By Sgt. Gretchen Goodrich, 35th ADA BdeApril 17, 2009
HUMPHREYS GARRISON - Arm bars, cross-collar chokes and strikes set the tone for the 35th Air Defense Artillery Combatives Tournament held in the Osan Air Base gym, April 4.
A total of 120 competitors from across the peninsula and Japan formed teams to compete in the day-long tournament that tested their combative skills, agility and endurance.
While competitors came from each branch of service, fighters followed the rules and regulations of Modern Army Combatives. During the starting matches, competitors were restricted to earning points through take-downs and submissions. As the matches progressed, regulations gave combatants opportunities to slap, punch, kick and even use their knees to take down their opponent, said event coordinator Spc. Patricia Nicholas, 35th ADA BDE.
Those who won the preliminaries fought in a middle boxing room, surrounded by cheering fans. Brawlers who braved the ring and won, walked away with a medal and bragging rights for the entire year ahead.
Pfc. Jennifer Schlein, Headquarters Detachment, 94th Military Police Battalion, snatched away the women's middle-weight title from Pfc. Shelly Najera of Headquarters Battery, 35th ADA BDE in a spirited battle.
Staff Sgt. Katherine Atkinson of Charlie Battery, 3rd Battalion, 2nd ADA Battalion, squashed Pfc. Catalina Velasquez of Headquarters Battery, 35th ADA BDE, for the women's heavyweight title.
"She was a more experienced fighter and had much better skills that I did," said Velasquez. "I couldn't do anything but try and defend myself the entire time."
Sgt. Ruben Covarrubias of Alpha Company, 524th Military Intelligence Battalion, won the men's lightweight division title following a match with Staff Sgt. Chito Anicete of the 51st Aerospace Medical Services.
The welter-weight title went to Sgt. Ian Peters of Team Yongsan after a hearty fist-throwing fight with Cpl. Christopher Muniz, 3-2 ADA who walked in second.
While the other fights took a mere one to two rounds to complete, the middle-weight battle took an entire 15 minutes. After the long engagement, Capt. Jiwan Chung walked away as middle-weight champion, leaving Sgt. William Majestic with 3-2 ADA in a close second.
Although he was fighting for first place, Majestic accepted the second place medal with a smile. "It was my first Mixed Martial Arts competition so I went into the tournament to just have fun," said Majestic.
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Duncan, 8th Army Chaplain's office pounded Spc. Mark Richardson, Bravo Company, 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion, into a second place finish, leaving Duncan as the cruiserweight champion.
Duncan had a reputation that Richardson said he was was well aware of before heading into the ring. "I was proud to take second against such a good fighter," said Richardson.
Sgt. 1st Class Brandt Vansoolen, of 1-1 ADA, in Japan knocked out 2nd Lt. Edward Murtagh of Alpha Battery, 4-5 ADA, with a jaw-dropping left uppercut, leaving Murtagh in second and claiming the light heavyweight title for himself.
Airman 1st Class David Gay, of the 51st Security Forces, slammed Sgt. 1st Class Erick Clark, of 3-2 ADA, to the ground during the heavyweight finals, giving Gay the heavyweight title of the event. While it was Clark's last time to be competing in a combatives tournament, it was Gay's first competition.
Team Yongsan walked away with the team trophy for accumulating the most points throughout the entire event.