Real life H2H

I am interested in hearing any stories of hand to hand combat being used in a real combat situation, preferably in modern times. What are typical situations where a modern day soldier may have to use unarmed combat tactics or mêlée weapons? I understand that MP's would typically use unarmed techniques more than other soldiers.

Matt Larsen probably has a bunch of them.

Not necessarily on the MP thing.

Some situations involve arresting and detaining. Others involve cordon and search operations.
Others involve general combat operations.

Matt has over 300 AARs from soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan of our soldiers using H2H. He has also published two articles in Ultimate Grappling magazine of H2H being used by our soldiers in both theaters. I will have to find the issues again and get the info to you.


I got those issues in my library if you need references

holy shit.

please publish these!

i will read them like i used to read the NRA's Armed Citizen.


I would be interested in those also. My State doesn't belive in the MAC Program.

At least while deployed I help Andy Heymann teach.


This is one of the three articles. I am very sure that Matt got digital copy somewhere of the other 2 because I only got hard copy. If you need hard copy please send email to

From: grappling magazine web site

Modern Army Combatives

Written by Matt Larsen and John Simons III

Facts of the Battlefield

Do you think that the Special Forces can't handle themselves without a weapon? You better think again ... real fast.

In the back of a helicopter flying at 9,000 feet over a dark, remote area of Afghanistan is probably the last place you would expect to see hand-to-hand combat. But that's exactly what happened one night in early 2002, and everyone lived to tell about it because of the actions of one well-trained soldier.

During an early phase of the war in Afghanistan, while the wreckage of the World Trade Center in New York was still smoldering, a Special Forces team placed 15 Taliban prisoners in the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for transportation to American-controlled territory. The Chinook is a large dual-rotor, heavy-lift helicopter, the kind often seen on the news carrying U.S. troops. For this short trip, the prisoners' hands were bound in front of them and at the time it was determined that only one guard would be needed to watch over them.

But a few minutes into the nighttime flight, with the prisoners seemingly docile and with thousands of feet of elevation making escape unlikely, the guard, who was watching the prisoners through night-vision goggles-which offer a very restricted peripheral field of view-inadvertently turned his back on one of the prisoners seated near him.

In the moment it took for the guard to lose sight of him, the prisoner grabbed him with his legs in a triangle-like choke and began to squeeze. The combination of the helicopter's deafening noise and the guard's constricted movement made it impossible for him to signal for help. But an alert door gunner turned and saw the commotion through his own night-vision goggles and moved to help.

Fall of Death

The gunner, who had been trained in basic hand-to-hand fighting skills as part of the Modern Army Combatives Program, was tethered to the aircraft with a harness designed to catch him if he fell out, but he applied the rear naked choke from his position behind the prisoner, pulling the attacker and his victim back from the open ramp and the certain death of a fall.

As he was choking the prisoner, the gunner backed into a second Taliban who dug his teeth into the gunner's backside in an attempt to assist his compatriot. Enduring the pain from the second prisoner's tooth-hold, the door gunner continued to apply pressure on the choke until the first prisoner released the guard. He then struck him in the face with downward elbows, driving him to the floor of the helicopter, where the guard was able to control him long enough to more securely bind him.

No shot was ever fired, and there was no fiery crash, because of the actions of that aviation crewmember, who reacted with his wits, using fundamental maneuvers he learned at the Army's Combatives School.

A Way of Life

These stories may never make the news back in the United States, but as many soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq can attest, hand-to-hand combat is a fact of life in this war and scenes like the one in the Chinook repeat themselves every day.

For U.S. troops, the modern battlefield is rife with technological advantages, up-armored vehicles (HUMMVs with added armor), high-speed personal protection gear and all sorts of lethal weapons. But hand-to-hand fighting, in which a soldier must be close with the enemy, is still one of the most fundamental aspects of warfare and has become a regular occurrence in Iraq and Afghanistan, even in the most unexpected places.

The Army Combatives School is taking an aggressive approach toward preparing our soldiers, pushing them to their limits of pain and endurance, and instilling the warrior spirit needed to overcome the fear of closing with the enemy.

This is the first of many columns in which we will share some of these life-and-death stories and the lessons we have learned from them.

There was night in 2003 where my squad and I were assigned entry team one in the door in Baghdad, My first man breached the door and went in and cleared living he went into the hallway, a man jumps out from behind a sheet that was hanging in a doorway and grabs him from around the waist with my soldiers back to this mans chest..As my Soldier reached down to break his hold from around his waist my number 2 man rear naked choked this guy and made him pass out... 2 Soldiers who were so meek that this was actually there first fight EVER... thanks to the teachings I taught them and some help from MACP..These Soldiers thought fast and reacted with the proper response. I hear AAR about how some Soldiers say they would of shot the man who grabbed my Soldier, We were later commended for those actions and I was later asked to teach my Battery some basic Modern H2H..

Good story. AmericanSoldier.

DJ, I am assuming you are ARNG. What state are you from?


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"My State doesn't belive in the MAC Program" - Your "State" does not have to believe in it, you just need 1 soldier to care enough to take some training time to introduce it to a team, a squad, a platoon, etc. Eventually, it will catch.

I have the same issue here at Bragg sometimes. Soldiers in some of the Non-Combat Arms units come to me and say they get no support from the command. Too many of the soldiers are trying to get the Battalion or the BCT to impliment training. Start small, it will grow.

MAJ Leavitt - You are correct I am National Guard. I am from Nevada for the time being. And currently deployed (once again) to Iraq. I'm more than likely going to be finding a new state to call home.

YBJJ - Our State has denied everyone's request for training. "It's too dangerous", "How do we know it works", "It takes to long to Learn". You name the excuse I've heard it. I'm already level 2 and Train BJJ on a very regular basis. I offered to attend level 3 out of my own pocket. The answer was no.


Well, sounds like the response a lot of soldiers get. It is unfortunate, but it happens a lot.

Bottom line is that if you really want to make it happen, you have to do more. I am sure there are plenty of soldiers with similar situations that could assist with some success stories.

YBJJ - The state has done more crazy things than that. It has made me realize that Although I am a memebr of the guard, I'm not the typical guardsman. I am looing for a state that can handle me. Right now it looks like the South East (NC,SC,GA,AL,TN,MD,VA), Arizona, Texas, or Idaho. Haven't really decided.