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Learn the Silent Killing techniques of the Special Forces








Learn the Silent Killing techniques of the Special Forces

by Jon Hegan, 6 June 2002

The Gracies, the Machados, Romero 'Jacare' Cavalcanti, Matt Furey, Paul Vunak and a host of other top martial art names often put in their adverts, 'Trainers to Special Forces, SWAT or SEAL team 6,' etc. I have also seen many English martial artists claim to teach their deadly systems to our own SAS as obviously they were only a little dangerous before they learnt these extra special techniques. Whilst many of these instructors are very, very good, they do tend to stretch their teaching credentials a little far. This by the way is not intended to discredit anyone but just to make things a little clearer for those who are unsure of what teaching these organisations entails.

I have researched many of these claims over the past few years and been in a unique position to do so. I have trained with the US Marine corps, US Army Rangers, US Special Forces and spent time with the LAPD. In addition I am a former Royal Marine Commando and have spent time with SAS and SBS personnel in Northern Ireland. Finally, I teach Krav Maga and have trained with some scary people with dark suntans in Israel.

So what is taught to who and who teaches it? While I would love to say that all the instructors have some extra special syllabus for close quarter assassination techniques or some cheeswire garrotting methods, I'm afraid the reality is a little more mundane. A few years ago I tried very hard to get into teaching our own SBS some unarmed combat. I put together a whole package of what I thought were some really good techniques and put them forward for discussion. I was aware of what was already being taught and knew who taught it. The same people had put together the same stuff for the armed Metropolitan police response units. Mine was better I was sure, it just needed the go ahead from the top brass.


The man who could say yes was an SBS Captain, veteran of various sneaky missions and just the chap I thought to give me the go ahead. 'We don't really need anything more,' he said blankly. He went on to explain something that I already knew but didn't really fully appreciate. All Special Forces soldiers train exhaustively with firearms as these are their primary weapons, the hostage rescue teams are armed with MP5 machine guns and if these fail a pistol sidearm. They wear bullet proof vests, helmets, gloves, gas masks and lots of other groovy black stuff. The reality was that shooting was the preferred option in most cases rather any 'Bruce Lee shit.' Not only this but there are explosives, radios, languages, navigation and a ton of other skills to learn. So unarmed combat was left to the individual rather than troop training. I argued, but he was right, unless you have the correct equipment and know exactly what situations your students will encounter then its little use teaching them anything unless its for their own personal use. I don't think before the Iranian Embassy Siege the SAS had an emergency session of escaping the triangle choke. The same was for the other US forces I trained with, all of them said they had little or no training of this kind but some guys would simply go to a local club. What would usually happen though is that when an instructor found out what his new student did for a living he would soon offer his services for free in order to say that he teaches them. As most regular martial arts teach purely self defence and not saving bus loads of children from terrorists, the 'Die Hard,' fantasy dwindles a bit.

Most of the respective instructors teach their systems how they think they should be taught and claim to have tested them in 'the street,' which is fair enough as I'm sure they have, but few have ever served in the Police or Military so now their experience is not quite as valid. Rorion Gracie teaches the G.R.A.P.L.E system to police, but is not or has ever been in the police, so how would he have the experience to know what goes on in their particular situations. Who knows? Graham Randell is a Judo world champion, but I don't think he will ever be approached to devise a new way to storm a hijacked plane. What people like to think is that if they train in something endorsed by the CIA, they will know the same stuff as a Special Forces 'Black Ops', soldier, so even an 8 stone librarian from Serbiton can believe he is on the same level as a highly trained professional killer. And what's the harm in that, sounds good eh?

So is it a con? Not really, a little artistic licence I suppose and I'm sure we are all guilty of that.

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