View Full Version : USASOC Soldiers dominate Army combatives championship

11-18-2005, 20:08

USASOC Soldiers dominate Army combatives championship

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Nov. 18, 2005) —Continuing a special operations tradition evolving hand-to-hand combat techniques, several U.S. Army Special Operations Command Soldiers dominated a recent All Army Combatives Tournament held at Fort Benning, Ga., Nov. 5 and 6.

During the first All Army Combatives Tournament, a 12-man team from the Fort Benning-based 75th Ranger Regiment won first place in the team category. Rangers also placed in various weight divisions. In the heavyweight division, Sgt. Damian Stelly, a former Combatives School instructor and currently assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Rgr. Rgt., took first place. Staff Sgt. Grant Shanaman and Spc. Jamel Ellison also assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Rgr. Rgt. took second and third place, respectively, in the welterweight division.

Fort Bragg-based Soldiers assigned to Company D, Support Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (A) also placed in their weight divisions.

Spc. Timothy Kennedy took first place in the light heavyweight championship, Sgt. 1st Class John Long took second place in the heavyweight division, and Spc. George Randolph placed third in the heavyweight division.

The competition began with 198 preliminary fights to determine the 24 semi-final positions. During elimination matches, standard combatives competition rules were used, but the finals allowed maneuvers such as fist striking with protective gloves, throws, takedowns, chokes and locks.

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Matt Larsen, director of the Modern Army Combatives Program and Commandant of the U.S. Army Combatives School said, “The only limitation was no elbow strikes because they’re more dangerous, no hitting the back of the head, and things like that.” He is a former member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and spearheaded the development of the five-year-old combatives program.

For years the 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning, Ga., used Brazilian Ju-Jitsu techniques to train for combat, however, they discovered from lessons learned that their techniques did not orient Soldiers to the battlefield; a revision of the techniques and modern combatives evolved.

Modern combatives combines several forms of traditional martial arts, Ju-Jitsu, judo, boxing and kickboxing into a more refined form according to Larsen.

“A major difference between the traditional and current program is the focus on training Soldiers to be oriented to the battlefield and teaching them to take initiative rather than being reactionary,” he said.

Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, was impressed with the program during his visit to the Combatives School and has since approved the program under the Task Force Soldier initiative.

“When a Soldier completes our training program, they are very confident in their skills and I am competent in their ability to fight and win wars on the battlefield,” said Larsen. “That’s what it’s all about and the competition is just another way of providing Soldiers an opportunity and desire to excel.”

Kennedy, Long, and Randolph trained together for three months in preparation for the tournament though not without challenges.

Kennedy, who has trained in martial arts for 15 years, was not even sure that he would be able to compete but he is not one to back down from challenges.

He completed the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape course, one week before the competition, which is an extremely taxing course physically, mentally and emotionally. The SERE course teaches Soldiers how to survive behind enemy lines.

“After I gave myself a few days to recover and eat, I only had to drop ten pounds,” said Kennedy. “I thought to myself, ’I feel good, I’ll fight.’”

Long is a teacher- advisor-coach officer for the Special Forces Qualification Course. Kennedy and Randolph are students in the Special Forces training pipeline. Students in SFQC now receive some form of combatives training during each of the six phases of the course.

Kennedy said tournaments such as these are a good start for the Army to recognize the importance of this type of training. He believes that Soldiers should study the mixed martial arts approach, which produces well rounded fighters who have the ability to fight and strike standing up as well as control their opponent from a ground position.

As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Long has seen first hand the value of hand-to-hand combat. He stressed the importance of combatives training in the SF pipeline.

“Combatives gives you the ability to engage the enemy from one inch to one mile,” he said. “SWCS is constantly making the SFQC training more relevant by taking lessons learned from recent combat experience and incorporating them into the course.”


11-18-2005, 22:21
I think that moving away from BJJ is a good thing and hope what they're doing now will give our guys the tools they need on the battlefield. I can't help but think that getting Carl Cestari down there to show his take on the WWII combatives would be a good thing. Or, given that Carl's health isn't the greatest, Clint and Damian.

Didn't Holschen put together a POI when he was at Bragg for a more practical program that involved more striking. When I took the Insights CQC program I thought I recall being told the genesis of that program was what John had been doing for, IIRC, 1st Group? Anyone know anything more on this?

11-20-2005, 22:21
This is just painful to watch...


I actually know a few members of the armed forces that do this stuff for a living. Crazy bastards!