Matt Larsen
Matt Larsen is a United States Army Ranger and Combatives instructor known as "The Father of Modern Combatives" for creating the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's modern combatives doctrine and establishing the U.S. Army Combatives
Combatives is a United States Army term for hand-to-hand combat training and techniques.-History:Militaries have long taught unarmed combat, both as physical conditioning and as a supplement to armed combat. Among the samurai of Japan, such combatives were known as Bujutsu...

 School. He has been credited with pushing Hoplology
Hoplology is a science that studies human combative behavior and performance. The word hoplology is derived from the Greek terms hoplos and hoplite, the term for the classical Greek warrior...

, the scientific and academic study of combative behavior, into the modern era.

Military service

Larsen enlisted in the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 as an infantryman in 1984. He was soon stationed overseas in Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 with the Marine barracks at Naval Air Facility Atsugi
Naval Air Facility Atsugi
is a naval air base located in the cities of Yamato and Ayase in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is the largest United States Navy air base in the Pacific Ocean and houses the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 5, which deploys with the aircraft carrier...

. During this time Larsen began training in the martial arts, with judo
is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an...

, Shotokan
is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi and his son Gigo Funakoshi . Gichin was born in Okinawa and is widely credited with popularizing karate through a series of public demonstrations, and by promoting the development of university karate clubs, including...

is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed from indigenous fighting methods called and Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. Grappling, locks,...

 and boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

. He continued his training in martial arts when he was transferred to Okinawa
Okinawa Prefecture
is one of Japan's southern prefectures. It consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over long, which extends southwest from Kyūshū to Taiwan. Okinawa's capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island...

 with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment
3rd Battalion 5th Marines
3rd Battalion 5th Marines is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps. The battalion, nicknamed "Dark Horse", is based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and consists of approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors...

, training in Shōbayashi Shōrin-ryū with Eizo Shimabukuro and continuing his judo training and also trained Kali
Eskrima is the umbrella term for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines, which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons...

 in the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. During this time Larsen fought in the Japan Karate Association
Japan Karate Association
Japan Karate Association is one of the most influential Shotokan karate organizations in the world...

's All Japan Karate Championships, Muay Thai
Muay Thai
Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...

 fights in Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 and fought a bare-knuckle fight against the Republic of Korea Marine Corps
Republic of Korea Marine Corps
The Republic of Korea Marine Corps is the marine corps of the Republic of Korea...

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

 champion and was also on the 3rd Marine Division
U.S. 3rd Marine Division
The 3rd Marine Division is an infantry division in the United States Marine Corps based at Camp Courtney, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan. It is one of three active duty divisions in the Marine Corps, and together with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and the 3rd Marine...

's boxing team. After several years as a Marine, he reenlisted in the United States Army, working his way into the 75th Ranger Regiment, where he would stay for the next 14 years.

Initially assigned to 1st Ranger Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield
Hunter Army Airfield
Hunter Army Airfield , located in Savannah, Georgia, United States, is a military airfield and subordinate installation to Fort Stewart.Hunter features a runway that is 11,375 feet long and an aircraft parking area that is more than 350 acres...

, Larsen parachuted into the Torrihos/Tacumen airfield during Operation Just Cause
United States invasion of Panama
The United States Invasion of Panama, code-named Operation Just Cause, was the invasion of Panama by the United States in December 1989. It occurred during the administration of U.S. President George H. W...

 and was also involved in Ranger operations during the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. He began getting more involved in combat sports and served as the president of the 1st Ranger Battalion's practical shooting
Practical shooting
Practical shooting is a sport which challenges an individual's ability to shoot rapidly and accurately with a full-power handgun, rifle, or shotgun. To do this, shooters take on obstacle-laden shooting courses called stages, some requiring many shots to complete, and others just a few...

 club. After he was reassigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion
2nd Ranger Battalion
2nd Ranger Battalion is the name of two distinct units of United States Army Rangers. The first was part of the six Ranger battalions of the Second World War...

, he started the Battalion's practical shooting club. He soon found himself as the non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 in charge (NCOIC) of Combatives and Close Quarters Battle
Close quarters battle
Close quarters combat or close quarters battle is a type of fighting in which small units engage the enemy with personal weapons at very short range, potentially to the point of hand-to-hand combat or fighting with hand weapons such as swords or knives...

 (CQB) training for the 2nd Ranger Battalion, where he took the training he received achieving black belts in several martial arts, including Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art, combat sport, and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting...

 with Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti and Russian Sambo
Sambo (martial art)
Sambo is a Russian martial art and combat sport. The word "SAMBO" is an acronym for SAMooborona Bez Oruzhiya, which literally translates as "self-defense without weapons". Sambo is relatively modern since its development began in the early 1920s by the Soviet Red Army to improve their hand to hand...

, and merged them into a single, effective, fighting style. As the program grew more elaborate, he became the NCOIC of Combatives and CQB training for the entire 75th Ranger Regiment.

With his service in the Ranger Regiment, he had become established as the United States Army's Combatives subject matter expert. When the opportunity to shape the Army's Combatives program came, he transferred to the Ranger Training Brigade
Ranger School
The United States Army Ranger School is an intense 61-day combat leadership course oriented towards small-unit tactics. It has been called the "toughest combat course in the world" and "is the most physically and mentally demanding leadership school the Army has to offer". The course is conducted...

, which was in charge of developing the Combatives doctrine at the time. During this time, he refined his training methods and began putting together a comprehensive training manual. Larsen was asked to move to the 11th Infantry Regiment
11th Infantry Regiment (United States)
The 11th Infantry Regiment is a regiment in the United States Army.-The First 11th Infantry:Under the authority granted the President by the Act of July 16, 1798, to raise twelve additional regiments of infantry, the first 11th Infantry came into existence in the Army of the United States in...

 to design a Combatives instructor training course for their cadre. As the 11th Infantry Regiment would soon have a more rigorous training regimen, taught by the Army's subject matter expert on Combatives, the proponency for Combatives doctrine moved with him.

His ideas were well received at the 11th Infantry Regiment and he found himself with an old warehouse that he used as a combatives training facility. Within a short time, the school had become successful enough that units from around the Army began sending their soldiers. Several new courses had to be developed in order to continue teaching beyond the initial course, with the idea of building programs within these units. Eventually the school was recognized by the Army as the US Army Combatives School. In 2002, the training manual that he had been working on since his time with the Ranger Training Brigade was published by the Army as Field Manual
U.S. Army Field Manuals
U.S. Army Field Manuals are published by the United States Army's Army Publishing Directorate. As of 27 July 2007, some 542 field manuals were in use. They contain detailed information and how-tos for procedures important to soldiers serving in the field. They are usually available to the public at...

 3-25.150 (Combatives). In March 2005, he was inducted into the Order of Saint Maurice
Order of Saint Maurice
Order of Saint Maurice is awarded by the National Infantry Association and the certificate is signed by the Chief of Infantry of the United States Army...

 at the Centurion level.

Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Lineage

Jigoro Kano → Tsunejiro Tomita
Tsunejiro Tomita
, born , was the earliest disciple of judo. His name appears in the first line of the enrollment book of the Kōdōkan. Tomita, together with Saigō Shirō, became first in history of judo to be awarded black belt grade by the founder of judo Kanō Jigorō, who established the ranking system...

 → Mitsuyo "Count Koma" Maeda
Mitsuyo Maeda
,a Brazilian naturalized as Otávio Maeda,was a Japanese judōka and prizefighter in no holds barred competitions. He was also known as Count Combat or Conde Koma in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, a nickname he picked up in Spain in 1908...

 → Carlos Gracie, Sr.
Carlos Gracie
Carlos Gracie was the first Gracie to learn Judo from Otávio Mitsuyo Maeda. Based on this judo training, Carlos and his brothers founded the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu...

 → Helio Gracie
Hélio Gracie
Hélio Gracie was a Brazilian martial artist who, together with his brother Carlos Gracie, founded the martial art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, known internationally as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu...

 → Rolls Gracie
Rolls Gracie
Rolls Gracie was a notable practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a member of the Gracie family.- Biography :...

 → Romero "Jacaré" Cavalcanti → Matt Larsen.

Black Belts

Andrew Chappelle → Max Faught → Nate Ford → Iako Kalili → Monte Massey → John Renken → Damien Stelly

Post military career

After retiring from the Army, Larsen worked as a private contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq before being hired by the Army as the Director of the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) and the Commandant of the US Army Combatives School (USACS) which he established at Fort Benning, Georgia.


In 2007 he helped the United States Army Special Forces
United States Army Special Forces
The United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force tasked with six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, and...

 Qualification Course revamp their Combatives curriculum and was an advisor to the US Air Force, who adopted his program in early 2008. In 2008 Larsen designed the Combatives training program for the Canadian Special Operations Regiment
Canadian Special Operations Regiment
The Canadian Special Operations Regiment is a battalion-sized, high-readiness special operations unit part of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command...

. In 2009 he consulted with both the Royal Marine Commandos at the training base in Lympstone
Lympstone is a village and civil parish in East Devon in the English county of Devon. It has a population of 1,754. There is a harbour on the estuary of the River Exe, lying at the outlet of Wotton Brook between cliffs of red breccia...

, Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

, as well as the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

's Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick
Infantry Training Centre
The Infantry Training Centre is a unit of the British Army administered by HQ School of Infantry responsible for both basic and advanced training of Soldiers and Officers joining the infantry...

 on the development of their Combatives programs

He was featured on the cover of the September 2010 issue of Black Belt Magazine
Black Belt Magazine
Black Belt is an American magazine covering martial arts and combat sports founded in 1961 by Mitoshi Uyehara. During the early years of the publication, Uyehara was a hands-on owner and publisher...

 in a two part article continued in the October issue.

LHR Combat Knife

In 2006 Larsen linked up with knife designers William Harsey, Jr. and Chris Reeve
Chris Reeve
Chris Reeve is an American knife maker, recognized as one of the most influential people in knife making history. Reeve founded Chris Reeve Knives , and is co-owner of the company with his wife, Anne Reeve.-Background:...

, who designed and make the Yarborough knife presented to graduates of the Special Forces Qualification course, to develop the LHR Combat Knife
Combat knife
A combat knife is a fighting knife designed solely for military use and primarily intended for hand-to-hand or close combat fighting.Since the end of trench warfare, most military combat knives have been secondarily designed for utility use in addition to their original role as close-quarter combat...

 based on the lessons from hand to hand fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is manufactured by Gerber Legendary Blades
Gerber Legendary Blades
Gerber Legendary Blades is a maker of consumer knives and multitools headquartered in Tigard, Oregon, United States, within the Portland metropolitan area. Currently Gerber is a sub-division of Fiskars Brands Inc, owned by the Fiskars company of Finland...



In 2008 and 2009 Larsen rewrote the US Army Survival Handbook and the U.S. Military Pocket Survival Guide: Plus Evasion & Recovery for the publisher Lyons Press.

In 2010 Larsen co-authored Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan, with war correspondent Gina Cavallaro
Gina Cavallaro
Gina Cavallaro is an American journalist who has covered the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.Cavallaro’s career in journalism began in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with WOSO, the island’s only English-language radio station. She then became a reporter and editor at the English-language daily...

 with a foreword written by the 31st Vice Chief of Staff of the Army
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
The Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army is the principal advisor and assistant to the Army Chief of Staff, the second-highest ranking officer in the US Army. He handles the day to day administration of the Army bureaucracy, freeing the Chief of Staff to attend to the interservice...

General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

. (Ret.) Richard A. Cody
Richard A. Cody
Richard A. Cody is a retired United States Army general who served as the 31st Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from June 24, 2004 to July 31, 2008. He retired from the Army on August 1, 2008.-Early life and career:...

, architect of the Asymmetric Warfare Group
Asymmetric Warfare Group
The Asymmetric Warfare Group is a United States Army unit created during the War on Terrorism to craft doctrine for asymmetric warfare. The unit is stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland and reports directly to the TRADOC.-Mission:...

 and former commander of the 101st Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division
The 101st Airborne Division—the "Screaming Eagles"—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France, Operation Market Garden, the...

 (Air Assault) and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The book is a collection of stories and impressions from dozens of snipers -- Soldiers and Marines
Marines may refer to :* The plural of Marine , a member of a naval infantry force* Chiba Lotte Marines, a Japanese professional baseball team* "The Marines", an episode of the Adult Swim animated television series, Aqua Teen Hunger Force'People...

, including Rangers and Special Forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

Soldiers—who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.


In June 2011 Larsen was in Libya assessing the rebel forces.

External links

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