Combat sports used in the military programs around the world
Written by Kevin
We generally view martial arts and combat sports as interesting kinds of sports or perhaps a way to fight or defend ourselves. Whatever your view of combat sports there is no denying that an effective technique or tactic will help soldiers or law enforcement in times of need. So buckle up, because in this article we will go through a variety of combat sports that are parts of a military program. Before we start I will explain the difference between a martial art and a combat sport: Martial arts are fighting systems, which have weapons and no rules, but combat sports are basically martial arts in a competition setting.
Okinawan Karate (空手)
Let's start off with one of the most popular martial arts in the world, though you may be confused with the first part of its name. Many know that karate originated in Japan but not everybody knows it was founded in Okinawa in roughly 1609 after the invasion of Ryukyu.
What separates the Okinawan karate from the now more well-known mainland Japanese karate is the way it is taught and what is taught. In today's age it is rare to find a karate dojo that teaches karate techniques including grappling techniques and kobudo (a weapons-based martial art related to karate) together.
Okinawan karate has more styles under its name like: Goju ryu, Uechi ryu or Shorin ryu.
These styles focus on self defence techniques which are not so allowed in the World Karate Federation, which leads to most of these styles mostly having their own separate competitions with full contact.
Okinawan karate includes striking, joint locks, bone conditioning and traditional weapons.
Bone conditioning is a crucial part of Okinawan karate. The traditional dojos focus on strengthening bones so they can be used as deadly weapons.
The conditioned bones are tested in tameshiwari (breaking tests.)
Photo: “Okinawan Karate break a baseball bat in front of 10 000 spectators !”, youtube.com
Muay Thai (กล่องไทย)
Muay Thai, better known as Thai boxing in the West, is a striking martial art that emphasises kicks, punches, elbows and the clinch.
It is legendary for its low kicks and elbows because of the conditioning of the shins. Thai Boxers are known for kicking down banana trees and breaking bones with their iron shins.
The origins of Muay Thai can be traced back to the 16th century as a peace-time martial art practised by the soldiers.
Muay Thai has a reputation for being a tough sport by countries around the world because of the age of its young practitioners. In 2016 it was discovered that the number of child boxers was from 2-300,000 and some of them were as young as 4 years old.
This Thai martial art is not to be underestimated in MMA rings not just because of its techniques but also because of the mindset of the fighters who have mastered the steep learning curve of the sport.
Thai Boxing is also a part of Thai culture, including in folklore, and a tradition that is passed down from generation to generation.
Photo: “Muay Thai”, www.gymbangarang.com
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ)
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling-based sport which has evolved from its Japanese ancestor.
It follows the teachings of the Japanese Kudokan martial arts school, which was founded by Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo). Its approach is more modern and thus loses characteristics of Japanese martial arts, but don't let that influence your perception of BJJ because the abandoned traditionalism allows for improvements which were learned from the present.
This is the reason why competitions have separate events without the gi (uniform)
BJJ's fighting style is focused on ground fighting techniques (choking, throws and joint locks.) and these techniques are responsible for changing everything from the first ever UFC in 1993 because of the lack of grappling and “one style” mentality.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a great addition to mixed martial arts athletes and it is a must for them to know at least the basic principles and techniques. If they don't know, then it is only time will tell before they end up in an armbar.
Photo: “UFC 1: What happened at the inaugural edition of this MMA showdown?”, sportskeeda.com
It should come as no surprise that boxing made the list and it does not need any introduction. Some may ask how boxing compares to martial arts which include kicking. The answer is fairly simple: head movement and the minimum requirement for stretching for kicks. Boxers are known for their agile head movements which make them hard to hit. In a practical situation it is better to throw the good old fashioned hook to the face instead of a risky roundhouse kick.
People tend to think that boxing is easy because you are only punching, but forget the head movement. Every punch can be dodged with a “slip” or a “roll” and it is the art of “hit but don't get hit”.
Boxers are known for their swift uppercuts, hooks and jabs which can take down anyone. What separates a bad boxer from a good one is the ability to be untouchable in the ring.
As the legendary Muhammad Ali said in his prime: “I can’t be beat! I had 180 amateur fights, 22 professional fights, and I’m pretty as a girl!”
Photo: “Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston (2nd meeting)”, boxrec.com
Military Wiki, “Combat sports” https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Combat_sports
youtube.com, “Okinawan Karate break a baseball bat in front of 10 000 spectators !” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsVa2bP_nf4
Wikipedia.org, “Muay Thai” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muay_Thai
www.bangarang.com, “Muay Thai” https://www.gymbangarang.com/muay-thai-basics/
Wikipedia.org, “Brazilian jiu-jitsu” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_jiu-jitsu
Sportkeeda.com, “UFC 1: What happened at the inaugural edition of this MMA showdown” https://www.sportskeeda.com/mma/ufc-1-what-happened-at-the-inaugural-edition-mma
youtube.com, “Muhammad Ali - “I'm as pretty as a girl!” “ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYDPXIRwMBE
Boxrec.com, “Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston (2nd meeting)” https://boxrec.com/media/index.php/Muhammad_Ali_vs._Sonny_Liston_(2nd_meeting)