HONOLULU -- "The adrenaline rush you feel is intense. I felt my heart beating in my stomach; like I was going to puke and then all at once I was enraged. I told my opponent that I was not going to fight for 10 minutes, either he was going to tap or I was," said Sgt. Dominique Ramos.

Ramos, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Developmental Pediatrics Clinic, Tripler Army Medical Center, loves describing her final bout from the Level 3 Modern Army Combatives Program Training at Fort Benning, Ga.

At the course, she defeated an 11B, or infantryman, who is a drill sergeant, with a cross-collar choke hold. The three minute and 30 second bout won her the title of honor graduate during her Level 3 course.

"I am proud of myself, but it is still a humbling experience … there is always someone better than you," Ramos explained. "I like to fight with people who are better than me, so that I can become better."

Ramos didn't learn combatives in basic training, and even though the drill sergeants demonstrated some moves, it all seemed very vague. At her first duty station at Fort Sill, Okla., when she observed some combatives training, she didn't think combatives was for her.

However, when Ramos' supervisor wanted to take the first course, she convinced Ramos to join her.

Ramos said once she actually completed Level 1, it was like she had been bitten by a bug and has loved combatives ever since.

For Ramos, a big part of her fascination and love for the sport is Soldier education. As a medic, Ramos does not know what unit she'll be attached to overseas when deployed.

"We never know what type of situation we are going to face and when overseas we are not guaranteed to be placed in a combat support hospital," Ramos said. "We could be placed in a unit that does routine patrols. It is important all Soldiers know how to engage the enemy tactfully and safely.

"Combatives ties into a lot of that and it is not just about hand-to-hand combat, but tactical situations" Ramos added.

Ramos is spending November at Fort Benning to complete Level 4 training and is looking forward to help train other Soldiers.

Being physically and mentally tough is important for all Soldiers, but Ramos hopes to especially remind female Soldiers to keep that at the forefront of their careers.

"I don't like to consider myself hardcore; I like to consider myself a hard worker," Ramos explained. "No one likes getting punched in the face. I remember getting hit in the face once, right in the nose, and I remember tearing up and telling myself 'you are not going to cry.' Combatives is part of my Soldier skills."