Twenty-four U.S. Navy and Army personnel hit the mats during a Modern Army Combatives Program introduction class at South Dakota National Guard's Range Road armory in Rapid City June 12.
The class, part of the 2012 Golden Coyote exercise, a premier training venue for National Guard, Reserve and active-duty military, is a refresher for Soldiers who require annual training in the React to Man-to- Man Contact warrior task. However for the Navy hospitalists, many are seeing and practicing these drills for the first time.
"This type of training is not readily available to Navy medical personnel," said Navy Lt. Markel Zatarain, of San Antonio, TX, an environmental health officer with Expeditionary Medical Facility Dallas, Detachment N, Medical Service Corp. "This training could make the difference between preservation of self and troops when deployed or mobilized."
The training, based upon the Army Combatives Field Manual, is a program adapted from Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu. The course is made up of three main moves or drills that prepare service members to face an unarmed threatening adversary with the goal of gaining dominant body position and ending the conflict.
"If you are on the battlefield and someone knocks you down, these moves will get you out and on top of the situation," said Sgt. 1st Class Mike Huitema, state combatives instructor and 3rd degree Jiu-Jitsu brown belt. "The technique lends itself to maintaining the Warrior Ethos to place the mission first, never accept defeat and never quit or leave a fallen comrade."
Huitema said the instructors keep their skills sharp by training themselves year round, making them better qualified and trained to pass on these techniques and ethos to participants.
Throughout the four-hour class, lead instructor and SDNG's Joint Force Headquarter's mobilization planner, Maj. Greg Darlow, demonstrates the Escape the Mount Arm Trap and Roll (Drill 1), Escape the Mount Shrimp to Guard (Drill 2), and Perform the Arm Push and Roll the Mount (Drill 3) in slow, step- by-step fashion while providing verbal instruction.
"It's like cooking," said Darlow. "You really have to see the move to know what it is about. Once you see the mount arm trap and roll move, you know what it means and seeing the demonstration makes it easier to try it on your own."
Zatarain appreciates Darlows teaching style.
"Darlow and the other instructors assist each group without judgment and give only encouragement. This really makes it a positive learning environment," said Zatarain.
"By the end of the four-hour block, they will be using techniques they learned to try to submit their opponent rather than just muscle them," said Darlow.
Darlow says this is gratifying because in his daily work he prepares units for mobilizations abroad and he recognizes the importance of making sure service members prepare for whatever conflicts may arise during deployment.
"I get to see what it does for them on an individual basis and how it helps them get ready to mobilize," said Darlow.
There are 18 iterations of the Modern Army Combatives Program introduction class. The course trains more than 400 service members during the Golden Coyote training exercise.