By Steven L. Shepard, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsMarch 22, 2012
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- The Presidio's Better Opportunity for Single Service Members organization teamed up with the 229th Military Intelligence Battalion to hold its first combatives tournament inside the Price Fitness Center Gym March 16.
More than two dozen Soldiers were divided among three distinct weight classes to compete in the single elimination tournament. Trophies were awarded to the first-place winners in each weight class at the conclusion of the matches by Presidio of Monterey Garrison's Command Sgt. Maj. Olga Martinez.
For Spc. James Quigley, 229th MI Bn., mastering combative training and techniques may make the difference for Soldiers in matters of life or death.
"Being a Soldier is about being a warrior. We are trying to stay in the fight and survive," explained Quigley. "There are times downrange where you might be too close that you can't get to your weapon or might be brought to the ground and tackled and you must gain a dominant position to stay alive. A common combative move such as a guard position, where you wrap your legs around a standing opponent from the ground to control his hip movement, keeps you from being attacked and can allow you to transition to a sweep move or attack."
Quigley was one of the two referees at the tournament, both of whom have been trained by the Army as Level III Combatives Instructors which qualifies them to certify Level I Combatives and referee Level I matches. Quigley explain some of the rules and the point system used to determine the winners.
"Points only come into play if the match is not ended by submission before time expires. A submission is gained by either having the opponent tapout or choked out," said Quigley. "A takedown without dominant position is worth two points. Takedowns with dominant position, sweeps, guard-pass, and knee-mounts are worth three points. A full-mount or rear-mount is worth four points. If a competitor is deemed to be too passive in a match we can award his opponent two points, and if they appear to be stalling we can give their opponent one point."
Quigley added that they also watch for illegal moves such as wrist manipulation, leg-locks, ankle-locks, single-digit manipulation, or excessive smothering of the face with the ground or their uniform.
As with any type of activity with a high risk for injury, safety was a top priority. BOSS and 229th MI Bn., members worked closely with Soldiers from the California Medical Detachment-Monterey during the planning stages to help mitigate any unnecessary risks for the event.
Sgt. Matthew Milczarski was one of two Army medics on scene for the tournament keeping an eye on the Soldiers.
"At any kind of combatives event the risk will be high because you are doing a full-contact sport with no protection except a mouth piece, and a groin cup for the males. But the payout is great because it gives the Soldiers confidence in a combative situation, physical fitness, and tests their courage," said Milczarski. "We had a safety brief prior to the tournament to help take away some of the extra risks and the one important message we stressed to the participants was to make sure they knew that they were all on the same team, that at the end of the day they are not enemies but just opponents for a brief period of time."
For Spc. Michael Medina, 229th MI Bn., Company F, the combatives tournament was a chance to change up his daily routine as a student at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and do something different.
"If I make it out of here alive I will be happy," Medina joked, adding that he wasn't really worried about getting hurt. "I'm just going to give it my best effort and have as much fun as I possibly can. This is an all-Army thing and we all know each other; we are all friends and classmates. It's just a chance to get to hone our skills and get to have a little fun at the same time. These are things that we first learned in basic training and we practice throughout our Army careers."
Winners for the tournament were: Upper Weight Class - Pfc. Matthew White, Middle Weight Class - Pvt. Newton, Marshall, Lower Weight Class - Pvt. Williams, Nelson