Colorado Springs, Colo.-The Space Warriors assigned to the 1st Space Battallion and 53rd Signal Battalion participated in a rare chance to train with one of the most renowned figures in mixed martial arts (MMA). Royce Gracie taught a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) clinic at Colorado Springs Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on Friday, Feb. 18, and the Space Warriors were invited to attend.

"It was important for me to recognize the efforts of our Combatives trainers with an opportunity to train with a living legend of MMA, " said Lt. Col Joseph Guzman, executive officer, 1st Space Battalion, who coordinated the training for his Soldiers.

Gracie was the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion and was the first person inducted into the UFC hall of fame. He is a Brazilian professional mixed-martial artist and a BJJ practitioner. He is frequently tapped to train members of Hollywood, including Jim Carrey, Chuck Norris, and Nicolas Cage. He also has worked with the Armed Forces, training Army Rangers and Navy Seals, among others.

During the two-hour clinic, Gracie taught the Space Warriors BJJ techniques as used in the Modern Army Combatives (MAC) program. Gracie would demonstrate the moves and then have the class partner up to practice while he offered guidance.

"It was an amazing experience ... he is an incredibly meticulous instructor. His attention to detail is unparalleled to any other instructor I have ever worked with. Gracie and his training team believe in repetition and perfection when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu," said Staff Sgt. Andrew B. Brown, 1st Space Company, who attended the clinic.

The form of BJJ taught during the Gracie's clinic was meant to work along with the MAC program, teaching the Soldiers methods proven effective in hand-to-hand combat.

"I took away experience that will help enhance what I have learned in the Modern Army Combatives," said Staff Sgt. David Padilla, Joint Tactical Ground Station initial qualification training instructor.

The MAC program combines throws and takedowns from Greco-Roman wrestling and Japanese Judo, striking skills from boxing and Muay Thai, and ground fighting from BJJ. The MACP teaches Soldiers to neutralize close-quarter threats by using hand-to-hand combat in a close one-on-one situation with the enemy. The goal is not necessarily to kill the enemy, but to subdue him and hold him down until a fellow Soldier arrives to help.

"Combatives is one way to develop mastery. A great Samurai, Miyamoto Musashi, who wrote 'The Book of Five Rings' in the 1600s stated that with mastery of one-on-one combat, such as in Jiu Jitsu, one can master any task in life," said Guzman.

All Soldiers receive training in the basics of Army combatives during their military Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training. Clinics such as the one Gracie taught build on that foundations training and are a part of their Unit Sustainment Training in combatives.

After the clinic, Gracie stayed to take photos with and sign autographs for the Soldiers.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16