By Spc. Raymond Quintanilla, USD-S PAOSeptember 17, 2010
BASRA, Iraq - Soldiers stationed in Basra are using combatives classes for much more than learning how to win hand to hand combat.
The discipline, concentration, physical fitness, and fearlessness required to succeed at Modern Army Combatives (MAC) helps to develop well-rounded Soldiers, according to Sgt. 1st Class Carl Fryday, a level four MAC instructor.
"We try to train the warrior spirit into Soldiers," said Fryday, a native of Sterlington, La., and the fire support noncommissioned officer for the 1st Infantry Division. "With the right kind of stress, Soldiers are forced to face their trepidations."
"The idea behind combatives is to teach how to engage the enemy, while your fellow Soldiers outflank them," Fryday said. "Take them down as a team and achieve numerical superiority."
"If every Soldier is confident in closing the distance with the enemy," Fryday said. "We're going to be more successful, that's the overall goal." Fryday said adding more striking into the training program emphasizes a combat focus, unlike preparing for a competition.
"Through this, we can train courage."
"It's a confidence builder," said Chief Warrant Officer David Hemingway, a level two combatives instructor from Utica, N.Y.
"To give a junior Soldier the opportunity to face adversity and come beyond it," Hemingway said. "It reflects back in their work environment."
The goal of MAC, which incorporates techniques from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other forms of martial arts, is to provide realistic training and develop programs made available for different size units.
It consists of four levels. Level one covers basic fighting skills and is the pedestal of the upper three levels. Levels two through four are instructor courses, which in turn provide training from company level to division, respectively.
Sgt. 1st Class Jeneen Saucedo, a native of San Bernardino, Calif. and military police noncommissioned officer with the 1st Inf. Div. said combatives sharpens her instincts.
"It gives me the opportunity to employ tactics that will help defend those under my care as an NCO," Saucedo said. "It gives me a sense of being a Soldier first."
The individual skills and other attributes gained from combatives also enhances the Soldiers abilities in their battle rhythm.
"You see people change," Fryday said. "They start developing a sense of personal wealth, which bleeds into their military occupational skills."
While the work tempo can prove to be hectic at times, it is the responsibility for every Soldier to ensure their overall well-being meets or exceeds Army standards.
"We are Soldiers," Fryday said. "Whether with combatives or not, find a way to enhance your capabilities, find a way to be that warrior."