Just as any true martial artist should read Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, any combatives practitioner should read the U.S. Marine Corps Field Manual 1 Warfighting.
FM1 was written in the late 1980s at the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Center in Quantico, Virginia, while I was assigned there to the Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict office as the counterterrorism/counternarcotics officer. A young captain named John Sullivan was a contemporary of mine and a project officer on the development of the manual. The book was written with direct input from the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. A.M. Gray. Through John, I had the opportunity to review it as a work in progress, and it left a lasting impression. Below are some of the most interesting corollaries.
FM 1: “It is critical to keep in mind that the enemy is not an inanimate object to be acted upon but an independent and animate force with its own objectives and plans.”
Combatives Corollary: Train with an active partner and not someone who’s robotic or remains fixed in place while you execute a technique. Never allow the use of staged pillar assaults to support your technique. Encourage your partner to move freely because your attacker will.
FM 1: “The object of war is to impose our will on our enemy.”
Combatives Corollary: Ditto.
FM 1: “Friction is the force that makes the apparently easy so difficult.”
Combatives Corollary: No technique works on the street as easily as it does in training.
FM 1: “Friction is the force that resists all action and saps energy.”
Combatives Corollary: Fighting for your life saps your strength much more quickly than training or competing does.
FM 1: “Friction may be mental, as in indecision over a course of action.”
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