By Mr. Matt Decker (Leonard Wood)July 27, 2017
Fort Leonard Wood service members can test their hand-to-hand fighting skills and earn points for their units during the installation-wide Fort Leonard Wood Combatives Tournament, scheduled Aug. 28 through 31 at Davidson Fitness Center.
This will be the third tournament held jointly by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports Department and the post's Modern Army Combatives Program, and is part of the ongoing Commander's Cup series for the 2017 fiscal year.
Much like previous combatives events, this year's tournament will consist of three different rounds of competition that increase in difficulty each day, according to Staff Sgt. Justin Helt, the Combatives master trainer with the 5th Engineer Battalion, which runs the MACP schoolhouse on post.
"The first level uses standard rules, which only allows wrestling-based moves with submissions -- so, there is no striking or anything like that," Helt said. "The second round uses intermediate rules, which is just like standard, except there is striking -- you are allowed to punch and kick. The last round uses advanced rules -- and that's a real fight."
During the last round, participants will wear mixed-martial-arts gloves and compete in a UFC-style octagon, said Helt, who is the tournament director.
"We call it a 'tactical enclosure,'" he said. "Everything goes up to the end. They either give up and submit -- or, we've almost had people get knocked out. It's a full-contact match."
The tournament will be officiated and judged by MACP officials, which allows the Sports Branch to offer Army Combatives, one of the "core sports" outlined in the Army Sports Program, according to Danny Howell, FMWR Sports specialist.
"The Combatives Program has all the officials, scorekeepers, etc. -- they know all the ins and outs of the Army Combatives Program, and so they provide that piece of the logistics for us," Howell said. "We help with the bracketing, assigning points and that sort of thing."
The tournament is open to all permanent party service members, as well as students in the Basic Officer Leader Course and Captains Career Course who are allowed to compete by their respective chains of command, Helt said.
No previous certifications are required to enter the tournament, although Helt noted that the MCAP schoolhouse does offer training.
"If someone wants to come and train, we do training, but you do not have to be certified to participate in the tournament," Helt said. "The day of the event, we will give participants a briefing before each match, letting them know what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do."
The winning unit will take home the 2017 Commander's Cup Combatives Tournament Trophy. Teams can also earn points toward the yearlong Commander's Cup trophy simply by participating, Howell said.
"(Participants) will be awarded points based on where they finish in their bracket, which is based on their weight," Howell said. "The team with the most points at the end of the night will win the tournament."
A weigh-in is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 28 at DFC.
To enter the tournament, participants should contact Helt at 719.393.3013 or send an email to email@example.com. Participating units will also need to contact the Sports Department.
"(Participants) will sign up for the tournament, but their unit also needs to submit a letter of intent to the Sports Department," Howell said. "Participants will also need to have a current physical -- within the last 30 days -- with clearance to fight by a medical doctor. The deadline to submit letters of intent is Aug. 23. The coaches meeting will be held Aug. 24."