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Karl Williams and Gary Schafer, training for the 2011 All-Army Combatives Tournament, demonstrate a grappling move Wednesday as taught by Matt Larsen’s Combat Training Fitness Center instructor Monte Massey.

Ten soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, who make up one-third of the 3rd ID All-Army combatives team, will compete July 20-23 at the All-Army Combatives Tournament on Fort Hood, Texas.

3rd Brigade combatives team captain Christopher Haskell said his brigade normally trains with the 1st, 2nd and 4th Brigade All-Army competitors at Fort Stewart, Ga., but this year, the brigade surprised the 3rd ID by earning 14 of 24 finalist spots. Six other Soldiers, who placed third or fourth in their weight classes, will be used as alternates. Haskell said some of those finalists are battling injuries and may not be able to compete at Fort Hood.

“They thought they might have one or two here and take them to Fort Stewart,” Haskell said. “When we took 10 of the final spots in the championships, it created a very interesting situation.

“This is the first time all the brigades will combine as one big team. We’ve done well in the past and we hope to bring home the championship. There are only 30 (Soldiers) in a division of 10,000 who get this opportunity. It’s a pretty great experience.”

With a new training program in place, Haskell said he and his team train each day for about eight hours.
“We’re not just training or doing PT,” Haskell said. “It’s three areas " technical, physical and mental. It helps turn the training into one process to maximize performance. We set a goal and we create a daily action plan to reach that goal. This is such a comprehensive train-up " it’s the best I’ve seen. I hope it makes a
difference in competition.”

The training day begins at 6 a.m. with two hours of personal training followed by an injury prevention class from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. For the last five hours, the Soldiers train with Monte Massey, manager and lead instructor of Matt Larsen’s Combat Training Fitness Center in Phenix City.

After the technical portion of the day is finished, the group moves on to what Haskell called the “mental” portion.

“We get ourselves at the right energy level … then we focus on what we did well to build confidence.” Haskell said.

Massey, a former 3rd ID Soldier, a level four combatives expert and black belt in Brazilian jujitsu, volunteers his time to teach the Soldiers technical and mental skills and endurance needed to win. Training eight hours each day, he said, will prepare the Soldiers for the three days of fights at the All-Army tournament.

“The technical guy is not the guy who is going to be there at the end,” Massey said. “It’s the guy who is most physically fit and mentally prepared.”

Having already practiced the training method for five weeks, with one more week to go, Massey said training as a team is essential as they continue to work toward the Wednesday deadline.

“They push each other,” Massey said. “I think they’re training harder than anyone in the Army right now.”

Page last updated Thu July 14th, 2011 at 00:00