Raiders are hitting the mat at Fort Stewart
November 30, 2011
Early one morning, after the sun breaks above the tree lines, more than 20 Fort Stewart Soldiers wearing Army Combat Uniforms appear to be wrestling on the ground. It's sunny and warm outside of the Raider Brigade Headquarters building, and an instructor close to the Soldiers is yelling out words of motivation and direction.
"Pull that arm tighter, you got this!" said Staff Sgt. Casey Enos, a section sergeant and a Modern Army Combatives instructor assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division.
These Soldiers are not wrestling, but are training in a self-defense system called MAC, and much like Mixed Martial Arts, MAC combines striking techniques such as boxing and karate, along with ground-based fighting arts that include wrestling and jujitsu as a focus point. A few goals of MAC are to teach self-protection skills, while endowing Soldiers with the ability to kill their enemies in a close-combat environment.
"MAC is a program that was developed and implemented after finding a need to have a reality-based fighting system," said Staff Sgt. Enos.
During the time Soldiers train with the MAC system, a bond begins to form among them, as a result of the dangerous nature of the training and close proximity.
"As the bond between Soldiers strengthens during MAC training, an individual unit's morale can shoot through the roof, providing for a highly trained and motivated force," said Staff Sgt. Enos.
Similar to how MMA camps focus on team building and morale during training classes, MAC focus on esprit de corps by stressing teamwork and maintaining a healthy level of competition amongst themselves during training.
We normally learn two to four different MAC techniques during a block of training and then we go at it with some intense sparring and team-on-team competitions, said Staff Sgt. Enos.
The core values of MAC, combined with the warrior mentality which Soldiers inherently hold dear, create a quality program which Soldiers will want to continue to train in for some time to come.
"Each skill level requires time, competency and motivation; time being the biggest killer in level certification," said Staff Sgt. Enos.
"Hey, you ok?" shouts Staff Sgt. Enos as a Soldier breaks from his MAC training and to get a drink of water. As he bends down and starts to sip from his water bottle, he swipes at the sweat and dirt covering his face. His top is drenched and he appears ready to keel over.
"Yeah, I got this," replies the Soldier.
And with a look of pure determination, the Soldier gets to his feet and heads back to the group, ready for one more round.