Technical knowledge is winning factor in 500th MI Bde.’s combatives tourney

| October 28, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Jaime J. Rodriguez
205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade

The eventual lightweight champ, Spc. Luis Torres (top) and welterweight champ Pfc. Colin Burgess try to choke each other out in an early elimination round. The two Soldiers competed in the 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., Level-One Combatives Tournament.FORT SHAFTER — In front of an audience of their peers, 30 Soldiers twisted, pulled, tossed and choked their opponents down to the ground, in the recent Level One Combatives Tournament held by the 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, at the gymnasium, here, Oct. 15. 

The tournament was broken down into lightweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions. 

Although Capt. Courtney Britt, commander, Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., quickly became a force to be reckoned with, it soon became evident that the Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment were the ones to beat. 

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment went on to claim victory in three divisions despite valiant efforts from Pfc. Antoine Jefferson, Co. C., and Pfc. Lee Clayton, Co. A.

Spc. Luis Torres was named lightweight winner; Pfc. Colin Burgess, welterweight winner; and Capt. Michael John, heavyweight winner.  

“As a lightweight division fighter, I have always had to rely on technique,” Torres explained. “By fighting with people heavier than me, I learned to win without relying on strength or weight.”

How knowledge of techniques wins over sheer strength and weight alone was easily proved when middleweight winner Britt went head-to-head with John to battle for the tournament’s overall winning title. Britt won. 

“(The) entire focus was to pin him to the mat quickly, use my body weight to control him and attempt to gather points while I’m on top,” John said, “but the opposite happened. I ended up on the bottom and wasn’t able to recover, which led to a poor decision of exposing my arm, resulting in a devastating straight-arm bar. 

“In my opinion, I wasn’t aggressive enough, and it showed when he overpowered me from the beginning,” John said. “This fight taught me a great lesson: Never judge a person by his stature.” 

Another surprise came from Burgess’ win, which also showed the importance of combatives fundamentals, even though Burgess has only been training in combatives for a short time.

“All of the fighters did a great job, but I think the biggest surprise was Pfc. Burgess,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Moore, first sergeant, HHD, and tournament referee. “He did an excellent job with the limited knowledge (of combatives that) he has.” 

“Combatives not only teaches hand-to-hand combat, but it (also) teaches having a warrior mentality, or as some call it, having a battlemind,” John said. “Combatives is also used for physical conditioning; it teaches Soldiers how to subdue an opponent without using a weapon. 

“Most importantly, combatives instills discipline and confidence,” he said. “Having a complete and rigorous program, Soldiers not only realize the importance of survival, but they understand teamwork and esprit de corps.”

The unit’s next combatives tournament is scheduled for January 2011. 


Combatives Champions


  • Overall – Capt. Courtney Britt
  • Lightweight – Spc. Luis Torres 
  • Middleweight – Capt. Courtney Britt
  • Welterweight – Pfc. Colin Burgess
  • Heavyweight – Capt. Michael John



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