Fort Leonard Wood combatives tournament crowns top fighters
Combatives referee Jason Eggleston keeps an eye on (red) Master Sgt. Michael Hennessey, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital and (blue) Staff Sgt. Vincent Rosales, 14th Military Police Brigade, during the Fort Leonard Wood Combatives Tournament at Davidson Fitness Center May 5.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood conducted a post-level combatives tournament last week. Preliminaries were held May 3-4 at Shea Gym, with the final event at Davidson Fitness Center May 5.

"Combatives focuses on the warrior ethos and teaches Soldiers how to close with the enemy should they encounter a close quarters battle too close to use a weapon," said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Hughes, MSCoE G-3 and event coordinator.

"Army combatives is a functional, mixed martial art form combining Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, clinch hitting, takedowns and ground-fighting techniques and also employs techniques borrowed from judo, kick boxing and Greco-roman wrestling," Hughes added.

Forty fighters showed up to battle it out in the preliminaries for the championship title in one of eight weight classes; bantam weight, heavyweight, flyweight, lightweight, welterweight, light-heavyweight, middleweight and cruiserweight.

Only 15 of the fighters made it to the finals and both fighters competing for the championship were selected for the Fort Leonard Wood combative team to represent MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood at the All Army Combatives Tournament to be held July 20-23 at Fort Hood, Texas.

The uncontested bantam weight champion, Sgt. Shaiyla Hakeem, who is a certified in combatives at skill level two, participated in the All Army Combatives Tournament last year and is looking forward to the competition this year.

"Last time I went, it was my very first time to compete in any type of combatives tournament. I did well … I learned a lot from the bouts that I fought in, (but) this time I don't want to go to just compete -- I want to try and place in my weight class," Hakeem said.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Duncan, cruiserweight champion, has been in the combatives program since 2007 and is certified at skill level three. He said this will be his fourth time to fight in the All Army Combatives tournament.

"It's an awesome opportunity to be among the best Soldiers and the best warriors in the Army. It's an awesome experience being in an atmosphere and having all these top-notch, professional Soldiers around me," Duncan said. "I would go to war with any of these guys that have the guts to step in that ring or step into a cage."

More fighters who will compete on the Fort Leonard Wood combatives team are: heavyweight champion Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Tilberg, with runner-up Spc. Marc Miranda; flyweight champion Spc. Jay Jacobson, with runner-up Staff Sgt. John Perales; lightweight champion Staff Sgt. Vincent Rosales, with runner-up Master Sgt. Michael Hennessey; welterweight champion Spc. Timothy Brandon, with runner-up Staff Sgt. David Hopper; light-heavyweight champion Spc. Julio Delacruz, with runner-up Sgt. Maj. Bradley Cope; middleweight champion Pfc. Jonathan Cruz, with runner-up Sgt. Christopher Nunley, and cruiserweight runner-up Pfc. Sean Thomas.

Page last updated Wed May 9th, 2012 at 00:00