CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq - The United States Army Modern Combatives Program combines correct grappling techniques, proper positioning and the use of body energy in a disciplined manner to strive toward one thing -- ending a fight quickly.
Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, "Horsemen," 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division completed 40 hours of level one combatives training to become certified assistant instructors during a weeklong train-the-trainer session, Aug. 17-24.
The combatives program, which is centrally located at Ft. Benning, Ga., is founded on understanding the value of realistic combatives training. The program emphasizes realistic training, for realistic results.
During the weeklong training, 16 Horsemen experienced this philosophy as they learned different defensive holds, take down and submission techniques to gain an advantage over an opponent.
Once the Soldiers grasped the techniques, they moved into the three main requirements of becoming certified assistant instructors: a written exam, a hands-on technique demonstration, and "the clinch."
The Soldiers completed a five question written exam that tested the amount of combatives knowledge learned during the training.
A technique demonstration allowed the Soldiers to show and explain step-by-step how to safely perform the holds and take down techniques they learned.
The most grueling of task, called "the clinch," challenged the Soldiers to successfully perform one of three defensive holds to stop an attacking opponent. The only stipulation for the Soldiers was they could not punch their opponents back; but could only use the defensive holds to end the barrage of pounding fists.
During the training a curious onlooker commented that it is a nerve-racking experience knowing you're about to be hit.
"Inspite of the bumps, cuts and bruises sustained in the clinch, every Soldier was able to realize their self confidence and get someone to the ground and effectively take them out of the fight," said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Coleman, 37, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., level four combatives instructor, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
The brigade command sergeant major requested a combatives training team come to Iraq and train the Soldiers of the brigade before returning back to Hawaii. By completing the training in Iraq, the Soldiers will have additional time to spend with their loved ones upon redeployment to Hawaii.
"The training we do here will save these Soldiers one week or two weeks of being away from their families...and going all the way to Ft. Benning to receive this combatives training," said Sgt. 1st Class Don Earl Quiambao, 37, of San Diego, Calif., a combatives instructor, and a brigade operations noncommissioned officer on rear detachment back in Hawaii.
The Soldiers selected for the training hold many different Military Occupational Specialties in the brigade and represent the wide spectrum of Soldiers who make up the Headquarters.
"The importance of all job specialties in the Army knowing these combatives techniques can show itself at anytime," said Staff Sgt. Joe Stanfield, 30, of Del City, Okla., the brigade Chaplain's noncommissioned officer in charge.
"You never know, your primary weapon might malfunction and you might have to engage your enemy in hand-to-hand combat; with these techniques you have a chance to still win the fight," he continued.
"These are basic needed an aviator you would think that I don't need to know combatives because I fly helicopters, but that is not true...once I'm on the ground I will be in the same boat as everyone else," said Capt. Keira Zimmerman, 25, of Wakakilo, HI, assistant Brigade Aviation Officer. "Having the confidence of knowing that in any given situation I will be able to defend myself and others is also rewarding," she continued.
With completion of the training course, the Soldiers are now able to assist level three combatives instructors pass on the valuable techniques to their fellow comrades.
Coleman described the outlook that those teaching and participating in the combatives program should have.
"Teach these combatives techniques safely, and make it enjoyable and have fun with it...combatives should not be like regular Army training such as marksmanship or physical training, but it should be fun, to the standard and safe," he said, giving his charge to the Soldiers.