Combative classes swing into JBB in November

Story and photo by Spc. John Stimac
139th MPAD
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Level 1 combatives classes have been ongoing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq and Level 2 classes are tentatively scheduled to begin in the month of December.

The November schedule for the Army combatives Level 1 training certification classes have been posted and will consist of three one week classes that start Nov. 9 in which service members can choose to attend at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Spc. Nigel Davis, 80th Ordnance Battalion, non commissioned officer in charge of the combatives program at JBB said the difference between Level 1 and 2 combatives is Level 2 teaches more intermediate defense and attack positions.

“Level 2 gives more options on how to get out of situations and how to remain calm when put in stressful situations under close combat,” said Davis.

Davis said Level 2 also deals with aspects of refereeing and officiating in a mixed martial arts match.

“Anyone who is Level 2 certified can also be a puncher in the Level 1 combatives class and allowed to be an assistant instructor,” said Davis.

Davis said the Level 1 course is a 40 hour block of instruction that is completed in a five day period and the Level 2 course is an 80 hour , two week course.

“We also understand that some personnel are not able to train the full five days so some people can do half days,” said Davis. “If possible we try to accommodate the participants around their schedules and try to be as flexible as possible.”

Davis said the goal of the training in Level 1 and 2 combatives is not to learn to fight but to learn to protect themselves and their battle buddy.

“This is not a school where we train fighters.” said Davis.

Davis, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native, said the training consists of basic format of ground fighting techniques and stand up fighting.

“We’ve also changed the outlook on mentally training the Soldiers as well,” said Davis. “The students watch videos of live professional bouts and see how Level 1 techniques are being used and standardized in their matches.”

According to Davis, standardized physical training will not properly prepare a Soldier for combatives training.

Spc. Eric S. Borror, an ammunitions specialist with the 80th Ord. Bn.  and a primary instructor for the JBB combatives program, said the PT workout they have come up with is a gauntlet style cardio training.

“We PT two of the 5 days of the course for about an hour and a half,” said Borror. “The training consists of a lot of variations of cardio exercises, working upper body muscle groups and your core.”

Davis said learning combatives is an added attribute to have while serving in the military these days.

“Having this knowledge could help in a close combat situation,” said Davis. “Think about the possibility of what would happen if there was a weapons malfunction, these classes prepare you for that type of situation.”

Davis said the class is not only learning all the fighting techniques.

“Level 1 is set up as a crawl, walk, run phase,” said Davis. “We go through everything step by step and the students have lots of time to review their techniques before being tested on the last day of class.”

In order to graduate the students must perform their techniques and teach them back to the instructor as well as having a thorough knowledge of the history of Army combatives, said Davis.

The final test is to participate and complete the clinch drill, said Davis.

“The clinch drill exercise consists of four 1 minute rounds and will have to achieve one of three clinch moves on the puncher,” said Davis. “It’s developed to have the Soldiers think while being attacked.”

Pfc. Jaime J. Velez, a light wheeled mechanic for the 514th Maintenance Company out of Fort Drum, N.Y., said the only experience he had in combatives before was from what he received in basic training. Velez, a Jayuya, Puerto Rico native and the lightweight winner of the 80th Ord. Bn. combatives tournament last month said the class has helped him out a lot.

“I’ve learned the proper mechanics and how to execute moves properly as well as the history behind it,” said Velez. “It is a great experience, we have great instructors and we’ve learned a lot this week.”

Davis, who is Level 3 certified, said that a Level 2 combatives class will be coming in the near future.

According to the Fort Benning Web site on combatives classes it states that in order to certify a Level 2 combatant, a level 3 or4 certified instructor needs to validate the class.

CW2 Richard Mantooth has just got to JBB, he is Level 4 certified so he will be able to validate the Level 2 classes, said Davis.

Davis said Mantooth has just arrived to JBB and most focus on other missions before combatives, but the Level 2 class will be coming after Mantooth has settled in.

Davis said he would not be where he is today without the help and guidance of Mantooth.

Borror, a Milford, Ill. native, said he really enjoys teaching the classes.

“It’s not only a great self confidence builder for the students but also it is self satisfying knowing that  teaching a skill set that Soldiers will incorporate on the battlefield,” said Borror.


news photo
Pvt. Michael A. Perez, 287th Military Police Company out of Fort Riley Kan. and a Clear Lake, Calif., native and Spc. Elexander Hulinaty, 287th MP Co practice ground techniques during a combatives class Oct. 22. Perez and Hulinaty are stationed at FOB Warhorse, Iraq.

news photo
Senior Airman Catherine West, 532nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and a Lumberton, N.C. native explains every step of her takedown techniques to the instructor during the Level 1 combatives class. This procedure is mandatory in order to pass the class.