Response to Criticisms of Competition Cage Fighting Skills Being
Taught to Police and Military
by Pat Miletich
It has been brought to my attention that some
private police and military training companies state that the
skills needed to compete in a cage fight, better known as MMA,
have no place in the police or military world. They make several
uneducated statements and claims I feel compelled to discuss,
which leads me to writing this article. The fact I have gained
immense knowledge from others in both the fighting world and the
LE/Military world over many years has led me to find this an easy
subject to debate.
I become frustrated when reading certain articles
that disrespect the fact that officers are learning these skills
to help them survive the attack they hope will never happen. We
must address the motives behind articles of this type. I have
always been a believer that every system has something to offer,
however small that something might be. This is the true essence
of Mixed Martial Arts fighting. When an individual writes an article
of this nature, I feel a sense of fear and lack of being open
minded on their part. Perhaps more likely is they feel a little
threatened as far as loss of business.
They also do not understand the years of experience
and development that goes into bringing these two worlds (LE/Military
and MMA) together to save lives. After all, are we not in this
to gain knowledge that will save lives? The people who have truly
done their homework in the two fields have come to an understanding
of the mixed martial arts material that is appropriate and applicable
in the LE/Military worlds.
As in the martial arts world, many traditional
martial artists make ludicrous claims stating that they do not
compete in MMA because they would kill someone with their one
strike, one kill techniques. The other one I hear is that we are
not martial artists. I find that hard to believe when I have black
belts in Karate, two forms of Jiu-Jitsu, held a title in Muay-thai
kickboxing, wrestled for 20 years, was unbeaten in pro boxing
and held the world title in the UFC for 3 1/2 years. I have also
been either lucky enough or good enough to train more pay-per-view
and world champion fighters than anyone else in the game.
The previous statements about myself are not
an attempt to toot my own horn, but rather to make a point. I
do understand how to handle a human body. I also understand police
use of force rules, lack of budgets and time for training officers,
coupled with the unfortunate lack of enthusiasm by some officers
to train enough to save their own skin in a tight spot.
My experience in training police and military
has had a few mentors to which I paid very close attention. Although
I have had many advise me, I have spent time learning from three
individuals. Mark Hanssen is the first I will mention, as Mark
and I have been steadfast friends for many years. Mark started
me in the training world when he would bring me in to help train
officers in our home state of Iowa. Mark is a police officer in
Davenport, Iowa and also a very accomplished martial artist who
was ranked in the top ten heavy weights in the world of MMA. He
would correct me if I mistepped in teaching incorrectly in relation
to use of force rules police had to follow.
The next two are Don Roberts and Tony Grano.
Tony and Don are two of the most experienced I have seen in the
industry and I greatly respect the knowledge they have passed
on to me in the LE/Military training world.
(center) at USMC Martial
Arts Center for Excellence in Quantico, VA
They explained that they wanted to tap into
some of my knowledge in the fighting world to help officers learn
how to move correctly when under stress in encounters with street
savvy subjects as well as passive resisters.
The following are some of the misconceptions
I see taking place in the police and military training world towards
mixed martial arts being taught in the police and military world.
They assume the following things when attacking our way of thinking
1) All involved
in the MMA game are teaching police and military to perform submission
This could not be further from the truth. After years of experience
I have learned officers must be taught the fundamental basics
of movement and control to survive an encounter with a passive
resister and beyond. To teach officers submission holds does not
apply to their line of work and is offending my intelligence to
say I would even teach this as a goal to officers.
Could an officer use a submission hold? Of course,
but it's not the goal!
2) MMA techniques
are not useful in the police world because of use of force rules
now implemented in law enforcement.
Quite the opposite is true. The fundamentals of controlling a
subject taught in MMA are without a doubt the best we have available
to us in the history of combat at whatever level. The sport of
MMA fighting is simply a proving ground for these techniques.
By using this arena we quickly find out what works and what does
not work. These techniques can be used to gain compliance of a
passive resister without injury, or can be escalated as needed
if the subject escalates in level of force.
3) The skills needed
in a cage fight cannot be used to defend oneself against multiple
Wrong!! The fundamentals of cage fighting can easily be used to
survive multiple attackers. Don’t assume that I would take
a fight on the street to the ground against even one opponent.
And yes, I have been attacked by multiple attackers and things
worked out quite nicely.
4) It would be
easy to stick the barrel of my gun down the throat of a skilled
fighter if he were to attack you.
Who are you kidding? You think that people announce when they
are going to attack a police officer. When officers are attacked
they are always surprised and very seldom ready to react. Don’t
mislead officers by saying you would almost always win the fight
because you are in possession of a firearm.
Imagine a street wise fighter attacking you
when you’re not ready. He throws you on your head and begins
to pound you in the face. You’re saying you would, while
being punched in the face, remove your hand from protecting your
head, reach down and pull out your gun and shove it down the attackers
throat. Not likely. You'll be suprised how self preservation insticts
take over in a real fight. Protecting your head from being caved
in usually comes first.
If you have been trained how to first stop the
takedown, then defend yourself on the ground if needed and escape
back to your feet, you would then be able to pull your weapon
and take care of business. I don't know about you, but I would
rather understand how to survive the fight first and depend on
the weapon as a last case scenario. Putting your faith in a weapon
you might never have the chance to pull is odds I would never
bet on. Officers have said to me that they would die for their
families. I simply tell them to train hard so they can live for
Officers who are trained in MMA fighting techniques
are much more confident and less likely to panic under a stressful
situation. Using common sense on how to stay relaxed in a verbal
confrontation and the skills of controlling subjects used in MMA
fighting helps save lives. This is our main goal, right?
Pat Miletich has over 14 years experience as
a LE/Military Instructor specializing in Advanced Survival Tactics
and Military Support and Stability Training. Mr. Miletich as also
a former UFC World Champion, has trained over 85 pay per view
fighters and 14 world champions in the sport of MMA.