News: Army instructors fight hand-to-hand with residents
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- A small group of Soldiers are getting physical with the residents at Misawa Air Base. Those residents aren't victims, they're willing participants.
Qualified instructors, assigned to the Joint Tactical Ground Station, offer Modern Army Combatives training to Airmen, Sailors, civilians, family members and Japan Air Self Defense Force members.
"This is something I believe everybody should have a little knowledge of," said Army Sgt. James Harris, JTAGS combatives instructor. "It doesn't hurt to know it."
Harris teaches a level-one combatives class, which includes basic grappling and achieving and escaping dominate body positions and submissions. The five-day course is offered about once a month. There is no limit to the class size, but past classes have been as small as four people and as large as 18 people.
"You don't have to be in stellar shape, but it helps if you have a little bit of cardio training," said Harris.
"I like the way it's been going," Harris added. "The biggest difference between here and other places I've taught is the willingness. We get people who want to be here. Generally, everybody likes it."
One person who wanted to be there was Staff Sgt. Erika Simpson, 35th Security Forces Squadron plans and programs. She signed up for the class to expand on her security forces and detainee operations training.
"I wanted to broaden my experience in self-defense and be a better cop," Simpson said. "We're in a war and deploying a lot, but we still have regular law enforcement in garrison. A lot of people in security forces have never been involved in a fist fight. I wanted to know that if I loose my weapon, I am still able to defend myself."
Simpson was the first female to go through the training at Misawa. At 5 feet 2 inches, she was going against her male classmates, each of whom stood well over 6 feet tall.
"It taught me a lot about myself. I didn't think I could do it, but I learned I was as tough as I hoped I was," she said. "Some of the technical maneuvers were difficult because of my height, but some moves were easier because my arms were shorter and I could move them easier."
While the class has taught Simpson to be a better cop, she said anyone can benefit from it.
"I recommend the class to coworkers, but also to other military members and civilians," she said. "It's not as bad as people may think. You're going to get hit and thrown down, but it's going to teach you how to defend yourself."
The level-one combatives skills she learned in the course have prepared her for possible fights or attacks, Simpson said. Currently, the level-one course is the only one offered on base. Harris, who is currently trained to level three in Army combatives, is scheduled to attend the level-four course in April. Once he completes the level-four course, he will be qualified to teach a level-two course, which includes a wider range of advanced techniques. He said he hopes to offer the new course to those people who have already completed the first level.
Date Posted:03.17.2009 01:12
Location:MISAWA AIR BASE, JP
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