FORT HOOD, Texas -- A team consisting of six Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade competed in the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries held Feb. 13-16 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base.
The "Warrior Diplomats" participated in a round-robin style event that tested the limits of their ground fighting and grappling abilities. With only a few weeks to prepare for the event, the team members endured the trials and tribulations of competitive fighting while learning that there are some things more important than winning.
"In order to prepare for an event like this, we had to spend countless amount of hours training early in the morning at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center on base," said Spc. Kyle B. Reemts, a radio and telephone operator assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th CA Bde. "The hardest aspect of it is just getting through all of the aches and pains of physical training -- once you get past that part, it's just a matter of asking yourself: "How far do you want to go?""
In addition to physical conditioning, the team members also had to hone their mental skills to help them face the challenges of hand-to-hand combat.
"I'm new to the sport, but I quickly learned that a lot of MMA fighting is a mind game," said Staff Sgt. Carlos O. Padilla, a civil affairs noncommissioned officer assigned to HHC, 85th CA Bde. "You have to always have a positive outlook; you have to try to keep yourself motivated; otherwise your fight is over before it begins."
Most of the team members had little or no mixed-martial arts experience going into the event. It was their lack of time on the mat that proved to be their down fall. Each member of the team was defeated by more seasoned fighters as the event progressed. Although the team did not win the tournament, it was the time spent with each other that made the experience worthwhile.
"At the beginning of our training, I really didn't know any of the other members," said Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan D. Galindo, a civil affairs team sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th CA Bde. "We grew closer and learned more about each other -- the camaraderie that we built will help in the daily work environment; we've already been through some tough times together so we know we can count on each other in the future."
Mixed martial arts continue to grow as a sport and Army combatives has become a normal part of a Soldiers training regimen. Fort Hood has become a hotbed for MMA action, winning the last two All-Army combatives competitions. During the opening ceremony of the 2012 preliminary matches, Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., commander of III Corps and Fort Hood said that Army combatives exemplifies both the Warrior Ethos as well as the Army values. "You are all here to represent your units; you are all fighting to represent Fort Hood so we can be the three-time all Army champion in July," he said.
The final matchups for the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Tournament are scheduled for Thursday, starting at 6 p.m. at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base.