FORT HOOD, Texas-Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment attend a week long Level I combatives course at the Kieschnick gym, here, Aug. 23 - 27.

The 25 Soldier class is the first battalion ran combatives program offered at the 41st Fires Brigade.

"We have enough Level III instructors to actually hold a class and therefore we can hold a class instead of relying on III Corps to send them to troop school to train." said Sgt. 1st Class James Platt, from Tulsa, Okla., a fires control platoon sergeant. "We are expediting the process in accordance to the Army needs because there is a limit on how many Soldiers we can send to troop schools."

The intent of the brigade is to have everyone certified Level I standard in accordance with Army Regulation 350-1. Classes are scheduled to be available every quarter.

"The Army says that everyone in the battalion needs to be Level I certified," said 1st Sgt. Edgar Fuentes, from Brooklyn, N.Y. "Our goal is to have people move up in skill level and teach other Soldiers in their squad."

To pass the course, Soldiers will have to pass a 10-question written test, and a techniques test.

"They go through a written test that covers the history of the combatives program and they also have a technique test where they go step by step and talk through all the techniques they learned," said Sgt. Parris Bussiere, from Cape Cod, Mass., with Headquarter and Headquarter Battery. Bussiere is a Level III basic combative instructor who volunteered to help teach the class.

The 40-hour class is physically demanding and the Soldiers must remember five tasks and 13 moves in order to graduate.

"Within this past week, I have been more tired and more exhausted mentally than even in basic," said Pvt. Jorge Paramo, from Arab, Ala. "This is a great self defense class and I have learned how to avoid trouble and assess the situation."

Spc. Habakkuk Kin, originally from Monterrey, Calif., agreed that the course has taught him a lot.

"This class has changed my mentality and perspective when it comes to martial arts because I was taught my whole life to do one thing and the class showed me another way," said Kin. "This course is modified and tailored for when we go out and go down range. This is something everyone should know."