FORT HOOD, Texas – The Army has a vested interest in the health and physical abilities of its soldiers. Soldiers conduct physical training each morning in order to stay healthy and fit. Many units follow the field manual on physical readiness training but that is not the only way soldiers are deciding to stay in shape.
One way some soldiers are choosing to stay Army Strong is through the Army’s combatives program.
For two soldiers from the 41st Fires Brigade, Rail Gunners, the Army’s combative program has helped them stay in peak physical condition.
Spc. Micah Barro, an Army Field Artillery Automated Tactical Data System specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery and Capt. Nathan Thobaben, the interim Operations Officer for 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, spent their days conducting intensive combatives training at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center in preparation for the All Army Combatives Tournament.
After getting word that the All Army combatives tournament was canceled, the soldiers were not dissuaded from continuing to their training. They just redirected their focus and turned their efforts to training for a Jiu-jitsu tournament being held in Austin, Texas.
Their days started like any typical Fort Hood Soldier’s day with physical training., said Barro, a native of Wahiawa, Hawaii Their PT sessions typically involved weight training or some type of cardio workout.
But when most soldiers conduct personal hygiene and report to work, these soldiers began working on jiu-jitsu, a martial art dating back to 17th century Japan that focuses on using throws, grappling and joint locks to force an opponent to submit. After lunch the soldiers worked on wrestling or stand-up fighting techniques until the end of the day.
These two competitors have seen many health benefits from the intense training. Both soldiers shed pounds and experienced improvement in their cardiovascular health.
“My cardio is way above where it used to be,” said Thobaben, a Wilmington, Ohio, native.
Besides taking one Army Physical Fitness Test during his time training at Kieschnick gym, Thobaben said he has seen a great improvement in his running.
It wasn’t until working on their combatives level three certification that they realized how far they had come, Thobaben added.
Both Soldiers plan to continue training at combatives and maintaining their weight loss. Barro plans to compete in more local mixed martial arts tournament during his off time.
While most other Soldiers are content with traditional forms of physical training, for these two Soldiers, Army combatives and mixed martial arts will remain a way of life.