Maine Army National Guard Combatives Training
19 March 2010 » By SGT Peter Morrison
Cpt. Joel Dunn spars with his fellow classmate Spc. Allen Hill in order to gain and maintain a dominant body position during the week long Combatives Trainer Course held in Waterville.
Chief Warrant Officer Abel Gleason C Co 1/126th Aviation, “escapes the guard” during the week long Combatives Trainer Course held in Waterville. (Photo by Army Sgt. Peter D. Morrison)
Pfc. Thomas Colby squares off against Master Sgt. Ricky Bourdeau with electric shock knives to facilitate realistic training during the week long Combatives Trainer Course held in Waterville.
The Maine Army National Guard graduated 17 warriors from the Combatives Trainer Course held in Waterville, a course designed to prepare Soldiers for the physical and mental stress of hand to hand combat with the enemy.
"According to the Army our job is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy no matter what military occupation you are," said Sgt. Zachary W. Kazan lead instructor for Maine's Modern Army Combatives Program.
Kazan, a Durham native and the lead medic for the 251st Sapper Company in Norway, considers the training beneficial to all Soldiers. "The point is to live the warrior ethos, today's Army is a very non-job specific force, you never know, you might be a cook or a unit supply specialist and the next thing you know your out on a convoy, guarding prisoners or something else you never expected to do."
The level one course teaches 17 moves and submissions to help you in a foreign engagement. For National Guard Soldiers this training is especially beneficial due to the nature of their mission serving both overseas and at home.
"Were not only defenders of the Nation but defenders of the local population, in today's day and age you never know what kind of stuff could go on, you should have the ability to protect the public and yourself," said Kazan
"Things don't always need to come to violence," Kazan is quick to point out, "but having the ability to stand up in a tough situation is sometimes enough to stop it."
Soldiers are taught how to stand up in a tough situation as they first learn to fight on the ground learning dominant body positions and techniques. Later in the week grappling and take down moves are taught from the standing position.
Pfc. Curtis Winslow, Det-1 152nd Maintenance Company, is impressed with the demands of the course. "It was physically tough. I usually score high on my Army physical fitness test. No workouts I have done preparing for my PT test have been this difficult. This is the sorest I have ever been, but it was a lot of fun."
In order to pass the Combatives course Soldiers must demonstrate their ability to not only execute the move but to teach the steps back to the instructors.
"Going over all the moves, everyday, drilled it into our heads and I intend to show those moves to my fellow Soldiers during drill weekend," said Winslow.
The Regional Training Institute at Camp Keyes, Augusta runs the Combatives program. With Kazan, the program has seen significant growth. States like Florida and Nevada are requesting classes in their area based on the success found in the Maine program.
Cpt. Grant Delaware, the RTI operations officer and Westbrook native, hopes to run a level one course each quarter, and an advanced course once per year to start.
"When it falls right down to it people think I will be alright because I am in my up-armored vehicle or I am on the Forward Operating Base, but at some point you could be faced with the very real situation that your weapon jammed and you're in a tight spot. You have to be able to defend yourself against the bad guy. This training will make you that much more successful if things fall apart," said Delaware.