Staff Sgt. Daniel Guerrero
1st ABCT
Photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Guerrero
Lt. Col. Alexis “Pancho” Perez (in blue), former battalion commander from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, demonstrates a Modern Army Combatives technique known as “passing the Guard” with Lt. Kekuaokalani Marumoto (in green), Sept. 8 at the Combatives Schoolhouse on Fort Stewart.

Raiders cement Warrior Ethos through hand-to-hand training

The mission of the U.S. Army Combatives Course is to train Leaders and Soldiers in close quarters combat, further cementing the Warrior Ethos to prepare Soldiers to defeat the enemy in hand to hand combat.

Sgt. 1st Class David Huerta, a senior combatives master trainer, assigned to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, hosted a Modern Army Combatives training session, Sept. 8 at the Combatives School House on Fort Stewart.

The Modern Army Combatives Program started in 1995 with the 2nd Ranger Battalion and has spread at the grass roots level around the Army. Basic Combatives is one of the Forty Warrior Core Tasks of the Warrior Ethos initiative.

“Combatives training is important for Soldiers to help instill warrior ethos and Army values,” Huerta said. “ The only way to face fear is to face it directly. Many Soldiers have never been in a hand to hand situation so we like to put them in the situation to see how they react. It is just like any other combat training we as an army conduct.”

This type of training entails many lessons and techniques from multiple disciplines involving hand to hand combat. Huerta says a typical training session involves teaching, learning, and sharing about 5 or 6 techniques. He adds that the techniques can come from brazilian jiu jitsu, boxing, muay thai, judo, and many other styles that the instructors have studied throughout their combined years of training. Each session usually culminates with a full-speed, practical application of lessons learned known as “rolling”.

Mixed martial arts training can be extremely physically demanding, however it is just as much of a mental workout as it is a physical one.

“It may be difficult and uncomfortable, especially so when you first start, but you learn a lot about yourself,” said 1st Lt. Austin Drago, a Level 1 Combatives Instructor with 1st ABCT, 3rd ID. “Army combatives, as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is an active, physically demanding puzzle. Every time I learn something new, it’s like adding another piece to figure out and apply; it can be both the most brutal and rewarding thing you’ll ever do.”

There are many instances of Soldiers ending up in hand-to-hand combat throughout history. Drago adds that it is one of the most physically and mentally demanding things Soldiers can do, and there are many lessons to be learned with this type of training.