By Sgt. Karl Williams, 3HBCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.May 7, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - In a Quonset hut, here, on Fort Hood, sixteen- pairs of Soldiers from faced one another with their hands up, each eyeing his opponent, searching for possible openings to take advantage of.
They launch toward a gap in their adversary's vulnerable defenses, but their opponents quickly side-stepped them, and they find themselves in the grasp of a tight choke hold.
The Soldiers release one another, turn towards the on-looking instructor, and listens as he explains how they were able to successfully stop and reverse the opposing Soldier's attack.
For Soldiers with A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Modern Army Combatives are skills troopers must train on annually.
Soldiers need 40-hours of training to become certified, and Army regulations states a unit should develop as many skilled combatives instructors as possible.
1SG Jaime Martinez, from Catano, Puerto Rico, said Soldiers that get their certification will be able to help certify the other Soldiers within the battery.
Ground techniques are taught first because they're the safest and easiest to learn, said Staff Sgt. Ben Zucker, a skill level-4 combative instructor with the 4th Sustainment Brigade.
"Pride is one of the first barriers the Soldiers have to overcome in MAC - no one likes to fail, however if they don't understand something they should ask, it might save a life," said Zucker, from Olympia, Wash.
Pfc. Cameron Carpenter, was excited to be participating in the MAC certification training.
"It really adds to your confidence knowing that you can defend yourself," said Carpenter, from Friendswood, Texas. "This training is more than just stringing a few punches together, its hand-to-hand combat, and it can't get any more real than that."
Despite the bumps and bruises that come along with the training Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Marciszewski, also recognizes the benefits.
"Yeah, the training is tough, but it's a good opportunity for the Soldiers to learn how to defend themselves in dangerous situations. They're not training to be become professional mixed martial art fighters, they're learning valuable self-defense techniques that they can bring back to battery and train our guys," said Marciszewski, a gunnery sergeant, from Wichita Falls, Texas.
Out of the thirty-two Soldiers going through the MAC certification, only nineteen were certified, the other thirteen will retrain with the other troops in the battery.
"A defining characteristic of a warrior is the willingness to close the distance between himself and the enemy," said Zucker. "The Soldiers who earn their certification leave here as better fighters, confidence and are willing to close that distance."