Combatives students learn to strike back through nonlethal methods

| May 14, 2010 | 0 Comments

Sgt. Ricardo Branch
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER — Soldiers train to fight and stop the enemy by any means necessary, and often, the methods include lethal force. 

However, for one group of Soldiers, combative training has provided them with an arsenal of new weapons to stop the enemy through nonlethal force.

Soldiers came from units all across Oahu to certify in combatives level I training during a 40-hour class, May 3-7, at the gymnasium, here.

“Combatives is helpful for Soldiers because it builds their motivation and gives them a new way to stop the enemy,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Thorton, intelligence noncommissioned officer in charge, 84th Engineer Battalion. 

Modern Army combatives began in 1995 when the commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion ordered a reinvigoration of martial arts training within the battalion. Sgt. 1st Class Willie Coleman, combatives instructor, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, is just one of a few teachers of the modern method the Army has adapted to teach Soldiers additional combat skills.

“It’s really something everyone should go for,” Coleman said. “The Army runs a very good training program with safety as a big priority. It’s a good experience, which will help you in a variety of ways … and not just in self-defense.”

Thorton went on to break down some of the benefits that Coleman echoed during the class. 

“You can be in hand-to-hand combat one day with the enemy, so it’s important you know how to take them down safely and with the least amount of risk to yourself and your opponent,” he said. “Combatives can often be a better alternative than just shooting your enemy because shooting first is not always the best answer.”

During the training, Soldiers went through a variety of holds and take downs throughout the week, eventually culminating in clench holds during the infamous punch drills. 

The punch drills involved Soldiers neutralizing the attacker, who was in full attack mode. 

The catch, however, was for the combatives student to refrain from striking back.

“This is a physically challenging class,” said Spc. Fred Prince, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment. “I went through a lot of this training at my unit and during basic training, so it was more of a refresher for me. 

“However, once the punching begins, all you have to rely on is your training, so I had a lot of fun,” said Prince.

For the Soldiers leaving the Fort Shafter gym, combatives training will go a long way to ensure they return to their units and pass down the added knowledge gained during level I certification.

“They have thoroughly impressed me,” Coleman said. “Often in these classes, there’s usually one Soldier who gets knocked out during the clench drills, but none in this class. 

It’s a testament to them paying attention and giving it their all,” he said.

Category: News, Training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *