By Spc. Jarrett BranchMay 12, 2011
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash., May 12, 2011 -- Domination knows no gender. The sheer force of a shin kick or the devastating power behind double hammer fists whaling down upon a fallen opponent is enough to make any smart coach know when to throw in the towel.
Pfc. Jennifer Jones, a Soldier with 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is one of those competitors who doesn't let gender stop her from remaining a force to be reckoned with.
Jones became the first-ever female fighter in the history of combatives competitions on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to advance to the final round of an event May 5, 2011, when she took top honors for her weight class during the second annual JBLM Combatives Tournament.
Jones overcame all odds and brought home the Bantamweight class championship belt, but she's not letting her victory erase the memory of what it took to get her to that point.
"After I completed level-one combatives training, I continued to train for about four months," Jones reflected. "Before the tournament I found out there were not many competitors in my weight class. So, I decided to come out here and give it a shot."
"My game plan during my (final) fight was to conserve my energy," she said. "It was going to be a long match."
"I think, in a way, females cause male competitors to get a little scared because they are not sure of what the female is going to do," Jones added. "I feel females are more flexible and some are more aggressive during their matches. I don't take what happens during my match personally. I'm just here to compete."
Jones did more than just give the tournament a shot. Now, she has the opportunity to fight for the All-Army Combatives Team - something many competitors train for but few are given the opportunity to carry out.
Still, Jones believes it's not all about the competition or about choking out opponents. To her, it's about learning the skills she might need to defend herself in any type of situation.
"I feel it's a good idea (learning combatives), because females need to learn self defense," she said. "Combatives gives you the tools needed to prevent yourself from being attacked. That is why learning different types of takedowns has been my favorite aspect of the combatives program. If someone were to attack me I would be able to defend myself and bring them down to the ground."
After the bout, Jones recapped the day's events and assessed her performance during the championship match. By the size of the championship belt she sported around her waist it was hard not to doubt the cast-iron skills she demonstrated.
"It feels awesome. I'm setting a trend, and now other females are going to be doing it (winning championships)," Jones added. "I wanted a knockout, but I didn't get one. My opponent hit me a few good times and was a lot stronger than I thought he would be. When I started with my double hammer fist, I knew the match was going in my favor."
"There's no reason a female Soldier cannot be able to hold her own in the ring," she added.
Female Soldiers like Jones are not only earning the respect of their peers when they prove themselves successful in combatives, they're also showing future generations of Soldiers what it takes to be first-rate combatants.
"I feel being a combatives instructor is a privilege, and it's a big accomplishment for me," said Pfc. Emerald Robinson, a Soldier with the 295th Quartermaster Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 593rd Sustainment Brigade. "It's not easy, because you have to be motivated and have a lot of will power and heart.
"I think we (women) are doing very well (in combatives)," Robinson said. "I feel that more women are starting to come out and train. Women are not as intimidated as they were in the past. Also, I feel that male Soldiers are very supportive of the female participation."
"It's a great opportunity, and I feel every female in the Army should try it out at least once," she added.