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Martial Arts/CQC Trg in CAF (split fm Probe of WPG soldier's suicide)

Haggis

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Brihard said:
Another thought, something that comes out of the professional world I’ve found myself in- training for a fight, especially a ground fight, is a good way to build a survivor/victor’s mentality.

But ground fighting is not "cool".  You never saw Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris or JVD in a ground fight on film.  In my organization we know and train that most fights are going to end up on the ground and that you may not always be on top.  So, IMO, it's good to see grappling growing strength in the CAF.
 

daftandbarmy

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Navy_Pete said:
Combat effectiveness aside, martial arts and contact sports are an awesome way to build real team spirit and esprit du corps. One thing working with someone, but totally different when you know they'll drop the proverbial gloves and have your back. Played rugby before joining, and there were people that you didn't even like but would jump into it because they were on your side. In my personal experience, something like an extended work ups for a ship's company tends to develop kind of the same thing for when you're ashore, but those are complex, expensive exercises that cost millions.  Why not keep it simple with something like martial arts training, that only needs the pers and some knowledgeable instructor?

Similarly, with some a good coach that has a positive attitude, have seen the same thing develop very quickly in a boxing club. Punching stuff was good exercise and great for blowing off steam, but also in the right atmosphere, great for encouraging others and building up a lot of positive vibes while working hard. Discipline and trust are both key elements in safely training in contact, so seems like a natural fit for an organization that needs people to be fit and work together in teams.

I think sometimes we get so wrapped up as an organization in processes and SOPs that we lose sight of the fact that we ask people to spend a bunch of time working/living cheek to jowl doing unpleasant stuff. That's where time spent doing small stuff like section breakfasts or whatever pay off. Needing the CQC qual seems like needless CYA when there are martial arts places in pretty much every small town. Surely with the level of responsibility COs have, they can exercise a bit of oversight and set up some kind of 'unit PT' sessions doing boxing, kickboxing, whatever. Pretty **** simple to show people how to do some basic punches and kicks and run them through some drills hitting the pads, and you can do lots of stuff without anyone actually getting hit in the head.

Devil's advocate: But what about the concussions?

Happens alot with full contact sports (oh yes it does!), and the consequences aren't appealing, either physically, mentally or politically.
 

Navy_Pete

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Sure, concussions happen, but you can do a lot of grappling, bag exercises etc without ever hitting anyone in the head. Plus we let folks play hockey and football, and easy enough to wreck knees or whatever doing non contact sports, so we already accept a certain level of risk for people participating in sports.

Even outside the army troops doing CQC training though, think there are a lot of benefits to things like boxing clubs and other types of PT that involve hitting the bags, as there is a huge spectrum between basic boxing/kicking drills and hand to hand fighting that we could do, with a lot of benefits other than just knowing how to handle yourself in a scrap.

If things go terribly wrong and you do end up fighting for your life, probably a bad time to be the first time to be punched in the face though. My $0.02, but should be within a CO's wheelhouse to approve some kind of martial arts training session for the units without having someone with the official qual if it's not feasible to get it and there is interest. If there is a qual for conducting the training, assuming that has built in guidelines. Not really rocket science to apply those, and it probably is based on good MA training practices anyway. The MA schools don't make money if their students keep getting broken or discouraged, and a good one will focus on discipline, self control and respect for the other students. I'm sure there are cobra kais out there, but the few different boxing/kickboxing and TKD clubs I've been to over the years have been the exact opposite, and would have kicked you out for those kind of shenanigans.
 

Blackadder1916

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daftandbarmy said:
Devil's advocate: But what about the concussions?

Happens alot with full contact sports (oh yes it does!), and the consequences aren't appealing, either physically, mentally or politically.

I wasn't able to find any CF specific studies of injury rates due to military combative sports/training and there were few such from the US military (which surprised me as I thought it would be fertile ground for study).

One report from the May 2014 Medical Surveilance Monthly Report (MSMR)
Injuries associated with combat sports, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010-2013.
Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC).

Abstract

The practice of combat sports creates a potential for training- and sports-related injuries among military members. During the 4-year surveillance period, there were 12,108 cases of injuries associated with combat sports among active component service members; the overall incidence rate was 21.0 per 10,000 person-years (p-yrs). The rates were higher among service members who were male, Hispanic, in the youngest age groups, in the Army, junior enlisted, and in combat-specific occupations. The rate among recruit/ trainees (779.4 per 10,000 p-yrs) was more than 165 times the rate among all other active component service members (non-recruits) (4.7 per 10,000 p-yrs). Sprains, strains, and contusions accounted for more than one-half of the primary (first-listed) diagnoses associated with combat sports cases. More serious conditions such as concussions/head injuries and skull/face fractures/intracranial injuries were reported among 3.9% and 2.1% of all cases and were more common among boxing-related cases. Hand/wrist fractures were also common among boxing cases. Wrestling had comparatively greater proportions of dislocations and open wounds. Although the combat sport training provides many physical and mental benefits to the individual, safety practices should be enforced to reduce the most frequent and serious injuries.
The full report can be searched for (May 2014 report) and found for PDF download at https://health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Combat-Support/Armed-Forces-Health-Surveillance-Branch/Reports-and-Publications/Medical-Surveillance-Monthly-Report

I could cherry pick and post snippets of data in hopes of a WTF/OMG reaction but there is nothing so damning (or congratulatory) that makes it worthwhile so I'll  use the report's "editorial comment".  The one thing about the report that disappointed me was no mention of lost time, hospitalization days or category changes resulting from such injuries. (As a former staff officer in the SurgGen branch that was always the bottom line when studying illness and injury trends)

Editorial Comment

Service members are at risk for musculoskeletal injuries due to the physical nature of their training, occupations, and deployments.  Specific injuries associated with combat sports are discussed in this report.  This report likely underestimates the true number of injuries associated with combat sports and does not distinguish between injuries occurring during training, competition, or while on or off duty. The surveillance case definition relied on E-codes and STANAG codes. E-codes are supplementary codes that are not required and their use depends on the detail of notes taken by the clinician and their interpretation by the coder. STANAG codes are used exclusively by the military health system for hospitalizations; they are also not required. Therefore, many injuries that may have been the direct result of combat sports may not have been captured by this report.

Despite the limitations of the codes used to ascertain all cases, valuable surveillance information can be gleaned from the cases in which the codes were documented. Cases were more common among younger males in the Army and service members in combat-specific occupations. The incidence rate among recruits was also dramatically higher compared to non-recruits. These findings are not surprising given the increase in physical training during the recruit period and the extensive training continually performed by combat-specific occupations in all services.

A majority of the primary diagnoses associated with combat sports injuries were relatively minor (i.e., sprains/strains and contusions). However, combat-related sports, particularly boxing, do carry a risk of severe injuries (e.g., head injuries, fractures, and dislocations), which can cause significant morbidity or long-term sequelae (e.g., hospitalizations, surgical intervention), loss of duty time, and decreased operational effectiveness. 

Combat-related sports, specifically hand-to-hand combat training, encourage confidence, mental discipline, and physical fighting skills that service members may need in battlefield situations. However, there are costs inherent to learning and enhancing hand-to-hand combat skills and cultivating the fighting spirit essential to the warrior ethos. Leaders, developers, and instructors of hand-to-hand combat training programs should identify preventable threats to the health and safety of participants; in particular, they should select and enforce practices and equipment to reduce the most frequent and serious injuries. Although the training provides many physical and mental benefits to the individual, it should be conducted in as safe a manner as possible.

For those who look at the full MSMR, it may amuse you to see the above study followed by a chart titled "Surveillance Snapshot: Cauliflower Ear, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004–2013".  You can extrapolate that the increase of incidence somewhat correlates to the introduction of military combative programmes.


And in this study published in Military Medicine it is looked at from the perspectives of injuries that occurred during organized tournaments.

https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/183/9-10/e378/4840555
Injuries Sustained During Modern Army Combatives Tournaments.

INTRODUCTION:

Injuries sustained during Modern Army Combatives (MAC) tournaments can result in variable recovery time for involved competitors and unpredictable loss of readiness for military units. A paucity of MAC data is available to guide military medical providers and unit commanders on expected injuries or loss of readiness. Literature reviewing mixed martial arts competitions offers some insight but demonstrates variation in fight outcomes resulting in injuries ranging from 8.5% to 70% and it is difficult to effectively extrapolate such data to predict MAC tournament injuries.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

This study retrospectively reviews pre- and post-competition medical records from two MAC tournaments held at Fort Hood in 2014 and 2015 to provide descriptive clinical information on injury patterns to practitioners and military commanders.

RESULTS:

Records from a total of 195 competitors with a mean age of 24.4 yr were analyzed with a total of 67 injuries, 29 of which resulted in duty limitations (14.8% of participants). Competitors participating in less-restrictive mixed martial arts style fighting (Advanced MAC) were 4.3 times more likely to sustain an injury than those limited to upper body grappling events (95% confidence interval 2.30-8.16). Military Acute Concussion Evaluations were reliably recorded both pre- and post-competition in 44% of total participants with no significant statistical difference between pre- and post-tournament evaluations. Duty profile limitations of injured competitors averaged 1 mo in duration.

CONCLUSIONS:

MAC tournaments result in injury rates comparable with other combative sports and military training courses.

The discussion in that study may be more interesting (well, maybe at least for those of us who sometimes geek out on that sort of thing), but one comment that particularly caught my attention was  "In the two MAC tournaments, 34.4% of competitors sustained injuries and 14.8% of competitors sustained injuries leading to occupational duty limitations.". 
 

ballz

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daftandbarmy said:
Devil's advocate: But what about the concussions?

Happens alot with full contact sports (oh yes it does!), and the consequences aren't appealing, either physically, mentally or politically.

That argument goes out the window when you've got Taekowndo as a national CAF sport, including sending a team to CISM every year, when it's probably the highest rate of concussions among any sport out there (makes sense... kicks to the head are the most points and end up being the main goal of the each competitor). Let's be serious, nothing about our current set-up is out of any actual thought or competence...

I don't even know how there are people in the CAF against martial arts. If we're afraid to let soldiers do stuff that we let our 5 and 10 year old kids do, what fucking good are we?

Navy_Pete said:
Sure, concussions happen, but you can do a lot of grappling, bag exercises etc without ever hitting anyone in the head.

We actually need to separate what is martial arts and what is just exercising. If you are hitting heavy bags / focus mitts / etc. but are not using "aliveness" (a principle of effective martial arts training), you are not training in martial arts.... you are just exercising.
 

daftandbarmy

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ballz said:
That argument goes out the window when you've got Taekowndo as a national CAF sport

So that exposes a few dozen people a year to concussions. What happens when you integrate 'punching each other in the head' into a CAF wide training program, and then expose thousands of people to concussions every year as part of a training requirement?

In the Parachute Regiment we did 'milling'. Everyone had to pass it or they'd get binned from selection. The risk of concussions, broken noses, etc etc has been a well acknowledged risk of the selection process since WW2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpAHByFgBG4

(As you can probably tell, I did it before we had to wear head gear ;) ).

In Canada, now, I'm pretty sure that any large scale martial arts training program would be shut down pretty fast once the injury claims started flowing in....







 

ballz

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daftandbarmy said:
In the Parachute Regiment we did 'milling'. Everyone had to pass it or they'd get binned from selection. The risk of concussions, broken noses, etc etc has been a well acknowledged risk of the selection process since WW2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpAHByFgBG4

That right there is exactly why we need proper martial arts. That isn't two people training to fight, that's pure idiocy. Much like our current CQC program.

I won't say where in public, but I recently watched a CQCB course, run by CQCIs.... you have the blind leading the blind, and zero institutional direction/oversight, which had manifested into what was really just hazing new guys that hadn't even reached OFP yet.  It had an insanely high rate of concussions and other injuries. We're okay with this... yet not actual martial arts, in which injury rates are on par with any other sport?

What you are depicting in that video is not indicative of what martial arts training is.

daftandbarmy said:
So that exposes a few dozen people a year to concussions. What happens when you integrate 'punching each other in the head' into a CAF wide training program, and then expose thousands of people to concussions every year as part of a training requirement?

In Canada, now, I'm pretty sure that any large scale martial arts training program would be shut down pretty fast once the injury claims started flowing in....

That assumes that martial arts training has a high rate of injury (albeit concussions or other)... which I'm not sure there is any good data to support. Taekwondo does (at least... during the actual competition), but I have never advocated for it. It's sport form has turned it into a very ineffective martial art.

The problem with trying to measure any of this is that, as alluded to above with MAC, the rates of injuries *might* be high in competition... but the nature of these activities is you compete a limited times a year. So for the MAC example, 14.8% of competitors had an injury that led to some kind of work limitation... which would have been all kinds of owies such as jammed fingers and toes, twisted ankle, etc.

What about the injury rate over the duration of a of five years, including training and competition? You obviously don't have a 14.8% injury rate every training session, or else you'd have nobody very quickly... I've been training for a long time, I rarely see an injury in practice, and serious martial artists are some of the healthiest people out there.

daftandbarmy said:
In Canada, now, I'm pretty sure that any large scale martial arts training program would be shut down pretty fast once the injury claims started flowing in....

They said that about combatives grappling and in 5-6 years there has been almost no injuries and now PSP is taking it up as a CAF sport.
 

daftandbarmy

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ballz said:
That right there is exactly why we need proper martial arts. That isn't two people training to fight, that's pure idiocy.

I have to agree. This isn't martial arts training, it's weeding out people who can't take a few hits in the face and keep moving forward.

But any martial arts training can degenerate into 'milling', and worse, without the proper oversight. Given the difficulties we have staffing the FORCE tests with trained people right now..... 
 

ballz

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daftandbarmy said:
But any martial arts training can degenerate into 'milling', and worse, without the proper oversight. Given the difficulties we have staffing the FORCE tests with trained people right now.....

I agree, as noted in my story about the CQCB course... which was way worse than milling to be honest.

We need to change our approach, we can't be experts everything and we don't have to be shitty at everything. We waste human resources because we don't know how to manage resources (like money and time). For example, wasting human resources by running Basic First Aid, Basic Mountain Ops, Driver wheel, air brakes, etc.... all courses that we can pay a civilian expert to run for much less, as they have nothing about them that necessitates having them run by the CAF.

Which is why when I started a program on base, I didn't go running around looking for CQCIs who 1. might not have the expertise 2. might not have the time 3. might be posted out next month. I hired professionals to run it and it was dirt cheap and didn't eat up our leadership's constrained resource of time.
 

Singh47

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injury-rates.png

injury-Rates.gif



https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/35/5/308

Not a lot of per 1000 hours stuff for martial arts.

Around 10 injuries per 1000 participants per year is around the average-ish for that muay thai study.

Essentially, if we're running hard we're probably more at risk of injury vs martial arts.

We need to stop viewing injuries as a freak occurrence and instead as a regular part of training.

The things the guys like to do: lift and fight are in fact, statistically, among the safest things they can be doing.
 

daftandbarmy

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Singh47 said:
injury-rates.png

injury-Rates.gif



https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/35/5/308

Not a lot of per 1000 hours stuff for martial arts.

Around 10 injuries per 1000 participants per year is around the average-ish for that muay thai study.

Essentially, if we're running hard we're probably more at risk of injury vs martial arts.

We need to stop viewing injuries as a freak occurrence and instead as a regular part of training.

The things the guys like to do: lift and fight are in fact, statistically, among the safest things they can be doing.

Not to start a 'my stats are better than your stats' thing, but this Kingston study has some alarming findings:

"The popularity of martial arts has flourished over the past fifteen years [2]. Consequently, the number of injuries attributed to martial arts has also escalated [3]. Sport injuries result from acute trauma or repetitive stress associated with participation in athletic activities and can range from acute trauma to long-term disabilities [4]. Injuries in martial arts are common [5], especially amongst young adults [6], and thus may pose a potential public health concern."

"The participation-based rates indicate that a substantial number of martial art participants require emergency room care due to injury."

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-10-795

 

marekbjj

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In convincing me to submit my application to join the military, my sar tech friend that trains at the same brazilian jiujitsu gym I do, says to me "You get time off to do PT, I come at lunch and train. Come on man! Get paid to do jiujitsu" LOL.

Also as a side note I recall there being a grappling tournament for that was streamed on CAF facebook, was really cool.
 

Blackadder1916

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daftandbarmy said:
In the Parachute Regiment we did 'milling'. Everyone had to pass it or they'd get binned from selection. The risk of concussions, broken noses, etc etc has been a well acknowledged risk of the selection process since WW2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpAHByFgBG4

(As you can probably tell, I did it before we had to wear head gear ;) ).

Seems that they have a slightly more heightened awareness these days.

https://www.britisharmyboxing.com/information/medical/
THE MEDICAL MANAGEMENT OF SERVICE BOXING
. . .

Milling

54. Milling is an Army-only activity, mentioned here for completeness for Army readers only, which consists of brief spells of boxing-like activity undergone in the course of P Company selection and related activities. Standards of medical cover required in terms of medicals and medical cover are identical to boxing as set out above, the only difference being that for milling, headguards are still to be worn. For further information, contact OC P Company [24].
 

daftandbarmy

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Blackadder1916 said:
Seems that they have a slightly more heightened awareness these days.

https://www.britisharmyboxing.com/information/medical/

They still do it ... and for a good reason. They don't tend to talk about the casualties though which, based on my experience, are at least about 1 in 5.

Army boxing is still a big deal in the UK, and involves a couple of hundred troops I would guess. I saw the results of that policy on our regimental boxers, most of whom looked continually shell shocked. Some were invalided out of the Army. I boxed myself a bit, for awhile, but quickly realized that military parachuting is much safer, so stuck with that :) .

Requiring activities like this to be part of the regular training experience for thousands of troops would swamp the healthcare system, I'm guessing.
 

Navy_Pete

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ballz said:
We actually need to separate what is martial arts and what is just exercising. If you are hitting heavy bags / focus mitts / etc. but are not using "aliveness" (a principle of effective martial arts training), you are not training in martial arts.... you are just exercising.

Sure, and it's great exercise. My point was, you build up to actual contact, and wait until you have enough control and accuracy to do safely spar. Some people might want to just stick to the exercise parts, but I think punching/dodging focus mitts, speed bag, and whatever is still better than doing no kind of fighting training. Learning how to throw a punch/kick accurately and properly is a lot more interesting then running on a treadmill or picking things up and putting them down.

Concussions are definitely a concern, but you can do all kinds of useful things without head shots, so that shouldn't be the big stop sign preventing us from doing something.
 

PuckChaser

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daftandbarmy said:
In Canada, now, I'm pretty sure that any large scale martial arts training program would be shut down pretty fast once the injury claims started flowing in....
If injury rate was a concern, we would have replaced the CT1/2 parachute decades ago.
 

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Years ago at CFSME in Chilliwack, our unarmed combat instructor seemed to take delight in demonstrating techniques on officer cadets.

He seemed much less interested in transferring knowledge than in transferring pain.
 

Singh47

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Give guys something to do or enjoy the retention problems is my only response to injuries (from marital arts etc).

:shrug:
 

daftandbarmy

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One thing I've always admired about the USMC is their commitment to the hand to hand stuff. They seem to have  a pretty slick Corps-Wide martial arts program ('One mind, any weapon') that might be worth looking at. At least it sounds like they've adapted the traditional martial arts to a suitable military purpose:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Corps_Martial_Arts_Program

If you read the books on which they based the series 'The Pacific', ('Helmet for my Pillow' and 'With the Old Breed') there are several accounts of fairly significant H2H stuff with the Japanese. I assume this is one of the historical reasons they maintain the capability.
 

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Ballz has the relevant points all wrapped up.  I will only add that after a few months of cajoling we've managed to get PSP to buy mats for CFC, so we will have a grappling program running here after Christmas with a BJJ black belt instructing and me supporting. We're moving in the right direction.
 
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