News: Grappling tourney attracts Southwest service members
Story by Lance Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRIMAR, Calif. - Approximately 150 active-duty service members from across the West Coast converged at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Jan. 22 to compete in a submission grappling tournament.
Marine Corps Community Services, the MCAS Miramar Submission Grappling Club and Grappling-X, a tournament-hosting company, worked together to host the event.
Competitors, divided by weight and skill level, battled in both traditional Gi and no-gi bouts. A Gi-bout requires grapplers to wear a traditional martial arts uniform, but no-gi grapplers wear street clothes similar to what is seen on Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Participants spanned from first-time competitors to seasoned grapplers. The varsity submission grappling team from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., which produced a large showing at the event, competes in tournaments at least once a month, and has travelled as far as Poland to grapple, said Corey Bennin, head coach of the team.
MCCS officials explained that they did not initially anticipate the number of competitors and teams who would register for the event. Submission grappling is increasing in popularity, explained Shawn Fowler, owner of Grappling-X.
“This is a gigantic community,” said Fowler. “It’s a growing community, especially with the military. We see more and more [service members] training off-base.”
Todd Howard, the sports and aquatics coordinator with MCCS, explained that MCCS is planning to host these tournaments at least four times each year.
Bennin explained that in addition to its popularity among service members, the various martial arts practiced in submission grappling complement the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
“It gives Marines real-time experience in a fight,” said Bennin. “Marines learn to avoid fights in town.” The retired Marine explained that the additional martial arts training reinforces the self control and decision-making abilities promoted by MCMAP.
Grappling-X is scheduled to post the tournament results on their website, www.grapplingx.com.
MCCS will advertise when they schedule the next grappling tournament.
The MCAS Miramar Submission Grappling Club and Competition Team invite all service members aboard the station to participate in their daily practices at Building 2525, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.