'Bullets don't last forever'
"Bullets don't last forever," said Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Martin. "I have buddies who were actually captured by insurgents during deployment, and they said that, even with a basic knowledge of Combatives Level 1, they could have been able to free themselves."
Learning how to engage and defeat enemies in close combat is an important part in a Soldier's development, said Martin, the director of Fort Carson Modern Army Combatives Program.
"It is more than just fighting," he said. "It's about building self-confidence. It's about knowing that in any situation a Soldier can hold his own."
At the Fort Carson MAC Fight House, Martin and his team of combatives instructors conduct training cycles for Combatives Levels 1 and 2.
The instructors, who said they take their job seriously, provide mentorship for Soldiers and units looking to improve their combat effectiveness.
The instructors encourage a healthy way for Soldiers to burn off stress while strengthening their bodies, said Sgt. Jeffrey Desalla, instructor with the Fort Carson MAC Program.
"When I was deployed to Afghanistan, I started spending all the down time I had training," Desalla said. "While I was there, I decided I wanted to do more with the program. I wanted to train other Soldiers, so when I came home, I spent probably half of my leave time here at the fight house."
Sergeant Chad Myrom, a medical support specialist, who works in the Fort Carson MAC Program, said the fight house staff provides a safe environment for Soldiers to hone their combat skills.
"I am here during every training cycle to ensure these Soldiers are in the fight and ensure they are taken care of," Myrom said. "Sometimes people get hurt during combatives training, and in a lot of the programs out there, they either have to deal with the pain, or drop the class. I can help those guys through the pain, check them out on the spot, and in most cases, I can help them get through the training without seriously injuring themselves."
Martin and his team of instructors are slated to host the Fort Carson Modern Army Combatives tournament in May.
While some Fort Carson Soldiers have taken part in combatives tournaments in the past, Martin said they can expect something new and exciting at the Fort Carson competition this spring.
"In the past, we take all of the fighters from each brigade, tally up the number of points they accumulated during the tournament, and whichever brigade earned the most points, we would award the trophy," Martin explained. "This year, we want the battalions to get more involved, to field teams of their own. I think that will make the whole tournament more competitive."
If the Battalion's senior leadership gets into the spirit of competition they could motivate their troops to make learning and honing their combatives skills a bigger priority, said Martin.
Martin said he would like to see every Fort Carson battalion field a team for the upcoming tournament.
"Units already compete to see who is the best runner, or who is the best at shooting, well, now, we need to see who is the best fighter," he said. "If we could get two fighters for each weight class from every battalion, that would be outstanding; but I would at least like to see every battalion on Fort Carson send a couple of fighters."
Units interested in using the Fort Carson MAC Fight House during physical training hours should email the director at firstname.lastname@example.org. The fight house instructors conduct MAC Levels 1 and 2 classes regularly.
Soldiers interested in formal Combatives training should contact their company training NCOs, said Martin.
Article by Pfc. Andrew Ingram, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs