Saturday, August 29, 2009

Combat Pits

Shaolin Monks in Fighting Ballet

Solve a man’s problems with violence,
help him for a day.
Teach a man to solve his problems with violence,
help him for a lifetime!
-- Order of the Stick

Happiness this year:
Is to get our warmongering outta here,
and not oppress folks with fear
and let goat herding Afghans
have an unbombed life, austere
--Schott's Miscellany, David Bean

"The American people. . .
Haven't got a clue"
--sign outside of Austin, Texas business

The Ranger exhibit at the Ft. Benning Infantry Museum features a film loop of Ranger students in the "combat pits" performing unarmed combat. 2009 is a long way from 1969.

The fighting techniques resembled something one might see on the caged television fighting show; the students were not fighting to kill. In the old days, Rangers were brutalized in the combat pits: we were kicked, punched and used as training aids for our fellow Rangers. Many a student was injured, and as result failed to complete training.

If we did not kick our opponent hard enough, the instructor would gladly demonstrate the correct killing blow. We kicked with the side of our boot, and not the toe or heel -- our only nod to softness. This Ranger recalls boot eyelet compressions on his ribcage after being in the pits.

One Ranger student in 1968 died of injuries sustained in the pits, but now the activity is being depicted in the infantry Museum as a quaint wrestling match. The fighting techniques shown were as useless and meaningless as the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) itself.

Rangers should fight using helmets, bayonets, spoons, forks, sticks, dogtags and anything else at hand. There should be a focused determination to kill in the fastest possible manner. Wrestling an opponent is a recipe for disaster. What are these soldiers being taught? This is not The Transporter, and real fighting is not ballet.

I guess this is the way the SOCNET.com tough guys play it. Give my old Ranger ass a break.

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Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

modern hand-to-hand combat techniques.....

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 8:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Brilliant, vulgar, and I ironically just had cause to use this by way of explanation last week with Ranger.

"Just a flesh wound". . .

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 8:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

With all due respect Jim. I wish you would have run this by some of us Real Deals before you posted it. I have been in the Martial Arts for a Very Long Time and was a member of the 2nd Ranger Battalion Hand to Hand Demonstration Team. The new Army Combatives Program is first rate and battle tested in both Iraq and Afghanistan...You saw a tree...Remember there is a whole
forest there too. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 8:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen,
As always it's nice to hear from you.
The film clip that I'm discussing was filmed at Ranger School AND is shown at the INFY Museum so it must be official. It was a girly-boy fighting scene and was garbage.
Please remember that I can only comment on what is presented , even if it's hidden by the trees. That tree bark camo is great stuff.
I realize that there is a difference between the Operational bns. and the school;remember that SOCNET always reminds me of this fact.
The next time we come to CA I'd like to link up.

Let me tell a war story. I have an old friend with 8 PH's from 3 real wars and he has bayonets scars visible. When I asked how he got them he said - A gook bayoneted me(korea, jun 50)-and I said How'd you get away? and he replied-I kilt him.

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 8:52:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

we too did "pit drill." then, at our base at dong ap bai, we got to see the real fucking deal.

the tiger bats of rok marines used the pit to determine enlisted ranking.

proper technique in the pit was to start off somewhere around apeshit, then escalate.

there have been lots of changes in the training. some of them are good things. young pollywogs today go through a pre-BUDS indoc period where they are brought up to physical shape a bit more slowly (even somewhat gently).

what i see lacking in today's group is that they do not tend to live on the ragged razor edge of out of control like we did. we were that way because that's how they wanted us.

today's bunch strikes me more as shock troops of the authoritarian. something we would never have stood for.

aside to jim: sometimes, especially in winter when my hip is aching and feeling like somebody dumped a handfull of sand in what's left of my joint, i take rough solace in knowing i killed the motherfucker what did that to me.

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 1:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Maybe we shoulda joined the peace corps!

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 1:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I thought about my reply and must add.
Since you volunteered you did it to yourself. The dude that shot you only pulled the trigger.
If the tables were reversed it'd still be the same thing. The gods required a sacrifice .

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 1:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

war is a beast which must be fed.

raw meat, daily.

yup. it seemed like when ever we complained about some kind of shit detail we were reminded

"you lads are triple volunteers. you volunteered for the navy, you volunteered for the teams, you volunteered for vietnam. now you're fucking complaining because we give you vietnamese details."

and yes, we did, in many sense more than philosophical, do it to ourselves.

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 4:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

We volunteered so many times that we should live out our years in Tennessee.

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 4:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I once asked one of my old platoon daddies (a Big Dead One vet from Vietnam) why our "training" was so far removed from real savagery. He looked me up and down and replied:

"Because if we showed you what you'd really be doing in war about 2 out of 100 of you little fuckers'd stick around to do it."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 8:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Sherry said...

i hope you don't mind. i posted this to my blog. thank you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 9:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anything that we post is open for any use that will help the antiwar sentiment in the world.
It's obvious that the wars won't end but we can turn people against the stupidity.
The things that I learned in those pits are still in me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 9:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I,ve been thnking about your cmt about your wound. I seldom volunteer unrequested counselling but here it goes.
Have you ever considered that the guy that shot you may have actually saved your life.? Better pain than the farm. Somewhere there was a belt of link 7.62 sitting in a feed tray just waiting for you, your wound kept you from that fate.
I say this with all respect.
Do you burn incense in his memory?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 10:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

"We kicked with the side of our boot, and not the toe or heel"

Just a piece of advice - don't use your toe when wearing sneakers. It's hardly noticeable now but my big toe made me limp pretty good for a couple of weeks back in June. Of course a 1600lb holsteins shin bone* may offer more resistance then a 200lb mans jaw bone. Here's hoping I never find out.

*(in my defense it WAS after the 3rd time her hoof came dangerously close to connecting to my skull before I attempted to educate her. And next milking she educated me by putting that same hoof on top of my other foot but didn't put any weight on it. I took that as a "do you really want a piece of me?" moment.)

I never did hand to hand in basic. Oddly enough in 1980 at FT Lost in the Woods they only had the NG trainees do hand to hand. And the day they did a live fire with some Rangers they only let the 12Bs and 12Cs play while the handful of 12Es got to load their clips. One of the Rangers lost blood to a rock chip. Don't ask me what he was doing close enough to the field of fire to get hit.

Sunday, September 6, 2009 at 3:24:00 PM GMT-5  

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