Thursday, December 12, 2013
Manticores and The Future of Combatives Training: SouthNarc and Paul Sharp
One of the many sub-projects within this blog that I need to finally put together is a series of interviews with some of the leading practitioners of high-end private-sector self-defense/individualist tactical training in the world.
The integrationist Renaissance within the tactical community draws primarily from MMA, the competition shooting community, and the extraordinary amount of combat experience that has been accumulated in the wake of 9/11. Some aspects of the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), which emphasize blade- and impact weapon-work, are also added to the mix.
The integrationists have mixed-martial arts as a laboratory for testing striking and grappling techniques that work in the unarmed arena, and they have seen rapid convergence between the winning techniques used by the best shooting sports practitioners and the gunfighting dominance achieved by our best-trained, most experienced military special warfare units (in fact, the top units of the U.S. Army and Navy---the "Special Mission Units" which go by different names---could be seen as sort of technology-transfer mechanisms in which skills developed in practical shooting competition are used to kill people on the battlefield, and incorporated into an operational contextual sheath that considers real-world variables not present in the competition sphere).
Enter the Manticore
Perhaps the new frontier is the creation of a manticore-like, rather terrifying mythological-hybrid animal who stands between a state-of-the-art background in MMA on the one end and full-blown, close-range gunfighting as practiced by the most elite specwar ninjas at the other. This murky area is the domain in which a fight may 1) start out unarmed and soon have a weapon enter the mix, or 2) begin with a drawn weapon but turn into a messy and chaotic hand-to-hand fight, normally because of various environmental and Rules of Engagement (ROE)-related factors that can create an opportunity for a desperate unarmed man to make a play for another man's weapon.
The type of scenario depicted has turned out to be its own uniquely challenging entity, requiring cherry-picked skills from a variety of different martial disciplines to be put together in creative, immediate task-focused ways. Here are two of the very best inter-disciplinary guys---it is my distinct honor to be able to call them both close personal friends---showing some of their curriculum materials in short videos.
I hope to post much more from these gentlemen in the very near future! These guys are true badasses!
On a related note, my friend Ian Wendt of Special Circumstances is rapidly becoming known as one of the most innovative designers and manufacturers of lightweight, quick-access, efficient edged weapons for use in the types of urgent, explosively violent "detonation" type survival situations that are hallmarks of the SouthNarc and Paul Sharp training packages.
Putting it simply, the best hardware (equipment outfitter) guys are themselves training with the best software (skills) guys, and the result is that collaborative projects are emerging that will push the performance envelope. The gear is constructed using lessons that are coming out of stressful training and street experiences, and then tested and refined through multiple iterations of Force-on-Force scenarios and through feedback from real-world operators working in the field. 3-D printing technology and rapid prototyping will no doubt play a larger role in this iterative process in the near future.
Some truly ferocious fighters are asking Ian to build them carry knives. The materials used in these delicious tools are themselves very interesting, but I will leave that discussion for an upcoming interview with him.
In terms of specific knife designs, a fair number of us have turned to the push dagger as an edged weapon that supports technology-transfer between our favored empty-hands technical platforms for striking (Western boxing, Muay Thai) and the hard reality that a drag race to produce a handgun is what frequently occurs in a real-world, street-ambush type of assault. This situation frequently calls for a knife that can be accessed under great pressure (and possibly by a man operating at severely diminished psychomotor capacity), and which can be used effectively by the support hand---i.e., left hand if you are a right-hander---while the primary hand can make its way to access (or even defend) the concealed-carry handgun.
Ian made me a push dagger that has been the envy/obscene gear-porn lust object of many of my friends: