, but I'm going to offer my opinion.

First, let me get this out of the way early, the Navy should hire Craig Douglas, the retired narcotics detective better known as SouthNarc in the officer survival/combatives community.  Of all the trainers I have come across–and that's a lot–Craig has the most practical instruction for extreme close quarters combat.  Craig is an experienced martial artist and has survived very real, extremely close quarters, life and death events.  The nature of his work took Craig to very close proximity to very bad people.  He "gets it".  Craig understands extreme violence at extremely close range.  And he studies it and trains, in realistic fashion, how to win during these conditions.  Craig has put together, for lack of a better word, a system that includes strikes, blocks, stand-up grappling(from Greco-Roman wrestling), ground grappling(from Brazilian Jiujitsu), striking(from boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing), edged weapon craft(from Pekiti-Tirsia Kali) as well the closest quarter pistol craft I've ever seen or trained.

Why would the SEALs want to be better boxers?  Boxing is simple (don't confuse this with easy) and the boxers have the best strikes. Period!  Boxers are the best at not only punching, but at using footwork to avoid and counterstrike.  There are only 4 strikes to learn: the jab, cross, hook and uppercut.  The best feature of learning boxing is it's realstic in terms of hitting a live, moving person that's trying to hit you.  Something that old-style combatives is sorely missing.  Boxing is effective as a stand-up fighting system.

There are a few problems, for the special operations community, associated with boxing:  It's limited to striking and making a fist is required.  There is no grappling in boxing so no grappling is taught.  The problem with this is when two boxers get into grappling range in the ring the referee breaks them up and makes them start again.  Operators won't be afforded this rule.  They require a combative system that blends all ranges of combat and all options, not just the striking range. 

Boxers wrap their hands to box.  This protects their hands from being broken.  Operators cannot wrap their hands.  Mike Tyson broke his hand punching Mitch Green in the head during a street fight in New York.  If Mike Tyson can break his unwrapped hand in a real fight so can an operator.  A broken hand may not be a big deal for most, but for someone responsible for handling other equipment that includes knives, pistols, rifles, breaching tools, radios and other implements of death and destruction, have a broken hand isn't desirable.  

I imagine operators have to consider the following:

Training time:  Much of their training time will be used up by more mission critical subjects, not combatives.  Therefore they need tactics that are easily learned and retained.

Equipment:  Operators have to be able to fight with the battledress they wear and the equipment that they carry.  There are elements of Brazilian Jiujitsu that I would definitely include but an operators equipment will nullify much of what makes Brazilian Jiujitsu effective.  Imagine grappling from your back with 70 pounds of gear strapped to you.  Fancy footwork and intricate maneuvering probably won't be posssible.  Techniques that give the enemy combatant easy access to your equipment have to be eliminated.  The clinch (plum) from Muay Thai boxing is quite effective, but it allows access to whatever equipment an operator wears around his waist or his thigh holster.  The Guillotine choke from Brazilian Jiujitsu has the same problem.

The Environment:  From reading about special operations and speaking to operators I have learned that the environmental conditions almost never include a large open area with a padded floor.  The environment usually involves conditions most people would not fight in if they had a choice.  Real world battle takes place in thick jungle, thick woods, small rooms, cluttered rooms, wet ground, uneven ground, the aisles of airplanes, buses and subways, in the dark, on roof tops, in alleys, on stairs, in cars, in between cars, in houses, in apartments, on ships, in schools, in commercial buildings and other places that are not conducive to the sport of fighting.

So what do operators need for solid combatives training?  Boxing type defensive work that includes slipping and strikes modified to use the palm-heel of the hand instead of the knuckles.  A straight punch to the body with a fist is acceptable.  Palm strikes straight up the middle to the body aren't as effective.  Strikes to the head/face of an enemy combatant using the palm-heel of the hand will protect the hand from being broken.  This has to be trained very well since most will instinctively strike with a poorly made fist.  In the battle of skull versus knuckles the skull will win almost every time.  Yes, there is a jab, straight, hook and uppercut version of the palm strike and the effect is just as good, if not better, than the fist strikes.

Elements of Greco-Roman wrestling.  There is no better stand-up grappling than the techniques of Greco-Roman wrestling.  "Greco" allows excellent upper body control if someone grabs you or you have to grab somebody.

Elements of Brazilian Jiujitsu.  The stand-up trips and break holds are excellent.  Learning to fight while on the ground is vital and there is no better method.  You don't want to go to ground, but if an operator finds himself there it's best to know the most effective system that allows one to get back to his feet.  The best factors an operator can get from BJJ is learning positional advantage, learning the most effective chokes and the experience of "live" grappling which is an excellent way to condition for a real fight.  Operators will have to modify their stand-up and ground grappling to include working with a weapon in hand and grappling while an enemy combatant is armed.  This will ensure transitioning to their own weapons is smooth and "second nature".  As previously stated, some techniques will have to be modified because of equipment considerations.

Edged weapon, impact weapon and close quarters firearm tactics.  Whatever weapons an operator carries must be practiced with along with hand to hand combatives.  The tactics cannot be thought of as being separate disciplines.  The operator is the weapon, everything else is a tool.

Close quarters has to be the emphasis.  What works in close will also work where there is ample space.  The opposite is not true.  If a technique doesn't work in an elevator, the aisle of a plane, a subway platform, a cluttered apartment, on the deck of a ship or inside a compact car it's probably not practical for any member of the military or law enforcement.

Staying conscious and staying mobile must be emphasized.  Getting knocked out is bad business.  Being immobilized is almost as bad.  In the real world bad guys bring friends.  Operators need to keep in mind that any situation can turn into a multiple adversary event very quickly.  Being tied up with one combatant or staying on the ground for any length of time makes one an easy target.

Training has to be done with what Craig Douglas refers to as "pressure".  Protective equipment has to be worn and the operators need to "go at it" as realistically as possible.  There is no other way to make the combatives battle-ready.  There is no other way to see what actually works and what doesn't.

Good luck to whoever gets the contract with the Navy.  I can't think of a higher honor than taking part in the training of America's elite operators!????

5 Responses

  1. George

    The thought crossed my mind Lou!
    The Naval Special Warfare community has an interesting history when it comes to the instructors they have contracted for their combatives program.
    The word “interesting” doesn’t necessarily mean good, qualified, properly vetted or skilled, by the way.

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