Warriors from a variety of units and career fields — scouts, military police and medical support — worked to improve their hand-to-hand combat skills and increase their confidence and resiliency for future deployments.
The Soldiers trained in a variety of techniques including takedowns, room clearing, weapon retention and ground fighting. These techniques were constantly tested as Soldiers sparred against each other and then eventually against their trainers in the dreaded “clinch drill,” where a Soldier has to close the distance through a trainer’s punches and put himself in a position for a takedown.
Sgt. Joshua C. Miller, 110th Military Police Company, 759th MP Battalion, said clinch drill was his favorite part of the training.
“Soldiers build confidence in themselves and in their teammates as they all learn that they can defeat an enemy in close personal combat, giving them the confidence they need to close with (the) enemy,” he said.
Realistic and relevant training is the key to success in teaching combatives, and Soldiers are constantly exposed to real-world training situations. One example is building clearing, where Soldiers enter an en-closed space and are attacked by an opponent at close range. The Soldiers found themselves in a simulated combat situation, fighting for their lives as they struggled to maintain control of their weapon while acting to subdue their opponent.
Staff Sgt. David Sansolis, Fight House tactical instructor, said this simulated life-and-death struggle is valuable training. “(It) strengthens the Warrior Ethos as it trains the Soldier to never accept defeat and to never quit.”
Despite all of the sweat, pain and fatigue, Spc. Lewis Crump, Troop B, 3rd Sqdn., 61st Cav. Reg., said he felt the training was beneficial.
“I feel every Soldier should … go through combatives because they’ll learn how to fight with their hands instead of always having to rely on a machine, which may breakdown and fail you,” he said. “Your body will never fail you.”
Staff Sgt. Benjamin Westrich, Fight House master trainer, said that the facility is available to all units for training, from unit-level training down to individual tasks such as weapons transition training and detainee handling. He noted all the combatives trainers have deployed and have recently been engaged in relevant tactical environments.