Monday, June 04, 2007

Army aikido

Interesting article I dredged out of Google News about self defense in Mississippi. Apparently about a month ago they were training a group of Virginia National Guardsmen at Camp Shelby just a little ways east of here. And what's more, they were training in a subset of aikido. Check out the video on the news site or check out the rest of this series of news stories.

Bound for Baghdad: Hand-to-Hand Combat

May 22, 2007

Reported by Matt Talhelm

Valley guardsmen and women are preparing for a tour of duty in Iraq. Before they go, they have to be trained up in Mississippi. NBC29's Matt Talhelm is at Camp Shelby with them.

A warm-up, wake-up with a 6:30 a.m. alarm clock calling out commands. "Never too early to learn training!" said First Lieutenant Mike Taylor.

It's hard not to stand at attention and listen to orders from military police Staff Sergeant Steve Knox. "They're going to get 4 hours!" he says.

His arms are his only weapons in this new warrior tasks and battle drills class. "There's five phases of akito--wrist grabs, wrist holds, how to get out of a bear hug, how to get out of a full nelson," listed Knox.

Staff Sergeant Knox calls that his "toolbox" of techniques--taking guns, knives and grenades out of the fight. "We can't just go in blasting everything. So we have to use subtle things...non-lethal weapons, unarmed self-defense," insisted Knox.

The U.S. Army surveyed soldiers returning from Iraq and one in five said they went hand-to-hand with Iraqi insurgents on the streets. "They're going to get the best that we can provide for them," assured Knox about training the soldiers for hand-to-hand combat.

Sergeant First Class Daniel Carvajal sharpened his street skills. "The pressure points make you move...they will make you move," he said. Back in Virginia, he's a cop and just like every suspect he puts in cuffs is different each enemy changes the fight.

"It is tough!" Carvajal said. "Each one's different. Each one's a different situation you come into." They can go for the jugular, the c-clamp or one of the other 12 pressure points approved in army combat. But a different muscle tops the training list for these fighters.

"You can think your way out of anything. And their best weapon is going to be their mind," revealed Knox. "They can come back and win the fight. Huah!"


  1. I wonder which of the many, many pressure points are the ones approved for Army combat? Or which ones are considered "vital points" (eyes, testicles etc.) but they might be calling pressure points??
    Also, did you get a chance to check out Richard Heckler's book "In Search Of The Warrior Spirit"? I can send you the Amazon link, there's a lot of used copies out there. It's about him teaching Aikido to a group of Green Berets and is very interesting...

  2. No, I havent gotten to that one yet. It sounds like a GREAT book, though and I'm looking forward to it.

    I was also tickled by the 'approved for army combat' and the misspelling of aikido.

  3. Hey Pat I've got "In Search Of The Warrior Spirit", and you can borrow my copy if you want. Of course you'll have to wait till the ABG to get it.

  4. That'll be great, P3. Bring it along with you. The ABG is only a couple of weeks away!

    Anything special you wanted to work on, or did the tentative agenda I sent out sound fun?

  5. The parts of that article that I found most interesting, though, are:
    1) the survey that said that 1 in 5 (20%) of the soldiers in Iraq went hand-to-hand with insurgents.

    2) on the video, you can see at about 1:35 something that seems pretty clearly identifiable as the aiki brush-off, which we've been emphasizing lately in class.


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