Chapter 9: Hand to Hand Combat
“This is no cake-walk. This might end up saving your life.”
Halfway into basic training, we began a series of training called “combatives”.
Combatives is the Army’s form of mixed-martial arts. It combines the arts of Brazilian Jujitsu and other various fighting forms to prepare soldiers for hand to hand combat.
“Privates, at the end of this we will hold a tournament. We will split you up by weight class, and you will fight each other to prove who is the best. People have been injured. Do not be stupid.”
There was to be a week straight of Combatives training. Brazilian Jujitsu, for those who do not know, is the art of “ground fighting”. If you have ever seen a fight, you will observe that it usually goes to the ground. Brazilian Jujitsu is about using the opponents momentum and balance against them in order to obtain the dominant position. Below, I have included pictures to kind of give you a visual idea.
A spar with someone usually is called “rolling”, in regards to Brazilian Jujitsu; you end up rolling over your opponent a lot, because both of you are trying to achieve a dominant position. Using various amounts of chokes (triangle choke, rear-naked choke, etc.) and bars (either leg or arm, the act of pushing it beyond a joint’s bending capabilities, giving you the ability to break the ligament and cause a shitload of pain).
After the week of combatives was over, we were finally ready for the tournament. My fellow soldiers in basic training said I had the agility of a monkey. We were issued mouthguards and some sparring gear. It was time for some stress-relief.
My first opponent was Kurt. He had the facial appearance of a boy, and it looked like he had some baby fat on him. He enlisted in the Army when he was 17. He had always said that it was his calling in life. He took summer classes in high-school so he could graduate earlier.
Within 30 seconds of the match I had him in a rear-naked choke. He wasn’t exactly feeling the competitive spirit.
My next opponent was this skinny, short hispanic, Alvarez. He was married and had a son. He looked like he was 16, but he was actually 24. He had a loud mouth, and was always sucking up to the drill sergeants. They revoked his squad leader status when they discovered peanut butter and poptarts in his locker (stolen from the Dining Facility).
This bout was extremely long, mainly because of how defensive Alvarez was. He had me in a mount, but I flipped him over, and eventually ended the match with an arm bar from side-control.
My last opponent was a farmer-boy from Alabama, Johnson. He was a Southern Baptist, and was absolutely appalled by the fact I supported the theory of evolution. He told me that I still had time to be saved. My experiences with Southern Baptists haven’t been too great – so far every one I have encountered has been absolutely intolerant to anyone else’s beliefs; It’s as if they live in a bubble or something. I tried to take him to the ground, but he always kept his distance. I finally got him on a take-down, but it was just a game of cat and mouse. The Drill Sergeants eventually called it a draw, and made us both do pushups for an hour because of our failure to finish the fight.
The moral of the story – Drill Sergeants always win.