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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Writing the Fight Scene Part 4 (Understanding the Trained Fighter Part 3)


How do the trained military fight? Like Law Enforcement, the fighting styles of the military vary with time and nationality. If you have a character that you are writing about that is in a particular branch of the military, or in a certain nation, or in a different time period than modern day, I would highly recommend that you conduct careful research into the martial art style that was or is used. For the purposes of this entry, I am going to exam the United States military of modern day. Again, before I start, I remind my readers that I am "painting" with a broad brush. Individuals may vary from what I describe below.

The military personal of the United States is (one of--to avoid arguments) the best trained standing forces of the modern world. With that said, most hand to hand combat training that the average soldier or sailor is given is limited. Depending on the Military Occupation the soldier or sailor, they may have had only a few days of hand-to-hand combat training. As I described in "Writing the Fight Scene-Part 2 (Understanding How Untrained Fighters Think)", this amount of training still limits the level of strategy that they will use in a fight.

Please do not misunderstand me. They are better trained than the untrained fighter, but their overall training is not focused, nor extensive, in hand-to-hand combat. In my post "Writing the Fight Scene-Part 2 (Understanding How Untrained Fighters Think)",I discuss how fighters think and strategize the fight. In that posting, I described the untrained fighter's level of strategy is that of a game of tic-tac-toe and that of a highly trained fighter to be the equivalent of a chess player. In the case of the level of training that the average military personal has would fall somewhere between the two--maybe closer to checkers.

With this stated, each branch of the US armed forces has a different philosophy of martial arts. Before World War II, the armed forces main focus on hand-to-hand combat was a mixture of boxing, wrestling, and - - -well, barroom brawling. After World War II, the five main branches (most think of only four, but for the purpose here and understanding the role of the US Coast Guard, I have broken it out into a separate branch) of the military went down different roads:
* The US Army and US Air Force hand-to-hand training is based mostly on Judo and Aikido;
* The US Navy Force hand-to-hand training is based mostly on Boxing;
* The US Coast Guard hand-to-hand training is based mostly on Boxing and Aikido;
* The US Marine Corps hand-to-hand training has been recently updated to be based on a mix of Karate,
Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Brazilian Ju-jitsu, Eskrima, and Muay Thai. (I have news for them-they just tried to reinvent Tracy's Kenpo, which is what I study.)

I used the qualifier of "mostly" on purpose. The reason for this is that the military do work on and improve their fighting methods. Some of this improvement comes from conflicts with other forces--in other words, war-- and from the exchange of styles between these five branches and their personnel seeking training outside of their basic training. Furthermore, I do not describe the training that Special Forces undergo with their fight training.

In my next posting in this series, I will discuss the "gym trained" fighter. This will include any fighter trained in a gym, studio, club, or dojo.

And thank you for reading and please visit www.davidalanlucas.com and www.thewriterslens.com. You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses. 

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