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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2015  06:51:00 PM

Soldiers strengthen body, mind through combatives workouts

Email   Print   Share By Spc. Marcus Floyd, 7th MPAD
May 29, 2014 | Sports
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Soldiers with Troop F, 2nd Sqdn., 3rd Cav. Regt. practice combatives for physical training May 6 at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center.
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Spc. Aaron Raposa, an instructor at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center, practices martial arts during physical training hours May 6. Raposa called combatives a key school in the Army, teaching not only tactical skills but also ground fighting skills Soldiers can use when they go downrange. (Photos by Spc. Marcus Floyd, 7th MPAD)
The bend and reach, the eight-count push-up and the half-jack are tried and true exercises many Soldiers easily associate with morning physical training.

But, instead of doing basic conditioning, some Soldiers on Fort Hood choose to practice ground grappling.

At the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center, Soldiers not only strengthen themselves physically, but mentally, as well.

Available for units to reserve during physical training hours, the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center provides an environment where Soldiers are free to go over and practice combatives training they have previously received.

“You always want to stay up on your combatives, so one of my squad leaders set-up this whole thing,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Richardson with Troop F, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. “We came together in the morning and went over some of the movement drills, drill one and drill two, and then we went into troop competitions.”

For Richardson’s unit, combatives training is more than routinely refreshing the Soldier’s knowledge of the movement drills. For some, it’s a chance to strengthen the bonds within the unit.

“It’s helped me grow closer to my fellow Soldiers, subordinates, superiors, and peers,” said Sgt. Martin McDonald, a fire support specialist with Troop F, 2nd Sqdn., 3rd Cav. Regt. “They say you never really know somebody until you fight them; you don’t necessarily have to destroy them, but you never really know them.”

In addition to providing the necessary environment to practice combatives, the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center instructors are available to teach basic combative skills.

“Combatives is a very key school when it comes to the Army,” said Spc. Aaron Raposa, an instructor at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center. “Not only do we teach tactical skills, but we also teach ground fighting skills for Soldiers when they go down range.”

Soldiers like Chief Warrant Officer Ron Jupiter with the 4th Sustainment Brigade have not only taken advantage of the instruction available, but have taken their combatives training one step further.

With special permission from his command, Jupiter is allowed to do sport-specific physical training because he practices martial arts outside of the Army.

“These (Kieschnick instructors) are the most awesome bunch of Americans I’ve met,” Jupiter said. “These guys are professionals, they are here to help, and there’s a lot of knowledge in this building. I would recommend every unit at least try to come through here once a month to sharpen up your skills.”

For many who choose to sharpen their skills, the instructors try to expose Soldiers to situations they typically wouldn’t be familiar with.

“They experience a situation they might not be able to handle if they haven’t been to our combatives courses,” Raposa said. “We have a lot of Soldiers who do Level 1 and have never been punched in the face before. It doesn’t only build character, it gives a Soldier the confidence in themselves so they’re able to handle situations they’ve never been put in, as well as help their battle buddies who maybe have never attended a combatives class before.”

Although the Army continually becomes technologically advanced, it is confidence in one’s basic combat skills that will be needed should a Soldier ever find him or herself without technology.

“This is the basics of combat, and we are an industry of arms, basically I feel a Soldier is going to find themselves out there without technology and he’s going to depend on his skills, he’s going to depend on the biggest weapon he has which is his mind,” Jupiter said. “So coming here we learn to use the mind to articulate and to see what we want to see with our bodies.”
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