A month ago I had the privilege and honour of being invited to The Royal Thai Army Special Warfare Command. Along with two of my trainers Aaron Le Boutillier and Adam Kayoom, we set about introducing over thirty special force operators to the Weaponize-Your-Body (WYB) for Military Operators Program.
As with all of our WYB courses, we have a highly customisable curriculum. As I have learned over the past decade working with special forces groups, each have their own unique needs based on the various missions they are deployed in. While I cannot go into detail on what we actually taught, I can give you an idea on the general scope of what was covered and the experience overall.
One of the thing that still always amazes me each time I work with any special forces group is how humble these operators are. In introducing the various members to us, the Colonel point to one operator and said, “ He is a very good sniper”. Without missing a beat the operator replied, “These hands are for praying, and these legs for running”. We all chuckled!
Real world warriors are always a far cry from the ‘reality based self defense’ (RBSD) proponents dispensing their killer brew on YouTube and all over social media (‘vomit’). The two worlds of play-play soldiers, and the real deal – could not be any more different. The RBSD crowd with their cammo pants, and incesent marketing of extreme perverted self defense techniques for civilians – poking eyes out, kicking groins, and all round Jason Bourne mimicry – simply doesn’t hold a real world warriors attention. Unlike the wannabe tacti-cool RBSD instructor, these operators have been on the ground, and survived to tell the tale (which to be fair, they hardly want to talk about anyway).
I know if you want to impress these real world warriors they want to see a pragmatic training approach, removed of all the fluff, that they can see work all geared up, after humpin all day long across rugged terrain etc. In other words, what we teach is everything you wouldn’t see in a Jason Bourne movie.
Changing Operation Landscape for Operators
The landscape of roles have changed for operators. When people think of special force military operators they think of war or clandestine operations. While going to battle is the ultimate test of their skills, they serve other, sometimes less than romantic roles.
In this respect, we worked through three stages of training. Firstly what I refer to as Green Training (followed by Orange and Red). At times operators are placed in more policing roles. In these roles, especially in the public eye, you cant have soldiers ripping people’s throats out simply for looking at them wrong. Here communication skills, along with crowd control, less lethal defensive tactics and restrain and control techniques are needed.
In Orange Training we looked at operators roles in close protection. Again, this may or may not be in the public eye, so both sides need to be considered. Here learning to move in formation, being aware of ones surroundings and stopping a potential threat to the principle — while moving him or her to a place of safety becomes paramount. Crucially we looked at options if deployed to countries or environments where an operator cannot carry a weapon.
It was only in the end that we looked at Red Training. This of course is the ultimate test of defensive tactics skills. Here my number one goal was to teach operators how to close the distance, shut the enemy down, and end the altercation with the least amount of fanfare. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, no convoluted attack sequences – just rapid deployment of surgical striking, with a solid mix of controlling the enemies movements. The feedback from operators were excellent. They enjoyed the no-nonsense, down to earth approach. As one operator noted at the end, “I can put much of what we did today into my toolbox straight away”.
We certified over thirty operators in the WYB for Military Operators Level 1 course. I feel proud to have made the world just that little more safe. We will be returning soon to deliver level 2 dealing with edged weapons. There’s talk of a train-the-trainers course too. Exciting times for our mothership program Crazy Monkey Defense, and WYB as an extension of that.