Matt Larsen is the most successful hand-to-hand combat trainer and program developer in history, responsible for creating the U.S. Army program that continues to train soldiers today in what it takes to face combat from the ground up.
His passion for mastering the martial arts started three decades ago in Japan and led him early in his career to compete against fighters across the Far East, from boxing in the U. S. Marine Corps, fighting in the All Japan Karate Championship and Kodokan Judo in Tokyo and Okinawa, Muay Thai in Bangkok, Kali in the Philippines and Taekwondo in Korea. Training with the best names in the arts, Larsen has earned black belts in several martial arts, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Romero “Jacare’” Cavalcante, leader of the most successful team in the history of the sport.
Larsen started his military career in the U.S. Marine Corps before moving over to the Army and joining the ranks of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. While there, he was called upon to design a hand-to-hand combat program which was quickly adopted by the entire Regiment. Larsen spent more than a decade in Army Special Operations and during that time became the subject matter expert on hand-to-hand combat. Regarded as the father of the Modern Army Combatives Program, known as MACP, Larsen overhauled the Army’s hand-to-hand combat doctrine by re-writing the Combatives field manual – FM 3-25.150 – in 2002, and updated the manual in 2009, the most recent edition. He founded the Army Combatives School and served as both its commandant and the director of the Modern Army Combatives Program 2000 until 2010.
After military service, in which he saw combat in Panama and Iraq, Larsen has worked as a private security contractor throughout Southwest Asia, the Middle East and in Africa; trained U.S. Marine Corps personal security detachments (PSD) for deployment to Iraq; designed a Combatives system for the Canadian Special Operations Regiment; and, consulted on the design of Combatives training systems for the U.S. Air Force, the British Royal Marines and the British Infantry.
Matt is the author of “Modern Army Combatives: Battle-Proven Techniques and Training Methods” and he co-authored “Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The Modern Army Combatives Program, or MACP, was designed to give soldiers the best training possible and imbue them with the warrior ethos America expects of its men and women in uniform. Unlike technique-based systems, which assume a specific tactical situation, MACP is a set of principles and training methods that equip a person to train for or adapt to any tactical situation through various types of live training which have predictable results. Larsen’s program has trained hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, and has been applied in other types of organizations with a requirement to train for combat situations with differing rules of engagement.
Special Forces Combatives
The best special operators in the world are the soldiers trained to fight in the Army Special Forces and 75th Ranger Regiment. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified, Larsen was called upon by the Special Forces to revamp the Combatives system being used by its operators. Drawing on his experience developing a new program for the Ranger Regiment and his understanding of their operational culture, Larsen designed new approaches to their hand-to-hand combat training that are tailored to the unique set of missions faced by these elite operators.