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The Military Police Hand To Hand Combat Program

There are many departments within the U.S. Army's Military Police. What they all have in common is the hand-to-hand combat training they received during basic training. In addition to that early training, once one becomes an M.P. there is additional training in, amongst other things, unarmed self-defense (USD as they refer to it). This training consists of the Modern Army Combatives program, as well as the specialized arresting techniques necessary for their jobs. In addition to the official training the M.P.s receive, there is a private organization, the Military Police Unarmed Combat Association (MPUCA), who have taken the techniques of the government program, and have as its goal "...the betterment of the U.S. Army's Military Police Corp Regiment through improvements and innovations in the Military Police Regiment's USD training". While there are organizations ad nauseam today claiming to teach the "best" reality military and police combat techniques ever, this program is based on techniques actually taught to Army M.P.s, and has an intelligent approach to what they teach.

The array of hand and foot strikes is part of the program, as are handcuffing and searching techniques. What is interesting to the Taiho-Jutsu practitioner is the approach and use of the restraints and come-alongs. Although some of the techniques are "harsher" than some found in Taiho-Jutsu, what is almost always a first response is taisabaki, or as they refer to it, "slipping" the attack. What is emphasized in the program is that blocking as most martial artists envision (e.g., rising block, down block) are not used. Rather, evasive parrying while "slipping" the attack is taught, most similar to what is found in many JuJutsu styles, and in Taiho-Jutsu. It is the principles and concepts of the defensive moves that "...are more important than techniques because they are adaptable to different situations".


In the first lesson of their training manual, we read: "There is no magic martial art or system or techniques which allows the practitioner to win every fight. ANYONE can be bested in a physical altercation". After going on to speak of different factors which may affect the outcome of an altercation, it states that "Effective fighters are in good shape and are well trained. Train in these and all techniques and stay in shape". The manual additionally states that a goal of the M.P. should be to execute techniques "without thinking, should the need arise", and that only repetitive practice will make them second nature.

Awareness and avoidance are other concepts emphasized and expanded upon. The reader is cautioned that no video or book will enable one to effectively employ the techniques on the street. In-person, face-to-face practice is the only means to accomplish proficiency and realism. Following JuJutsu and Taiho-jutsu principles, the program teaches that if an attempted technique does not seem to be working, the next technique should automatically be entered into. Techniques are the means to the goal, i.e., "to take the offender to the ground and apply the hand irons AFTER he is in the officer's control".

While this M.P. program may not be as effective and appropriate for civilian police departments as Taiho-Jutsu, it does offer some positive insights and variations of techniques complementary to the U.S.T.J.F. course.

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