OKINAWA, Japan -- Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. The old boxing adage is similar to the military's own version: No plan survives contact with the enemy.
The Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group are well versed in adapting to the art of war and honed their hand-to-hand combat skills Sept. 3 at Torii Station during Fight Night VI -- a battalion level Modern Army Combatives competition.
"As a forward deployed Special Forces Battalion, we do all we can to stay sharp and focused on our warrior tasks," said Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Joshe Raetz. "Each of these Soldiers has spent weeks training for this event and will showcase their skills today."
Not only do the quarterly Fight Night events develop Soldiers' abilities to continue mission under threat of bodily harm, but enhance camaraderie as well.
"These events are a great way to increase the technical and tactical proficiency of our Soldiers, while also improving the unit's esprit de corps and pride," said Raetz. "Conducting physical events under stress and duress makes these soldiers combat ready."
From private to captain, 1st Battalion Soldiers utilized what they learned from the Modern Army Combatives Program to close the distance on their opponents. Modern Army Combatives began in 1995 with the 2nd Ranger Battalion and has since been adopted by units across the Army enterprise. Basic Combatives is one of the 40 Warrior Core Tasks of the Warrior Ethos initiative, according to Army officials.
"The benefit of combatives in garrison is being able to learn the abilities to fight in a safe environment so when you are in combat you know what to do to defeat your enemies," said Sgt. Patrick Yates, winner of the Lightweight Division.
For others, stepping into the ring not only sharpens tactical skills, but brings a sense of unit pride.
"The best part is the unit cohesion and emphasizing the importance of the Army combatives program," said Sgt. Willie Soto, who not only came away as the Middleweight Tournament winner, but fought in the Heavyweight Championship as a stand in. Soto's motivation and intensity in the ring brought the crowd of Soldiers and Families to their feet.
The event galvanized the fighting spirit of the battalion and motivated its Soldiers to prove that they are the best. Many trained with Level two and Level three MACP trainers during the weeks prior to the competition to improve their techniques.
"[The tournament] enforces the fact that at the core of everyone's [Military Occupational Specialty], they are a Soldier and one day they may have to fight the enemies of our country," said 1st Sgt. Daniel Nisthal.