News: Long Knife soldiers prepare physically, mentally for combatives tournament
Story by Spc. Angel Turner
FORT HOOD, Texas— Soldiers assigned to the 4th “Long Knife” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are well on their way to preparing for this year’s Fort Hood Combatives Tournament.
Eight soldiers from across the 4th Brigade, 1st Cav. Div., will be training every week, Monday thru Friday, leading to the tournament which is scheduled Feb. 20-23 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center, here.
The brigade has taken the challenge to compete against others from Fort Hood in hopes of becoming this year’s combatives winners.
Staff Sgt. Durwin Hoades, a motor sergeant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div., has taken the responsibility of training these soldiers.
“It’s great,” stated Hoades who hails from Georgetown, Guyana.
“It falls in line with what (noncommissioned officers) do—train soldiers and get them ready for anything whether it is an inspection, combatives, or getting them ready for the board or school.”
With a background in Jiu Jitsu and certification in Levels I, II and III in Army Combatives, Hoades is excited to lead this group of soldiers into the tournament and possibly the octagon.
“We’re basing the training on opportunity, whatever the opponent gives them that is what they work with. The first thing is conditioning, attack and defense for the tournament,” stated Hoades.
Pfc. Kathryn Leardi, a chemical specialist of HHC 4BSTB is currently the only female representative from the brigade competing in the tournament.
“I’m pretty excited about it so we will see how it goes,” stated Leardi who has no combatives background.
When asked what she needed to successfully take down her component she simply replied, “not being afraid to get hit. It takes a little bit to just be able to stand there and know someone will be hitting you.”
Outside of the tournament, Leardi, a native of Philadelphia, feels competing in the tournament will also help her as a soldier. “I think training with all males will give me a sense of confidence and help them to realize that males and females are equal.”
Training with both males and females is important because during the combatives tournament there will be no gender specific classes.
The different classes, a total of eight will be categorized by weight.
Soldiers of the 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div., spend 15 to 30 second iterations perfecting moves such as the arm bar, rear naked choke, and gaining mounted and side control.
“With our Army and the way we’re deploying, combatives is definitely necessary,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Engrecht, an infantry squad leader assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. “We have to fight aggressively toward our enemies and this can help keep that drive in us going,”
Engrecht has a background in Martial Arts with a black belt in karate. He said he decided to take part in the combatives tournament because he is very competitive and he wanted to learn something new.
With the various elimination rounds soldiers must go through it is going to take much more than physical stamina to walk away as this year’s winner.
According to Hoades, "To win, soldiers need to have the will to finish the fight.”