Presidio of Monterey Soldiers become combatives instructors
July 2, 2010
- Soldiers complete combatives certification
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. Aca,!" The Presidio of Monterey has 25 new Modern Army Combatives Program Level I instructors after they certified inside the Price Fitness Center this summer.
To certify, the Soldiers endured three- and, sometimes, four-round clinch drills, in which the students had to close the distance between themselves and their opponents while dodging and enduring gloved punches.
Among the combatants was Pfc. Leslie Steele, Co. B, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, who, in order to attend the certification, pushed back her leave to her home in Fulton, Miss., thereby missing her brotherAca,!a,,cs 18th birthday.
"I was supposed to certify alone when I came back from leave," Steele said. "But I wanted to certify with my battle buddies.Aca,!A?
Three rounds of drills were enough for the Soldiers to receive their certificates and bring a close to the long day to nurse their bruises, but a few of the Soldiers took on their instructors' challenge of a fourth round. Steele was one of them.
"I didn't feel the three rounds were enough," Steele said. "I wasn't satisfied with (my previous matches)."
Steele got her fourth round, this time with a bigger, stronger and more experienced opponent, Co. B 229th Military Intelligence Company Commander Capt. Christopher Green, who towered over Steele by at least five inches and had an over-70-pound advantage.
After several fruitless attempts to lock her arms around the massive Green, Steele met the same fate as many who clash in the classic confrontation of fist-to-face: She was knocked out.
Steele struggled to refocus her eyes to the ceiling as Green shouted "Put your mouthpiece back in," repeatedly, because he and his fellow Modern Army Combatives Program instructors knew Steele wasn't done.
"Of course, my first thought was concern for Steele's well-being," Green said. "Anytime a commander sees his Soldier go down, you worry."
Sgt. 1st Class Brent Church, Co. B, 229th Military Intelligence platoon sergeant and primary MACP instructor, shared the same sentiment, but said it was a necessary part of the training.
"Of course it's not easy to watch. It's especially painful to watch a young female get rocked. They're not only our students, but part of our Army family," Church said.
"On the other hand, all Soldiers go into the certification expecting a serious challenge, and we facilitate that safely."
He added that "They learned a lot about themselves that day, and built stronger, more confident Soldiers."
After a quick check by the medic, Steele quickly sprung up to her starting fighting stance, replaced her mouthpiece and achieved the clinch while all those in attendance cheered her on.
"When she got back up to continue the fight, I felt like a proud father in a way, and I'm sure the other cadre felt exactly the same," Church said. "To see the 'never quit, never accept defeat' mentality in our Soldiers is the feeling noncommissioned officers live for: to know that we have trained them right.
Church said Soldiers endured 40 hours of instruction in basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, ground-grappling, and hours of conditioning exercises to officially complete the course.
He said the drills were the culmination of the training. He also explained that the Soldiers had excelled by balancing their class requirements while attending the sessions three days a week since April.
Afterward, Steele was certified with her fellow Soldiers and "has the T-shirt to prove it."
"I don't actually like combatives," Steele said laughing, as she wiped her tears after her match with Green. "But my best friend, who is in Afghanistan right now and was certified here, motivated me to push through."
"I told Steele she did not have to do the fourth round; but, if she did, I was going to push her," Green said after presenting Steele with her certificate and official "Bravo Bully" Combatives instructor T-shirt.
"She said to me that she didn't yet feel she was pushed to the limit," Green said. "She missed her flight home to stay for the clinch, and she said she wanted to feel she 'earned it.' I promise, she and (the rest of her class) earned it."