By Spc. David Dyer, 3-1 CavFebruary 19, 2010
Most nights at Contingency Operating Station Shocker, a pile of 40 or more boots sit outside the entrance to an otherwise unremarkable tent.
Inside, the setting is a Dojo.
The students are a mixture of Dragoons from "Assassin" A Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and Ugandan security force members from Saber International, who guard COS Shocker.
Led by Major Rob Boone, a third-degree black belt in Matasubuyashi Shurin-Ryu with over 12 years of martial arts experience, students have the chance to learn and progress through the ranking system and earn belts that will be recognized wherever they go.
Matasubuyashi Shurin-Ryu is a school of Okinawan Tomari-te Karate founded by Shoshin Nagamine in 1947.
It is one of the better-documented traditional karate styles, owing to Nagamine's book, The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do as well as Tales of the Masters.
Boone, who has been a certified karate instructor for four years, is assisted by Maj. Charles Krieger, a first degree black belt in Jujitsu with five years of experience.
"I really enjoy it" said Staff Sgt. Bill Morris of B Troop 3rd Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., who is currently attached to A Troop. "I get to pick up new skills and work out at the same time," he said.
The temperature inside the crowded dojo tent climbs quickly as the students practice the various "katas," detailed choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs, and work on conditioning drills.
Matasubuyashi Shurin-Ryu's curriculum includes 18 separate kata.
In a combat environment, effective means of relaxing and relieving stress can be difficult to find. Martial arts expend energy, provide exercise and even relieve stress for many service members.
By the end of the night's lesson at COS Shocker, smiles and jokes are exchanged as boots are pulled back on and laced up.
"It's a great way to relieve stress...and a lot of fun," said Falak Mir Shafi, a Soldier in A Troop.