Newly trained instructors boost combatives program
September 28, 2012
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Fifteen Soldiers from the 229th Military Intelligence Battalion graduated from the Basic Combatives Course with a small ceremony held inside the Price Fitness Center Sept. 19.
The 40-hour course was a combination of hands-on instruction and skills demonstrations that included written tests. It is designed to create Level I-qualified instructors who can then teach basic combative drills and tasks to their fellow Soldiers.
After completing the course, certificates were presented to the Soldiers by 229th MI Bn. Commander Lt. Col. Frank Smith. Those certificates will be entered into the Soldiers' military records and reported to the Army Combatives Academy at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The class was taught by two Oregon National Guardsmen, Level III Combatives instructor Sgt. 1st Class Chris Elliott and Level II Combatives instructor Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Carver. Additional instruction was also provided by Maj. Brian Horvath, a certified level IV instructor currently at the nearby Naval Postgraduate School.
"What we are teaching is a fundamental set of ground skills and an introduction to striking skills--27 basic techniques in all," said Horvath. "We are not creating UFC fighters, we are not allowing someone to go into the cage, but it is an executable set of Soldier skills … they can acquire and take downrange with them. It also creates a cadre of instructors [who] can now teach these skills to other Soldiers or platoons."
According to Capt. Ryan Wempe, 229th MI Bn. Company B commander, the recent graduates play an important role in now being able to assist and support the Army's introductory combatives program at the Presidio that happens during their phase four training. Wempe said that they could not have offered the course without the outside help.
"The instructors coming all the way from Oregon and having the necessary certifications are an amazing help. Basically, we don't have all the resources locally to support this," said Wempe. "They've run it really well for us over the last four days."
Wempe said that ideally the course could be offered at the Presidio every four to six months.
"The course worked well this time, so hopefully it will gain some traction," said Wempe. "All the Soldiers here taking the course are volunteers. Basically, if they have time on either end of their language training and want to do it, if they can come here and knock this out, it will serve them well later on in their careers and from a self defense standpoint. They are getting some great knowledge."
For Spc. Colburn Sheppard, who volunteered to take the Basic Combatives Course, it was time well spent.
"The class was awesome. It was easy to learn, competitive and made sense. Everybody worked together really well, [the instructors] knew their stuff, and each had different ways of looking at each situation," said Sheppard, an admitted martial arts fan. "I think they should require it, I think it would be a good thing for everybody to learn."