ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Soldiers of the Army Sustainment Command gathered and paired up on mats at the RIA Community Fitness Center, Oct. 1, for some of the most energetic schooling they are likely to ever receive.

Level 4 tactical combatives instructors, Sgts. 1st Class Travis Nargang and Jay Denton, closely watched the students of their level 1 Modern Army Combatives course.

"To see the Soldiers grasp the concept and execute the moves after showing them is great," said Nargang. "To see them apply the moves without thinking them through shows that not only is their skill level increasing, but also their confidence."

Nargang trains off post at the Miletich Training Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. The training center was once the former stomping grounds of Ultimate Fighting Championship legends Matt Hughes, Tim Sylvia, and Jens Pulver, and has been referred to as the mecca of the mixed martial arts world. Prior to his assignment at ASC, Nargang trained with MMA fighters in Clarksville, Tenn.

The Department of the Army made the Modern Army Combatives Program part of its requirement for passing initial entry training and Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. Originally developed in 2005 and based heavily on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques perfected by the famous Gracie family, a prominent sporting family from Brazil known for their founding of the techniques, the program now has a full complement of instructors based at the U.S. Army Combatives School at Fort Benning, Ga.

"It is satisfying to see the confidence that Soldiers get once they go through the course," said Denton.

For Denton, the best part of instructing is knowing that he has had a direct hand in training Soldiers for upcoming deployments.

The instruction lasted four days and laid the groundwork for the Soldiers to progress to level 2, which will be offered to all service members assigned to Rock Island Arsenal in January 2013. The next level 1 class is scheduled for Nov. 26-30.

Capt. Marsha Reveal, the ASC deputy surgeon and environmental science and engineering officer, believes it is imperative for all leaders to be able to defend themselves and their Soldiers if needed.

"All leaders should be confident enough to step in, pull their weight, take a fair share of the work, if Soldiers lives are at stake or at risk," said Reveal. "This applies to combat obviously, but also in real-world scenarios.

"Particularly for a female," she added, "this training is physically demanding, but provides the confidence a female needs if she is attacked."

The training was tough and physically demanding, she said, but what impressed her most the level of expertise demonstrated by the instructors.

"They did an amazing job, focused on technique and application in real-world scenarios," she said.

The 14-year Army veteran recommends the course for any Soldier regardless of their rank or position.

"For some, it's embarrassing to go down to combatives training with all levels; enlisted, et cetera, and get beaten up by the young private," said Reveal. "But, it is absolutely imperative that leaders are not afraid to roll on the mats with the troops. That's how skill, confidence and technique develop."

Everyone can benefit from the training "physically, spiritually, and mentally," she said. "The training was beneficial and I look forward to more training with (Nargang and Denton)."

She has plans to attend the level 2 course and, ultimately, attain her level 3 certification.

For Nargang and Denton it's a chance for them to teach a valuable skill to the Soldiers that fulfills the Army's mandate.

"Combatives is a requirement in the Army at all levels, regardless if it's a (deployable) unit or not," said Nargang. "It promotes an aggressive posture within the ranks and pushes Soldiers to their physical limits."